cattle grazing
REGISTER NOW: From producer panelists to industry and university experts, the 2017 Iowa Forage and Grassland Conference Jan. 19 & 20 at Ames will have two panels on extended grazing and grazing management, and breakout sessions on beef and sheep forage nutrition.

Harvest a wealth of forage and grazing information

Upcoming Iowa Forage and Grassland Conference to feature a great lineup of interesting speakers and topics.

From producer panelists to academic and private industry representatives, the 2017 Iowa Forage and Grassland Council (IFGC) Conference will offer a wealth of information and experience to attendees.

ISU Extension beef program specialist and current IFGC president Joe Sellers says the event, set for Jan. 19 and 20 at the Iowa State University Alumni Center in Ames, is a bargain thanks to support from North Central Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program, the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, the Iowa Beef Center, Iowa Farm Bureau and many forage partners of IFGC. It will be immediately followed by the Practical Farmers of Iowa (PFI) conference that starts at noon at the Scheman building at the Iowa State Center.

Great lineup of topics, speakers and panel discussions
“To attend both days of the IFGC conference or the PFI conference, IFGC or PFI members pay just $50 in advance or $60 at the door. Non-members pay $70 or $80 respectively, and single day rates also are available,” he says.

In addition to industry professionals, the event also features two producer panels on extended grazing and grazing management experiences and break-out presentations on beef and sheep forage nutrition and mineral nutrition. “Again this year we’re partnering with PFI so we can share speakers their members have identified,” Sellers says. “For example, Will Harris of Bluffton, Ga., will speak at both conferences.”

The detailed agenda and registration form for the IFGC conference are available on the IBC website and at For more information, contact Sellers by phone at 641-203-1270 or by email at [email protected]

Will Harris, fourth generation Georgia farmer: He developed White Oak Pastures into the largest organic farm in Georgia. He added job-generating meat processing to the farm and has become a provider of high-quality natural meat products to upscale grocery stores and restaurants. A farmer for 40 years, Harris operates 1,200 acres of rented land and 1,100 acres of owned land, and his livestock enterprises include beef cows, sheep, goats, hogs, rabbits, chickens, geese, ducks, turkeys and guinea fowl. He will talk about multispecies grazing, using the Serengeti model.

Rob Cook, pasture and range consultant in the producer relations program at the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Ardmore, Okla.: Prior to coming to the Noble Foundation in 2015, Cook was a rangeland specialist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, where he managed the National Resource Inventory program for the northernmost 54 counties in the Texas Panhandle. Before that, he worked as the district conservationist in Vega, Texas, and as a rangeland specialist in San Antonio, Texas. Cook will describe tools producers can use to improve grazing, forage utilization and livestock management, including decision aids and phone apps.

Garland Dahlke, associate scientist with Iowa Beef Center at ISU: In addition to his education and experience in animal science and ruminant nutrition, Dahlke also is recognized nationally for his expertise in development of over a dozen decision tools and software programs. He’s the expertise behind such programs as the Beef Rations and Nutrition Decision Software (BRANDS), Beef Feedlot Monitoring program, Feed Intake Monitoring System and the Estrus Synchronization Planner.

He’ll present rations for beef cattle using BRANDS software, emphasizing grazing and forage-based cow and stocker diets.

Jeff Goodwin, pasture and range consultant in the producer relations program at the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Ardmore, Okla.: Before coming to the Noble Foundation earlier this year, Goodwin was the state rangeland management specialist for U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Temple, Texas. Prior to that, Goodwin worked as the NRCS state grazing land specialist and provided leadership and coordination to the Texas Grazing Land Coalition helping producers and landowners meet their management objectives.

Previously, Goodwin worked as a research associate in the Texas A&M AgriLife Research Service Range Animal Nutrition Program in Vernon, Texas. Goodwin will talk about the impact of grazing management on soil health and soil and water quality. Goodwin and Cook also will provide an update on activities at the Noble Foundation.

Stephanie Hansen, associate professor in ruminant nutrition at ISU: Her research concerns trace mineral nutrition of domestic livestock, improving feed efficiency of beef cattle, mineral interactions, and safely increasing inclusion of high sulfur feedstuffs in beef cattle diets. She’ll talk about how to assess mineral deficiency and offer supplementation strategies.

Dan Morrical, ISU professor of animal science: Morrical is the state sheep Extension specialist. He has an emphasis on grazing management and has been a great resource for graziers in Iowa. He recently compiled a summary of the micro-mineral content of forages in Iowa. He will include that micro-mineral info as part of his presentation. He’ll also talk about developing sheep rations using the ISU BRANDS software.

Craig Roberts, University of Missouri professor of plant science: The goal of his Extension work is to improve the economic and environmental status of Missouri’s forage-livestock agriculture; he also has been a resource for staff, ag professionals and producers in Iowa on fescue management. His Extension program is developed by needs assessment, prioritization, implementation and documentation of impact, and his Extension program involves forage testing, grazing systems and fescue toxicology.

His presentation will cover renovation of pastures, including fescue pastures with the spray/smother/spray method.

Jim Russell, retired professor of animal science at ISU: Russell’s research has been driven by producer needs starting with the Leopold Center’s Animal Issue team. As a ruminant nutrition staff member in Iowa State’s animal science department, he conducted nearly all of the grazing research conducted at ISU over the past four decades. He will lead a discussion on what makes extended grazing work and how to manage stockpiled grazing.           

Diane Spurlock, geneticist with AgBotanica: She works with AgBotanica to evaluate data on the company’s T-Snip test for fescue tolerance and to expand applications of the test. Previously she was a professor of animal science at Iowa State.

She will review the T-Snip test to evaluate cattle for tolerance to fescue toxicosis.

Seth Watkins, producer with 600-head cow-calf operation who also raises hay and corn in southwest Iowa: Watkins demonstrates ag land conservation for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification and allows outfitting. He also has incorporated a large variety of conservation practices on his farm, most implemented after 1998. These practices range from rotational grazing, restricted wildlife areas and  riparian buffers, to ponds, shallow water habitats, integrated pest management and prescribed burning. He also has late season calving and row crops integrated with prairie strips that continue with technical assistance from the NRCS and ISU.

He will share how he uses a systems approach managing Pin Hook farm in southwest Iowa, integrating livestock, crops and conservation.

Extended grazing producer panel -- Dan Hostetler of Grand River, Jim Werner of Diagonal and Bruce Carney of Maxwell: They will draw on many years of experience with stockpiled grazing, grazing animals, and other ways to extend grazing days.

Managed grazing producer panel -- Dan Cook of New Providence, Chris Nelson of Minburn and Seth Watkins from Clarinda: From different parts of Iowa, these producers will share their experiences with managing grass and pasture, including what they’ve learned over the years and what they would like to change.

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