Please join us to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Kenneth and Phyllis Meier on September 9 from 2-4 p.m. at the VFW Hall in Hartington.
While the methods and reasons may differ, one thing every grazing system you might stumble across strives to maintain the pasture so it can be used year after year. We can’t do anything about the most critical part of making sure we have plant growth, moisture. However, grazing properly is within a producer’s control to maintain a healthy pasture.
To understand pasture health, we need to know a bit about how the plants in a pasture function. Each year, plants go through a cycle. Stored reserves start growth and produce leaves to manufacture more energy. These resources are used to reproduce (seeds/vegetative) or stored for next year’s growth.
Drought, grazing, mowing, fire; all these events disrupt energy production in the leaves and cause more reserves to be used for regrowth. Most plants have factored in disruptions to this annual cycle and have extra reserves tucked away and can rebound from these events.
When we constantly take away the plant’s ability to produce energy through defoliation, like chronic overgrazing, the reserves get so depleted that the plant’s overall health starts to suffer. Because the plant no longer has energy to spend even maintaining itself, roots are actually sluffed off to reduce energy demands. This leads to decreased nutrient and water uptake by the plant and a longer recovery.
Some of the earliest work done on the effects of grazing was done at the University of Nebraska by John Earnest Weaver from 1932-1952. Weaver and his students would dig trenches of up to 15 feet deep into pastures and prairies, then carefully excavate plant roots in incredibly detailed drawings.
His work began laying the groundwork for our understanding of how plants handle grazing, drought and other stresses. In these studies, Weaver noted decreases of up to 60% in root production for plants that had been subjected to heavy grazing. Multitudes of studies across every ecosystem that you could think of have been done since Weaver’s work and they all paint the same picture. Grazing stress causes plants to lose anywhere from 35-70% of their roots.
Knowing this, it’s easy to see how prolonged grazing stress by overgrazing causes pasture productivity to decrease. Plants don’t produce as much growth and the vigor of desirable species lessen. This leaves the door open for weedy or undesirable species to establish themselves and lower available forage even further.
If we don’t adjust stocking rate accordingly and let the pasture recover, further overgrazing occurs creating a negative feedback with worse and worse results. Not only do we reduce production, but we now have to spend more money on weed control and other management options like fertilization.
So what do we do? Proper grazing and stocking of pastures is key to maintaining the long-term health of grasslands. As a good rule of thumb, we often say that 50% of the plant should be left behind to maintain vigor, take half - leave half. Of that 50% we allot to animals, only 25% is actually consumed with the rest trampled, fouled, or consumed by insects/wildlife.
How do you tell if your pasture has been grazed enough for the animals to be moved? First, identify key management species you want to focus on. In a smooth brome pasture, this is pretty straight forward: brome. In a native pasture or other mixes, we need to decide what these plants are. Your local extension office or NRCS is a great resource for this step.
After we know the key species to focus on, go out to your pasture and see how much of these have been removed. That 50% we were shooting for earlier is by weight, not height, so visual assessment can be a bit tricky.
An easy way to calibrate your eye is to find an intact grass plant and cut it off at ground level. Take this plant and try to balance it on your finger. This can be a bit tricky in the wind, but it doesn’t have to be perfect, just get close. This balancing point is your 50% utilized level. If you look around and see plants have been grazed even lower, balance it again and you get 75% used to compare it to. Do this in several places across your pasture that are fairly representative and you’ll have a good idea of how much plant you’ve been removing.
Overgrazing can be very detrimental to pastures, especially if it’s repeated year after year. By taking the time to assess your pasture’s utilization and rotate animals accordingly, you’ll not only maintain better pasture health, but save yourself some time and effort in the long run.
Grain Management, LLC (Grain), a leading private equity firm focused on investments in the communications sector, announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Great Plains Communications - the largest privately-owned telecommunications provider in Nebraska.
"We are enthusiastic about the outstanding performance Great Plains Communications has delivered for its customers, and we are thrilled to partner with the current management team to continue pursuing their vision of being the region's leading provider of high-quality, fiber-based telecommunications services," said David Grain, Founder & CEO of Grain Management.
Grain will acquire Great Plains Communications from its current owners, whose families have led the company's growth since 1910, when it began as a local telephone company. Throughout its long history, Great Plains Communications has strategically transitioned itself into a leading regional provider of fiber-based services through significant investment in its state-of-the-art network and facilities. The company offers residential services, such as digital phone, high-definition cable television, and broadband Internet through DSL, cable modem, satellite or fiber to more than 90 communities across the state. It also provides business services ranging from traditional voice and data products to installation and support of large business networks with scalable Ethernet solutions.
"We were committed to choosing a buyer that would support the family's dedication to delivering high-quality services to our customers," said current owners, the Garrigan and Jensen families, who are third and fourth generation descendants of Founder E.C. Hunt. "Great Plains Communications' capable employees, led by CEO Todd Foje and the management team, will continue to carry on the mission of the family and Grain Management."
"This acquisition is a positive step forward in our vision of providing the best telecommunications services to sustain and advance Nebraska," said Great Plains Communications CEO, Todd Foje. "Together with Grain Management, we will be able to expand our network and enhance our offerings to benefit our customers, employees and the local communities we serve. Our team looks forward to partnering with Grain Management and utilizing their deep experience in regional fiber investment."
Upon completion of the acquisition, Great Plains Communications will operate over 9,500 route miles of high-quality network architecture. With additional resources from Grain Management, the company intends to enhance its presence throughout the Midwest, extending and improving its network for both customers and their communities.
TD Bank served as financial advisor to Grain Management. Alston & Bird LLP served as legal counsel to Grain Management.
UBS Investment Bank served as exclusive financial advisor to Great Plains Communications in the transaction. Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP served as legal counsel to Great Plains Communications with assistance from Kutak Rock LLP and Woods & Aitken LLP.
The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2018, following the satisfaction of customary regulatory approvals. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
About Grain Management
Grain Management, LLC is a leading private equity firm focused on investments in the communications sector. The firm was founded in 2007 with the objective of bringing a differentiated approach to the industry characterized by expansive sector knowledge, rigorous analytics, and dedicated, in-house operating and financial professionals. Grain is directed by a team of highly experienced investment professionals with deep industry knowledge and a specialized skillset, marked by extensive operating history, deep quantitative and analytical proficiency, and regulatory expertise. For more information visit www.graingp.com.
About Great Plains Communications
Great Plains Communications is the largest privately-owned telecommunications provider in Nebraska, delivering high speed Internet, cable television, and voice services to over 90 communities across the state. The company also prides itself on their progressive approach to accommodating the unique needs of all regional and national telecommunications carriers, LECs, ISPs, wireless carriers and other service providers utilizing superior engineering and custom build strategies. At the core of its service offering is an extensive 9,500-mile regional fiber network including over 300 fiber miles in the Omaha Metro area. The network extends beyond Nebraska into Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Wyomingoffering community access rings, last-mile, and middle-mile solutions, all fully supported by their 24x7x365 Network Operations Center. For more information visit www.gpcom.com.
Contact: Lina Francis, PR@graingp.com
Press Release from: Grain Management, LLC
Olympic gold medalist and former Husker wrestler Jordan Burroughs will be in Elgin this Saturday night in conjunction with a grand opening event.
The Elgin Men's Charitable Corporation (EMCC) and the Elgin Community Club will host an open house for the EMCC Professional Building on Saturday, March 10. The event will be held at the Elgin Knights of Columbus Hall with the doors opening at 6 p.m. A free meal will be provided.
Located at 109 S. 2nd St. in Elgin, the EMCC Professional Building is home to Cornerstone Chiropractic Center - Dr. Derek Scholl, Shawn Beaudette of Lammli, Locke and Beaudette and Elgin Dental Clinic - Dr. John Williams.
Burroughs has agreed to sign autographs at the event. He will arrive at approximately 7 p.m. The event will likely conclude at 8:30 or 9 p.m.