Cover Crop Pasture Walk Planned for Northeast Iowa

VINTON, Iowa -- A pasture walk featuring cows grazing a cover crop of rye and hairy vetch, grass finishing and an introduction to a new bird friendly marketing opportunity will be Wednesday, May 22. The walk starts at 1 p.m. at the Dan Specht farm, located at 29742 Pleasant Ridge Road near Marquette.

“This farm is managed as a grassland ecosystem with fall calving Red Devon cows, and grass finishing of the calves,” said Denise Schwab, an Iowa State University Extension and Outreach beef program specialist. “The majority of the farm’s 675 acres are kept in perennial forages, permanent pasture or woodland; with annual crops grown on fewer than 10 acres.”

Wisconsin Extension agent Vance Haugen will explain grass-finished beef requirements, markets and genetics for grass fed beef, and use of annuals in a grazing system. Eric Klein from Hidden Stream Farm will talk about his markets and possible future needs for supplies in the new wave of food co-ops in the Twin Cities.

Schwab said an Audubon Society representative will speak about that organization’s upcoming “bird friendly” label for grass fed beef. Interested attendees will be able to take an evening grassland birding walk.

“Folks from Practical Farmers of Iowa and I will address grazing management issues as part of the program,” Schwab said. “They’re also providing a light lunch following the pasture walk.”

There’s no cost to attend and no preregistration is necessary.

Directions to the Specht farm
On county road B45 (Pleasant Ridge Road), from Marquette, go two miles west. From Monona, go east on West Iowa Street (this turns into B45) from the four-way stop for 10 miles. The farm is on the south side of the road, at the end of a quarter-mile lane. For more driving directions, call Dan at 563-516-1007.

The event is co-sponsored by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Iowa Learning Farms and Practical Farmers of Iowa.