For decades, Lee Manske, NDSU range scientist at Dickinson Research Extension Center, has been teaching producers about grasses and grazing.
“We want our grasslands to be as productive as possible, and many producers miss profits through their grazing practices,” Manske said. “The twice-over grazing system is the one to use, and the one that will bring the most profit.”
Manske has collected data on grasses and rangeland at DREC throughout his history with NDSU. He has gone out to livestock producer’s ranches and showed them how to improve their grazing management.
“With twice-over grazing, producers can harvest forage that has greater crude protein levels,” Manske said, adding when it is cut for hay, producers only capture a third of the potential they would get through grazing the grasses correctly.
Livestock can remove 25- 33 percent of the grass tiller’s leaf area without detriment during the first grazing period.
Manske said the “whole secret” is to feed the soil organisms and convert unusable organic matter to mineralization.
“Mineralization is where organic matter is transformed by soil microorganisms to supply plants – grass – with available ammonium and nitrate. Soil organisms do all that important work for us and our livestock,” he said.
Manske pointed out we need to feed the soil organisms the right feed “sugar,” which happens when livestock “bite the grass and release surplus sugar.”
Each year in January, Manske teaches a grazing management workshop that many producers in a wide area of North Dakota and Montana attend.
In 2019, the workshop will be held on Jan. 9, 10 and 11 at DREC in the main building’s classroom.
Recently, Manske was asked to write a chapter on restoring grasslands in a scientific grassland management textbook, “Improving grassland and pasture management in temperate agriculture” and titled it, “Improving grassland: Restoring degraded grasslands.” Esteemed rangeland scientists throughout the world wrote a chapter.
Manske has written other books and numerous articles over the years, but is proud of this book’s chapter.
“It talks about what to do with degraded rangeland, something I have been teaching for a long time,” he said.
Manske said his research has focused increasing the quantity of new wealth captured from the land resources by livestock agriculture; and improving the health and production of grassland ecosystems.
To register for the class, email Manske at Llewellyn.firstname.lastname@example.org or call Lee Manske at 701-456-1118