Livestock producers interested in strengthening or transitioning grazing practices can sharpen their skills by attending the Grassroots Grazing workshops in northeast Iowa this summer and fall. Offered by Iowa State University Extension and USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, the series consists of five different modules taught over the grazing season.
“Grassroots Grazing is designed for graziers interested in a more controlled or management-intensive grazing system,” says Denise Schwab, Extension beef program specialist. “Producers who want to optimize forage and livestock production, increase forage use, and conserve natural resources will find the modules very informative.”
All types of grass-based livestock
The course will cover concepts relevant to producers of all grass-based livestock, whether it is beef, dairy, sheep or other animals. “This program is designed to help livestock producers evaluate their own pasture management and implement steps to increase their grazing efficiency,” says Schwab. “This training features experienced graziers sharing their knowledge, along with ISU and NRCS specialists. It’s a great combination of academics with real-world experience.”
Grassroots Grazing will be held in the Clayton, Delaware, Dubuque and Fayette county areas, but is available to any producers in northeast Iowa. Each workshop will have a classroom component, with experienced instructors, and a hands-on field component. Each will begin promptly at 4 p.m. and conclude by 9 p.m. The sessions are scheduled for June 14, June 28, Aug. 29, Sept. 13 and Nov. 15.
June 14 session
• Brian Lang, Iowa State Extension agronomist, on the basics of soil and fertility
• Pat Schaefers, Clayton County NRCS, on converting CRP to grazing land
• Michelle German, NRCS soil conservationist, on pasture evaluation
• Schwab, on the importance of managing forage
The pasture component will be at the Nick and Ted Smith pasture near Littleport. It will feature the conversion of a Conservation Reserve Program field into rotationally grazing paddocks, along with a discussion on paddock design and water development.
June 28 session
• Scott Flynn, Dow AgroSciences, on weed and brush control and cover crop grazing (at the Gene Tinker pasture)
• Dave Mack, NRCS, on cost share opportunities
• Erika Lundy, Iowa Beef Center, on planning for cover crops
Aug. 29 session
• Dan Morrical, Iowa State sheep specialist, on animal grazing behavior, forage requirements and supplementing on pasture
• Gordon Shelangoski, Premier Fencing, on fencing systems, and the Scott Cherne newly developed rotational pasture
Sept. 13 session
• Greg Brenneman, Extension ag engineer, on watering system development
• Joe Sellers, Extension beef program specialist, on grazing agreements
• Tina Cibula, NRCS resource conservationist, on soil health (at the Cam Schulte pasture near Garber)
Nov. 15 session
The final program will be held at the Mark Glawe farm near Garber and will feature cover crop grazing and companionship of cattle to row crops.
Registration fees include a resource notebook and a light dinner. The course fee is $50 for all five sessions in the series. Individual sessions are $20 each and include the evening meal, but do not include the full resource notebook.
The series brochure has content, speaker and location information for each location, as well as a registration form. For more information on specific locations or details, contact Denise Schwab at 319-721-9624 or [email protected]. To register, contact Benton County Extension Office at 319-472-4739.
Source: Iowa State University