cattle grazing
GOOD GRAZING: The updated Extension guide offers information on forage growth, pasture system designs and more.

Better pasture management pays off

ISU publication provides steps you can take to improve pasture productivity.

The long-term productivity and quality of pastures relies on good management skills. A well-managed pasture will help maximize the economic viability of grazing systems through increased production of livestock.

A new version of an iconic Iowa State University Extension pasture management publication has been released, providing updated information for livestock producers looking to increase production and returns by improving management of their grassland areas.

Healthy, properly managed pastures produce better quality and greater quantities of forage for your animals, and lengthens the grazing season, producing healthier animals and reducing costs. Lush pastures also conserve water and filter out manure and nutrients, keeping them from entering nearby water bodies, protecting water quality, human health and animal health.

“Pasture Management Guide for Livestock Producers,” AS 14, has been updated for 2018, giving livestock producers a practical guide to assist in making management decisions for their herds.

“In the 20 years since this publication was originally released in 1998, the amount of information we have on grazing systems and the services they provide has increased exponentially,” says Jim Russell, professor emeritus of animal science at ISU. “Pastures have always been important in terms of livestock production and controlling soil erosion, but we have increased our knowledge of the importance of grazing systems, and what they can mean for water quality, soil health, wildlife and other ecological benefits.”

Designing a pasture system
The publication was written by ISU Extension specialists from a cross-section of disciplines, providing their expertise on topics including managing pasture plants, grazing livestock management, planning for improvements in grazing systems, monitoring and evaluating the grazing system, and managing risk in grazing systems.

The 167-page guide is filled with color photographs providing examples of the material being discussed. Illustrations also help present information on topics such as forage growth and how to design a pasture system.

“We’ve seen an increase in the use of rotational grazing through improved grazing system management over the last 20 years, although there is still more we can learn and better implement,” Russell says. “In addition, we’ve also increased our knowledge of cover crops and annual forages to improve overall productivity. With the continued trend of loss of grazing land in Iowa, it’s more important than ever to improve productivity and quality of the grazing land we have left and continue to maintain these pastures.”

Copies of the newly revised publication are $10 each and are available through the ISU Extension Store.


Bus trip to Kansas offered to Iowa beef producers

A three-day bus trip to Kansas in August will offer Iowa beef producers the opportunity to tour beef industry breed organizations, visit a variety of private and Kansas State University facilities, and talk with successful producers and researchers.

Iowa State University Extension beef specialist Joe Sellers says the Aug. 22-24 trip will provide a wealth of information, experiences and discussion opportunities to tour attendees. More information is at the Iowa Beef Center web page.

Source: Iowa State University

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