Rancher & Stockman, Culbertson, NE
Jacob Miller is a 26-year-old third-generation Nebraska rancher from Culbertson. Since his return in 2013 he has helped implement some big changes on his family’s 300-head cattle operation, and not long after buying his grandfather’s portion of the business, Miller added an instrumental cover cropping system to his family’s grazing rotation. With close to 4,000 acres of native grass and 600 acres of farm ground, Miller and his family have been able to do some pretty spectacular things with their management. He says their decision to use strip grazing rather than paddocks has allowed them to be more efficient with their forage use because they don’t have the trampling loss associated with using larger paddocks.
For the last couple of years, Miller has planted a mix of oats, peas, barley, triticale and chickling vetch in April to be grazed through the early summer. He says this mix is not only an excellent source for grazing, but it can help break up soil compaction in the top few inches of the soil profile. Following the spring and early summer mix, Miller plants brachitic dwarf forage sorghum, cowpeas, sunn hemp, turnips, radish, forage rapeseed and sunflower in July to be grazed after the first killing frost. Afterwards, a mix of rye and hairy vetch is planted at the end of August or early September to be grazed at the end of March through the beginning of June.