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Forage Resources Available to S.D. Farmers and Ranchers

By: Sara Bauder, SDSU Extension Agronomy Field Specialist. Additional Authors: Heather Gessner

Forages are a very important part of the South Dakota livestock and cropping industries. Often, producers have difficulties finding enough forage for their herd or locating a fellow producer to buy, sell or rent forages and grazing acres too. South Dakota now has two widely-recognized, free resources to aid in these connections.

S.D. Soil Health Coalition’s S.D. Grazing Exchange
A black cow and calf in a pasture in front of a tree belt.
A cow and calf graze in Eastern South Dakota. Courtesy: Heather Gessner
The South Dakota Grazing Exchange is a new resource available to connect crop and livestock producers while improving soil health. This tool was created by the South Dakota Soil Health Coalition as a way to return livestock to the landscape. Livestock integration plays a very important role in the 5 principles of soil health. Grazing reduces nutrient export from our crop and hay fields and recycles nutrients while aiding in weed suppression. As the use of cover crops in cropping systems grows in South Dakota, and cattle producers continue to seek additional perennial and annual forages, the SD Grazing Exchange serves as a connection tool for both forage and cattle producers.

The SD Grazing Exchange is a free, easy to use online map that offers a platform for producers throughout the state and region to connect; information is categorized based on forage and livestock grazing opportunities. This website provides forage growers free advertising of available grazing acres and details associated with the land parcel(s). Livestock growers alike, have the opportunity to post details regarding animals they are willing to re-locate for grazing. For more details and instructions on utilizing this new tool, visit the “How-To Get Started” page or the South Dakota Grazing Exchange website.

SDSU Extension Feed & Forage Finder Facebook Page
A green cut alfalfa field dries as the sun sets.
Alfalfa dries in windrows in Eastern South Dakota. Courtesy: Sara Bauder
This group is a free tool for members to share resources and information about feed and forages a producer has available for sale, or they are seeking to purchase. Postings of hay, silage, pasture, custom feeding/care, and commodity feeds are welcome. Agreements, arrangements, dealings, sales, and related transactions that occur as a result of communication on this page are the sole responsibility of the individuals and businesses involved. To join the group, visit the page and request to join, once accepted, you can start posting or browsing at your convenience. South Dakota State University and SDSU Extension hold no responsibility for such agreements. All users agree to waive rights and hold the State of South Dakota and its employees harmless for any use of this product. For more information, visit the “About” page.

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