Pasture Walk Features Cow-Calf Issues

Beth Ellen Doran, Beef Field Specialist, Northwest Area

Problem Statement:

The years of 2007 and 2008 could best be described as “highly volatile” for cow-calf producers.  Issues abounded – how to graze the same amount of cows on fewer acres, maintaining pasture fertility with soaring fertilizer prices, coping with a wet and cool spring, working with a new Farm Bill, and dealing with market challenges, such as COOL, beef quality assurance and process verified programs. 

Programmatic Response:

A pasture walk addressing these issues was held June 25 in Ida County at the Ted and Bob Paulsrud Farms.  This was a collaborative effort of ISU Extension, Iowa Beef Center, Ida and Woodbury County Natural Resources Conservation Service, Ida and Woodbury Soil and Water Conservation District, Iowa Forage and Grassland Council, Galva Holstein Ag, L.L.C., Quad County Corn Processors and the Ida County Cattlemen’s Association. 

The pasture walk featured: how to improve pasture fertility economically, the emergency release of CRP acres for haying and grazing, the use of pasture scoring to make management changes, using co-product feeds to increase pasture carrying capacity, the 2008 Farm Bill, and an update on beef quality assurance.

Outcome Statement:

A total of 39 people from 11 counties attended the program.  The press provided good coverage both pre- and post-meeting.  Kriss Nelson, Farm News Reporter in Fort Dodge, featured the pasture walk on two pages in the July 18 issue.

Here are the impacts of the pasture walk:

·       Fourteen producers were certified or re-certified in beef quality assurance.

·       There was one request for an information packet after the pasture walk.

·       One producer called post-meeting to inquire about the carrying capacity of Iowa pastures and pasture rental rates.  He had recently moved from Texas to Ida County.  He said, “The pasture walk was really good and helped me learn about Iowa pastures.”

·       Wayne Brincks, Agricultural Representative for Congressman Steve King, called to gather information on the tonnage and quality of CRP pastures.  He used this in a congressional call discussing the need for an earlier release of CRP for flood assistance.  This early release was granted to 97 Iowa counties for haying at a 25% payment reduction.

·       Jerry Sindt, Woodbury County NRCS Soil Conservationist, wrote, “Went well… Attendance was as good as expected…The information was good.  Beth and Rick Heaton’s presentation on by-products was very good…” 


140  Iowa Beef Center

Page last updated: September 11, 2008
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