Two Stockman & Stewardship workshops featuring Dr. Ron Gill from Texas, will be held in eastern Iowa June 25. The Stockman & Stewardship sessions teach cattle handling methods that improve animal movement and cattle performance by reducing the stress on livestock.
"Gill bases his presentation on four simple principles of cattle behavior; cattle want to see you, go around you, be with other cattle, and can only process one thought at a time," says Denise Schwab, Iowa State University Extension beef program specialist in eastern Iowa. "He will demonstrate 10 key ways that will ease handling cattle whether they are being gathered from the pasture or processed through corrals."
In addition to animal handling, Doug Bear from the Iowa Beef Industry Council will also be certifying participants in the Beef Quality Assurance program. BQA is the foundation for the Tyson FarmCheck program which was recently announced.
BQA program is what Tyson FarmCheck will follow
The first workshop will be held at the Ken & Scott Birker feedlot north of Vinton from 9 a.m. to noon, with lunch following. From Vinton go north on Hwy 150 about 5 miles, turn north on 27th Ave. Dr. (at the Prairie Creek Christian Church) about ¾ mile, buildings will be on your right. Benton County Cattlemen will be grilling with lunch sponsored by Iowa Beef Systems and Titan West.
The evening session will be held at the Maquoketa Sale Barn from 6 p.m. to dark with a light dinner prepared by the Jackson County Cattlemen. The sale barn is at 18140 33rd Street in Maquoketa. A $10 registration fee will be charged at the door but no advance registration is needed.
Will also be presented at Eastern Iowa Beef Conference June 24
Dr. Ron Gill spent 20 years as a Texas AgriLife Extension Specialist with expertise in beef cattle nutrition, management, and livestock handling techniques. Ron was born and raised on a West Texas ranch, and owns and operates Gill Cattle Company in North Central Texas.
Gill and Bear will also be speaking at the Eastern Iowa Beef Conference on June 24, at the Faith Bible Church in Cedar Rapids. For more information on these workshops or more directions to the farms, contact Denise Schwab, Extension Beef Program Specialist at [email protected] or 319-721-9624.
Pasture renovation and conversion field day June 28
Periodically renovating your pastures can be one of the best ways to improve forage quality, animal performance and grazing management but it can take time to get the seeding mix just right and see full soil and other improvements.
David and Leslie Carbaugh know this from experience. They operate Noble Pastures near Red Oak in southwest Iowa and are in the midst of renovating an old pasture, as well as converting a piece of crop ground to pasture. They invite graziers, the public and anyone else curious about this process to join them for a Practical Farmers of Iowa pasture walk and field day they are hosting on Saturday, June 28, from 10 a.m. to noon, near Red Oak.
The event, "Pasture Conversion and Renovation", is free to attend and will include lunch after the pasture walk. Noble Pastures is located at 2604 D. Ave., about 11 miles southwest of Red Oak. RSVPs are requested for the meal. Please contact Lauren Zastrow at 515-232-5661 or [email protected] by Wednesday, June 25. The field day is sponsored by Prairie Creek Seed and Iowa Environmental Council.
Forage options, fencing ideas and general pasture management
The day will start with field walks followed by an evaluation of the two pastures. Along with experienced graziers Ron Dunphy and Paul Ackley, the group will evaluate the pastures and discuss possible forage options, fencing ideas and general management.
"Our old pasture has been pasture for more than four generations, and the new pasture that we're converting from row crop to pasture we just seeded this spring," David says. "We're building a house next spring and the new pasture basically rings around where the home will be, so we're looking for suggestions and ideas, because there's old, old fencing around the old pasture and nothing around the new pasture."
David says one of the challenges to establishing healthy pasture on the row crop ground will be getting rid of any old row crop seeds left in the ground and chemicals used in the field. "We probably have 10 different plants in the mix we planted, and it will be interesting to see if there's any residual chemicals that might cause some of those plants to not emerge. This pasture is a blank canvas and I can't wait to see what comes up this year with a season of healing." David and his wife Leslie are rebuilding his grandfather's farm in southwest Iowa, converting land slowly out of crop production into pastures for grazing sheep, poultry and cattle.
Directions from Red Oak: Take Iowa Route 48 south for about 6.5 miles. Turn right (west) onto 270th Street / Coburg Hwy., drive about 4 miles and turn right (north) onto D Avenue. In 1 mile, on the west side of the road, will be a house with a large white corn crib and two metal sheds; this is David's parents' house. Continue over the hill to David and Leslie's acreage (no house yet).
Practical Farmers of Iowa's 2014 field day season features 35 field days around Iowa. All field days are open to the public, and most are free to attend. The guide is currently available on Practical Farmers' website, and will be available in print at the end of May. Contact the office at 515-232-5661 to request a copy.