Soil Health Labs

26 Exploring the Benefits of Bale Grazing

Episode Summary

Jessalyn Bachler is an Extension Range Field Specialist with SDSU, based in Lemmon, SD. Jessalyn graduated from NDSU with her Masters in Range Science with her thesis entitled “Winter Feeding Beef Cattle: a Review on Bale Grazing in the Northern Great Plains”; Jessalyn did her research out at NDSU’s Streeter REC in North Dakota. Apart from Jessalyn’s schooling, she grew up on a ranch in North Dakota. As part of our bale grazing campaign we launched in early December 2021, we asked Jessalyn to join us in a discussion on this emerging subject. In the podcast we discuss her thesis work, the good and the bad, including a disastrous first year where deep snow put an end to the first year of the project. The podcast continues where Jessalyn talks on a number of practical issues that include: the type of producer who may best benefit from bale grazing; wind breaks, extreme weather contingency plans, labor, fuel costs, infrastructure, soil health benefits, the type of hay one may want to feed on cropland vs rangeland; design of the bale grazing system, location of bales, types of wire and fence posts. Jessalyn also discusses some of the common objections and barriers to bale grazing namely the issues of waste, up-front expense for infrastructure, fence and water and she provides advice for those who may want to start out – the key here is to start small. Jessalyn’s professional profile, along with some of her wok may be seen at https://extension.sdstate.edu/about/our-experts/jessalyn-bachler , also contact your local NRCS offices to have a rangeland management specialist visit with you to see if bale grazing can work for you.