Should Cattlemen Consider Warm Season Grasses?

A field day on using warm season grasses as forage is set for July 30 at CRP Demonstration Farm near Corning.

Many grassland farmers have seen native tall grass species. Some have planted it for the CRP program. Much of it is planted now along our state highways. It gets tall. It is good for wildlife. It is pretty with native flowers during the summer. But how does any of that affect pastureland and grazing? Should a cattleman consider these grasses as a viable forage supply?

For grass producers, the answers to these critical questions will be presented at a field day July 30 on the CRP Research and Demonstration Farm north of Corning in southwest Iowa. On Wednesday July 30 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. warm season grasses will be the topic. What are they? How do you graze them? What are the cost advantages? Why should I want to change? "All these questions will be addressed," says John Klein, a grasslands specialist located at the NRCS office at Corning, Iowa.

Costs and benefits of grasses will be covered

"The field day will begin with the basics of what is a warm season grass and how it is different from the cool season grasses we have in most pastures," he says. "Both annual and perennial grasses will be discussed with their management and benefits. Cost and benefits will be presented. Management for pasture will be outlined and how that management may be different from use by wildlife or hay."

Seeding and establishment management are also different with warm season grasses. Examples of what has been done on the demonstration farm will be toured. People needing handicapped accommodation should contact the NRCS office in Corning at 641-322-3116.

Following the tours, a free supper of grilled brats will be provided. The CRP Demonstration Farm is located two miles north of Corning on Highway 148. Signs will be posted on the day of the event from that highway. Funding for this field day comes from USDA, ISU Extension, Iowa Forage and Grassland Council, and the Southern Iowa Forage and Livestock Committee.

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