Grassroots of Grazing and Forage Management

Joe Sellers, livestock field specialist
Carl Neifert, livestock field specialist
Dale Miller, Marion County Education Director

Situation

Grazing and forage management continues to be a neglected, underused tool that cattle producers could use to reduce feed costs for cows and stockers. Costs for stored feed account for 60% of the expenditure in cow/calf production. Thus, management items that reduce feed costs help producers to increase profits.
Marginal lands continue to be converted from pasture/hay production to row crop production. In many cases, the net income from converted pasturelands is less than that which could be saved by properly managing pasturelands.
Producers want to improve pastures and pasture forage productivity. They want to know how fertilizers, weed control, brush control, and more productive forage varieties can increase production.

Response

A group including Extension, NRCS, and SCS staff members in four counties planned a program that would increase the usage of pasture and hay acres. Over a two-year period, a Leopold Grant was obtained for this effort. Also, a Grassroots of Grazing meeting was held in Attica, Marion County, on March 3, 2004. At the meeting, topics included:

Impact

Meeting attendance doubled our expectations. Of the 93 participants, 40 were given evaluations following the meeting. Their responses are as follows:

Of these predicted operation changes, examples include:

The 40 responses indicated that the economic impact of the meeting was over $31,000, or over $770 per operation. This would indicate an economic impact of over $70,000 on the whole for all 93 participants. All respondents indicated an economic benefit to their operations.
Collectively, the 40 respondents owned 2,949 cows and 755 stockers.

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