Livestock producers with an interest in beginning or transitioning grazing practices can sharpen their skills by attending a series of grazing workshops offered by Iowa State University Extension. The Greenhorn Grazing short course consists of five different modules taught over the 2011 grazing season.
Previously announced for southern Iowa, the series of five workshops will also be held in southern Iowa (see details about the southern Iowa series later in this article, regarding dates and location).
"Greenhorn Grazing is designed for graziers interested in using a more controlled grazing system or management-intensive grazing system," says Denise Schwab, ISU Extension livestock specialist. "Producers who want to optimize forage and livestock production, increase market access and conserve natural resources will find what they learn by attending these five meetings very informative."
Eastern Iowa Grazing workshops will be in Maquoketa area
The course will cover concepts relevant to all producers of grass-based livestock, whether it is beef, dairy, sheep or other animals, says Schwab. Greenhorn Grazing will be held in the Maquoketa area, but is designed for attendance by producers from throughout eastern Iowa. Each workshop will have a classroom component with experienced instructors and a hands-on field component.
The workshops will begin promptly at 1 p.m. and will last through late afternoon. The sessions are scheduled for June 8, July 6, Aug. 4, Aug. 30 and in early November on date yet to be set. "Workshop topics covered by the instructors and during the associated field experiences will teach producers how to improve the productivity and use of their land," Schwab says. "Training such as this removes some of the perceived barriers associated with entry into the grass-based livestock industry and supports perennial grassland agriculture."
Cost of the short course is largely offset by grants from the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, and the Iowa Beef Center. The course fee is $75; participants are urged to attend all sessions, but fees for individual sessions are available. Fees include a resource notebook, speakers, and refreshments. For more information on specific locations or to register for the Eastern Iowa series, contact the Benton County Extension Office, at 319-473-4739. For more details contact Denise Schwab at 319-721-9624 or [email protected].
Southern Iowa Greenhorn Grazing workshops will be at Corning
Producers who attend the 2011 Greenhorn Grazing series to be held in southern Iowa will learn how to optimize forage and livestock production while conserving natural resources. ISU Extension beef program specialist Joe Sellers is organizing this series of five day-long workshops set for May through November. The program brochure is available on the Iowa Beef Center website.
"This series of five separate workshops will cover concepts relevant to all producers of grass-based livestock with topics ranging from the importance of managing forage to legal fencing and lease issues to winter feeding plans," says Sellers. "All sessions will have classroom and field segments. The sessions will be held at Corning in Adams County, and also at local farm sites."
Sellers and Natural Resources Conservation Service area grasslands specialist Rick Sprague are coordinating the program. Discussions will be led by grazing experts from ISU, NRCS, industry and experienced producers.
Sharpen your grazing management skills, optimize production
"This series was developed by ISU Extension, NRCS and industry staff to deliver timely materials and hands-on workshops for producers interested in improving their forage management system," Sellers says. "Producers will learn how to improve the productivity and use of their land."
The workshops are scheduled for May 26, June 23, Aug. 25, Sept. 15 and Nov. 15. Each session begins at 10 a.m. at St. Patrick's Church Hall, 607 6th St., in Corning, and concludes at a farm location in early afternoon. Grants from the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, the Iowa Beef Center, the Southern Iowa Forage and Livestock Committee, and Dow AgroSciences help keep the series cost low at $75. Participants are urged to attend all sessions, but fees for individual sessions are available. The fee includes a meal and educational materials for each session.
Producers interested in attending are asked to register by May 21
Producers are asked to register by May 21 by contacting the Adams County Extension Office at 641-322-3184, or by emailing Sellers at [email protected].
"By attending this series you'll gain a better understanding of management-intensive and rotational grazing," says Sprague. "You'll learn how to get more value from forage and livestock production, how to increase market access and how to improve conservation of natural resources on your farm."
The series starts out with such topics as: Why is forage management important? Planning your grazing system, and understanding animal and plant productivity. Fencing and water access will be discussed, as will the basics of grass growth and management. Value added, grass fed and natural beef marketing opportunities will be addressed at the second workshop, along with supplementation strategies.
The third session will cover more on fencing and watering systems, minerals and animal health and planning for fall and winter: early weaning, pasture weaning, stockpiling grass and solar watering units. The fourth session includes weed and brush management, grazing for wildlife habitat, and grazing fees, rental rates and contracts. The fifth session includes winter feeding plans, cull cow marketing strategies/replacement heifers and cow and calf rations.