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Cattle

The Kerr Center’s beef cattle program has these goals:

  • balance production level with production cost
  • forage-based: grazing management maintains soil fertility and promotes plant diversity
  • training the next generation of ranchers

1st principle of sustainability: create and conserve healthy soils

“Grass farmer plan”: high-density rotational grazing fosters health from the ground up:

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Many animals for a short time in a small area

Benefits:

  • soil: concentrates animal manure/urine for fertility; reduces compaction
  • plants: keeps plants vegetative and growing; increases diversity; reduces weeds
  • animals: fresh and nutritious forages; reduced parasites
  • rancher: reduces costs; increases profits

Learn About…

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Adapted Breeds

The constant quest for an animal optimally suited to its environment.  Learn more

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Fence

Permanent or temporary?  Electric or non-?  Mesh or barbed?  Which is best for which animals and situations?  Learn more

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Animal Health

A whole-farm approach to thriving livestock.  Learn more

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Pasture/Grazing

Healthy soils, healthy forages – warm-season and cool.  Haying vs. grazing.  The keys to management intensive grazing.  Learn more

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Watering

Watering system design; gravity flow from ponds; tractor-tire water tanks.  Learn more

Cattle Publications

  • All
  • animal health
  • beginning farmer
  • cattle
  • fencing
  • forages
  • grazing
  • marketing
  • pasture
  • ranch management fact sheets
  • rotational grazing
  • soil
  • tractor tire watering tanks
  • watering

Basic Nutrition and Winter Grazing

Learn about seasonal forage availability and rotational grazing.

Beef Cattle Assessment

This is a presentation by David Sparks, D.V.M., from the 2011 Healthy Soils, Healthy Livestock conference. It covers economic comparisons between conventional cattle management and management focusing on cost efficiency.

Beef Cow Herd Health Protocol

This is a handout by David Sparks, D.V.M., from the 2011 Healthy Soils, Healthy Livestock conference. It consists of a short list of health management practices grouped by age, from 6 week prior to birth…

Body Condition Scoring of Beef Cows

This is OCES publication ANSI-3283. It has been used as a handout at several Kerr Center workshops on beef cattle as a reference for body condition scoring.

Cattle Dentition

This is a handout by David Sparks, D.V.M., from the 2011 Healthy Soils, Healthy Livestock conference. It is a visual guide to determining a cow’s age by looking at her teeth.

Birthing Kit

This is a list of supplies to have on hand during cattle births.

Compensatory Gain

This is a report published in 2000, describing the results of a multi-year study at the Kerr Center that evaluated reproduction and calf performance of beef heifers under management with and without compensatory gain.

Herd Health Overview

This presentation includes a detailed discussion of vaccines, discusses managing both immunity levels and disease exposure, and addresses the effect of difficult births.

Heifer Management

This report covers heifer selection and nutrition, early puberty, target weight concept, proper feeding, breeding, calving difficulty, and bull selection.

Soil Health and How it Relates to Healthy Cattle

This presentation covers simple soil health monitoring techniques, basic soil science, and sustainable livestock management.

ATTRA Resources on Sustainable/Organic Beef Production

This is a list of ATTRA publications related to sustainable and organic beef production.  

Enough Grass to Make Your Head… Rotate

This is an article from the summer 2005 issue of Field Notes. It explains the basic principles behind rotational or management intensive grazing.

Layout and Design of Grazing Systems

This is a book chapter, used in the livestock track of the Oklahoma Beginning Farmer & Rancher Program, that discusses how to divide a farm into paddocks for rotational grazing. It covers soil and water…

Management Intensive Grazing

This is a report on the Kerr Center’s experience with management intensive grazing (MIG). It defines MIG, explains and demonstrates how to calculate grazing period, rest period, and stock density, and summarizes two Kerr Center…

How to Direct Market Your Beef

This is a book, published by SARE, used in the livestock track of the Oklahoma Beginning Farmer & Rancher Program.

New Use for Old Tires

This fact sheet explains why the Kerr Center livestock program uses old tires from heavy equipment as watering tanks, and describes the process of preparing and installing them.

Watering Systems

This is a presentation by Brian Freking from the livestock track of the Oklahoma Beginning Farmer & Rancher Program. It covers paddock design, water requirements for cattle, lanes, stabilized stream crossings, fenced pond access points,…

Grazing Management Basics

This presentation covers grazing systems and their benefits, grazing terms and calculations, pasture design, and grazing strategies.

Fact Sheet: Grazing Management

This fact sheet summarizes the Kerr Center’s experience with and recommendations for grazing management.