Pasture Walks-2010

Name and Position/Title:     
Byron Leu                  

Fiscal Year Submitted:         
FY 11

POW Title and Number:      
141 Reduced feed cost for Iowa beef producers

Pasture Walks-2010

Recent trends in the agricultural sector have led to a number of challenges for beef producers in southeast Iowa.  Grain prices and land values have both significantly increased over the past several years.  These historically high prices have created a number of issues especially for the beef cow-calf sector of the beef industry.  The higher land prices are pressuring producers to incur higher grazing costs and pasture rental payments.  In some instances, this cost has increased 20 to 50% for the grazing period.  Also, high grain prices are creating land use competition—with many producers considering planting grain crops on forage ground to take advantage of the current high grain prices.  These considerations are forcing cow-calf and stocker producers to explore methods to improve pasture production per acre in order to maintain their beef enterprise—not only to control grazing costs per unit but also to produce adequate forage production in a cost-effective system.

What Did You Do?
During the 2010 year, Leu was involved and participated in 10 grazing ‘pasture walk’ programs plus four presentations on grazing management at the Cornbelt Cow-Calf Conference (CCCC).  The pasture walks included 5 educational modules at the Greenhorn Grazing program held in south central Iowa plus county programs in Iowa, Keokuk, Van Buren, Appanoose, and Davis Counties.  Each of the county programs had a different ‘theme’ and farm location that featured a variety of management schemes at the different host sites.  Networking included relationships with ISU Extension, the IBC, NRCS, industry and fencing representatives, the IFGC, and SILFC.

The five Greenhorn Grazing program modules held at south central Iowa locations were attended by 198 people.  The topics that were discussed addressed a broad array of subject matter that focused on grazing and forage management. Over 12 different speakers and hosts presented at these educational meetings and farm visits. Meeting evaluations indicated that over 90% of the attendees had increased their knowledge of the topics presented, and reflected they would make changes in their management program.  100% indicated that all attendees found the sessions useful.  The evaluations reflected that the participants were interested in the basics of grass growth, marketing concepts, and the watering and fencing topic discussions.  It should be noted that the Greenhorn Grazing Program has been well received in both 2009 and 2010.  Year 3 GG programs will be conducted in northeast Iowa and also in southwest Iowa in 2011.

The five pasture walks in the southeast Iowa counties were attended by approximately 250 people.  The programs, held from June through September 2010, featured topics including forage species identification, technical and financial support systems, approaches to introduce legumes, paddock system layout and management, fencing recommendations, watering systems, and selected grazing management systems. Presenters included Dr. Steve Barnhart and Byron Leu from ISU, NRCS personnel, host producers, and industry and fencing representatives. Selected evaluation information included the following changes in participant operations:

At these events, the audience had the opportunity to learn about forage utilization, reducing grazing costs, increasing productivity, and approaches designed to extend the grazing period. These educational efforts will, over time, assist beef producers to combat the escalating land and feed costs—and at the same time meet or exceed animal performance needs and expectations.

Page last updated: August 1, 2011
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