Forage Education and Demonstrations

Joe Sellers, livestock field specialist

Situation
Enhanced forage acres continue to be an important part of soil conservation and water quality efforts in southern Iowa. While many projects and education programs have demonstrated the ability to establish grazing systems, Iowa grazing and hay producing operations continue to look for increased production and improved forage quality. Economic advantages for grazing and forage land uses must be demonstrated to continue a forage base in CRP acreages with contract maturity prior to 2006 and to compete with land uses with higher erosion rates.

Response
Many Iowa Beef Center efforts and Iowa State University Extension (ISUE) activities target forage producers and the forage industry. These include numerous pasture walks coordinated with local producers and many winter forage planning meetings. The Iowa Forage Conference co-sponsored with the Iowa Forage and Grasslands Council is held each November in Des Moines. Steve Barnhart, Dan Morrical, Russ Bredahl, and Joe Sellers serve on the IFGC board. In 2003, this event attracted 115 producers to hear a wide range of presentations, including sessions by Steve Barnhart, John Lawrence, Dan Morrical, Jim Pease, Joe Sellers, and Dale Thoreson of Iowa State University Extension.

In southern Iowa, ISUE continues to partner with Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to develop forage educational programming in local soil and water conservation districts. The Rathbun Land and Water Alliance special watershed initiative will include eight forage demonstrations coordinated by a local team led by Joe Sellers and Jim Secor. Local livestock and crop specialists continue to plan educational programming to target EQIP participants.

Impact
The Rathbun Watershed Initiative will devote $42,000 to forage demonstrations conducted on local farms and at the ISU McNay Research farm. Over three years, 18 local workshops and field days will be held to present targeted programming to producers in the watershed. This funding will include partial cost recovery for ISUE staff involved in the project.

Over 200 new EQIP plans relating to grazing are pending in Iowa. To help meet the educational needs of this group of producers, the Iowa Beef Center staff is working with Brian Peterson of NRCS to develop sequential educational programming. This will start in early 2004 with local forage meetings. This effort will include locally developed agendas and revenue generation opportunities ISUE staff.

Page last updated: July 8, 2006
Page maintained by Linda Schultz, lschultz@iastate.edu