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:



Many animals for a short time in a small area


  • 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…


Adapted Breeds

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



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


Animal Health

A whole-farm approach to thriving livestock.  Learn more



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



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

Cattle Publications

  • All
  • animal health
  • beginning farmer
  • cattle
  • fencing
  • forages
  • grazing
  • livestock
  • marketing
  • pasture
  • pineywoods
  • poultry
  • ranch management fact sheets
  • rotational grazing
  • season extension
  • soil
  • tractor tire watering tanks
  • watering
  • workshop

Cattle Dentition Video

This is a video of David Sparks, D.V.M., from the 2011 Healthy Soils, Healthy Livestock conference, explaning how to determine a cow’s age by looking at her teeth.

Portable Shade

Take a structure designed to protect tender plants from frost, and turn it into something that keeps cattle cool in high summer? Sure – it’s just another example of the Kerr Center livestock program’s can-do…


On our 700 acres we use a variety of water sources, including ponds and tire watering tanks. We protect water quality through limited access to ponds. Tire watering tanks are a great way to reuse...


The Kerr Center's beef cattle program tries to feed as little hay as possible. This is because it costs less to graze forage than to cut, bale, and feed hay.   In a 2013 study,...


Rotational grazing requires using fences - permanent, temporary, or a combination - to keep cattle where the grazier wants them to harvest forage. In continuous grazing, a single pasture is grazed 100% of the time...

Animal Health

The Kerr Center livestock program uses a whole-farm approach to herd health. Difficulty in birthing causes many later problems for both cow... longer interval to next calf reduced fertility   ...and calf alike: reduced immunity...


Kerr Center offers both beginning and experienced ranchers information (how-to videos, slideshows, reports, training) on sustainable production of:  beef cattle,  meat goats &  poultry.   The Kerr Ranch has been a working ranch since Sen....

Fact Sheet: Grazing Management

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

Adapted Breeds

The Kerr Center's cattle program uses an Angus-Gelbvieh cross, selected because it is well adapted to the climate of southeastern Oklahoma, including heat and humidity and endophyte infected fescue. For several years, the center also...

Management Intensive Grazing

Management intensive grazing (aka cell grazing, rotational grazing, or controlled grazing): builds fertility recycles nutrients conserves energy emphasizes management over the system or its components Rotational grazing: moving livestock from pasture to pasture, allowing each...

Grazing Management Basics

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

Grazing Workshop Recap

It began more with a zap than a bang: a zap that left around a thousand people in the Poteau area without power on a Saturday morning. Still, the Kerr Center livestock program practices the…

Grazing Workshop Oct. 10: Get the Most Out of Your Pastures

WORKSHOP REGISTRATION IS NOW CLOSED. Kerr Ranch livestock staff will lead this combined classroom/field workshop. Topics: grazing management (controlled grazing, permanent and temporary electric fencing, measuring forage, subdividing pastures), & Kerr Ranch grazing study, with its focus on forage stockpiling and utilization.

Help Your Calves Hit the Ground Healthy

Bottle-fed calves may be cute, but as anyone who’s kept one can attest, they’re a nuisance – and worse, a drain on time and profits. Healthy cattle who can deliver healthy calves with minimal assistance…

Spring Grazing Management: Off the Fescue

Many pastures on the Kerr Ranch are currently knee-deep in fescue, with seedheads nodding at waist height and thick stands of clover coming into white blossom beneath. The only thing missing from the picture is…

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,…

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.

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.

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…

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…

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.

ATTRA Resources on Sustainable/Organic Beef Production

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

Soil Health and How it Relates to Healthy Cattle

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

Heifer Management

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

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.

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.

Birthing Kit

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

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.

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.

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…

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.

Basic Nutrition and Winter Grazing

Learn about seasonal forage availability and rotational grazing.