“Pasture Walk” Educational Events

Byron M. Leu, livestock field specialist

Over the years, pasture management has not been a priority for the majority of southeast Iowa livestock producers. Therefore, many of these pastures are continuously grazed with limited management practices incorporated into the overall pasture program. This approach has resulted in marginal forage productivity, reduced potential animal performance, and impacted the specie makeup of the pastures.

“Pasture Walk” Educational programs have been facilitated over the past several years to update producers about the potential value of improving their pasture management schemes. These informal sessions have served as a popular format for addressing a wide variety of pasture/forage management issues—including plant identification, grazing systems, animal management, watering options, pasture fertilization, weed and brush control, and the fescue story. ISUE has cooperated with NRCS personnel, county Extension staff, community college personnel, producers, and agribusiness representatives to develop and present these programs.

During the 2003 and 2004 growing seasons, ISU Extension in SE Iowa has sponsored/supported 15 “Pasture Walk” educational programs. Attendance has been positive, with over 400 producers and agribusiness personnel participating in these events.
Feedback from participants has been very positive. Numerous contacts have indicated interest in incorporating a number of the management schemes presented at these events into their operations. Over time, producers can/will adopt grazing management concepts that will improve/increase: 1) pasture/forage productivity (expect a 35%+ improvement in forage quantity, 2) pasture/forage quality, 3) animal gain/body condition potential, 4) animal reproductive rates, and 5) profit potential due to overall improved productivity. The events have also provided attendees the opportunity to observe a variety of pasture improvement techniques and designs—including watering designs, fencing methods, animal flow concepts, stream crossings, plant specie differences, and specific grazing systems.

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