Short Course will Help Producers Improve Grazing Knowledge and Skills

ISU Extension and Outreach short course designed for graziers interested in a more controlled and management intensive grazing system.


VINTON, Iowa -- Livestock producers with an interest in strengthening or transitioning grazing practices can sharpen their skills by attending Grassroots Grazing workshops in northeast Iowa this summer and fall. The series is offered by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and regional Natural Resources Conservation Service offices, and consists of five different modules taught over the grazing season.

“Grassroots Grazing is designed for graziers interested in a more controlled or management-intensive grazing system,” said Denise Schwab, ISU extension beef program specialist. “Producers who want to optimize forage and livestock production, increase forage utilization and conserve natural resources will find the modules very informative.”

The course will cover concepts relevant to producers of all grass-based livestock, whether it is beef, dairy, sheep or other animals, according to Schwab.

“This program is designed to help livestock producers evaluate their own pasture management and implement steps to increase their grazing efficiency,” said Schwab. “This training features experienced graziers sharing their knowledge along with Iowa State and NRCS specialists; it’s a great combination of academics with real-world experience.”

Grassroots Grazing will be held in the Clayton, Delaware, Dubuque and Fayette county areas, but is available to any producers in northeast Iowa. Each workshop will have a classroom component with experienced instructors and a hands-on field component. Each event will begin promptly at 4 p.m. and conclude by 9 p.m. The sessions are scheduled for June 14, June 28, Aug. 29, Sept. 13 and Nov. 15.

June 14 Session

  • Brian Lang, ISU Extension and Outreach agronomist: the basics of soil and fertility.
  • Pat Schaefers, Clayton County NRCS: converting CRP to grazing land.
  • Michelle German, NRCS soil conservationist: pasture evaluation.
  • Schwab: the importance of managing forage.
  • The pasture component will be at the Nick and Ted Smith pasture near Littleport, featuring converting a CRP field into rotationally grazing paddocks, paddock design, and water development.

June 28 Session

  • Scott Flynn of Dow AgroSciences: weed and brush control, and planning for cover crop grazing. This will be at the Gene Tinker pasture.
  • Dave Mack, NRCS: cost share opportunities.
  • Erika Lundy, beef program specialist, Iowa Beef Center: planning for cover crops.

Aug. 29 Session

  • Dan Morrical, ISU Extension and Outreach sheep specialist: animal grazing behavior, forage requirements and supplementing on pasture.
  • Gordon Shelangoski from Premier Fencing: fencing systems, and the Scott Cherne newly developed rotational pasture.

Sept. 13 Session

  • Greg Brenneman, ISU Extension and Outreach agricultural engineer: watering system development.
  • Joe Sellers, ISU Extension and Outreach beef specialist: grazing agreements.
  • Tina Cibula, NRCS resource conservationist: soil health, on the Cam Schulte pasture near Garber.

Nov. 15 Session

  • The final program will be held at the Mark Glawe farm near Garber and will feature cover crop grazing and companionship of cattle to row crops.

The course fee is $50 for all five sessions in the series. Individual sessions are $20 each and include the evening meal, but do not include the full resource notebook. Registration fees include a resource notebook and a light dinner, and help offset speaker travel. Registrations can be made through the ISU Extension and Outreach Benton County office at 319-472-4739 or by using the form included in the short course brochure.

Short course sponsors include Iowa Beef Center, Dow AgroSciences and Arrowquip. The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture sponsored development of the series. For more information on specific locations or details contact Denise Schwab at 319-721-9624 or dschwab@iastate.edu.