2016 has swiftly come to an end and 2017 is right around the corner. We’ve gathered the top five most-read stories below. Which one is your favorite?

1. Haymaking 101: Mowing, Tedding and Raking 

Haymaking combines science and art. Old-timers knew just the right feel of hay before it was ready to be put into the barn. It’s hard to quantify that judgment with mechanical instruments. The goal of haymaking is to capture the nutrients in grass in a storable form to make them available as a forage feed in the winter months.

2. Beef: Purchasing Cattle Through the Auction Barn

There are several reasons for using an auction barn to source cattle. There are a lot of cattle in one location to choose from. When buying directly from a farm, the selection is limited. Depending on the auction facility, the cattle will be sorted into similar lots separated by sex, weight and color. Finally, the auction method of selling will usually determine the true value of the cattle that day. We explain the ins and outs of purchasing cattle through the auction barn.

3. Raising Veal

It’s no secret that conventionally raised veal has become stigmatized. Consumers aren’t always happy when they realize that production practices have typically included confinement, isolation and restricted movement. The American Veal Association reports that individual calf housing has been the primary means of raising veal in the U.S., although it has adopted a resolution calling for all veal producers to transition to group housing by December 31, 2017. Read more on alternatives to conventional veal production methods.

4. Reclaiming Old Pastures by Grazing Mixed Species

Grazing a mix of species can be an effective way to reclaim and rejuvenate land that once was productive pasture. Mixed-species grazing can mean having two or more species on the same land at the same time, or it can mean having a succession of species on the same land over a span of time. Dot Perkins, field specialist in food and agriculture, University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension, suggested some ways to reclaim old pastures by putting animals to work.

5. Feed Mixers   

Mixing your own rations for livestock can be tricky. Improperly mixed rations won’t provide the correct balance of energy, protein and nutrients for your animals. Selecting the right mixer maximizes nutrition, increases feed economy and simplifies custom blending. Here, we explain all of the mixer basics.