Beef Up Your Forage Management

Byron Leu, Livestock Field Specialist, Southeast Area

Problem Statement:

Input costs and competitive cropping options are impacting many cow-calf producers throughout Iowa and the Midwest.  Record high feed costs, increasing pasture rental rates, and competition by corn/bean cropping options due to high grain prices are challenging many producers as they finalize future decisions.   Balancing cow-calf numbers with a sustainable grazing and cropping system has complicated both the short-term and long-term decision making process. 

Programmatic Response:

In March 2008, ISU Extension and NRCS staff cooperated to sponsor a number of Beef Up Forage programs throughout southern Iowa.  A program outline and slide program was developed under the leadership of Joe Sellers, Iowa Beef Center FS, and Brian Petersen, NRCS Grazing Specialist.  This presentation framework was adapted for use in two southeast Iowa programs one in Keokuk County and one in Van Buren County.  These programs reviewed the calendar year in regards to forage and cow-calf management schemes and alternatives exploring exploring a year-around approach to manage/control feed resources and costs.  Presenters included Mark Carlton, ISU Extension, Jess Jackson, NRCS, Kim Etzel, Cargill Animal Nutrition, and Byron Leu, ISU Extension.


The two Southeast Iowa events were attended by 47 producers and agribusiness representatives.  Three ISU Extension staff also participated.  Evaluations (N=29) of the events were very positive with the overall program rating averaging 4.70 on a 5.0 scale.  Each segment of the program was evaluated, with six of the seven program segments averaging 4.40-4.50 on a 5.0 scale indicating the program material was very effective relative to how the attendees valued the information presented. 

Networking was also a major component of the events. Cargill Animal Nutrition supported the programs through financial support and a presentation segment. NRCS staff were also actively involved in both the development as well as presentation of the forage management information.   These positive relationships are important to Extensions educational programming effort as research-based information is presented to our Iowa beef producers.

FY 2008

140  Iowa Beef Center

Page last updated: June 13, 2008
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