CHARITON, Iowa -- There is no more critical factor impacting beef cow-calf profits than controlling feed costs, and one part of that is extending grazing days and improving performance on grass. The latest U.S. Census of Agriculture indicates that pasture acres were reduced by 660,000 acres (21 percent) in Iowa between 2007 and 2012. At the same time acres in CRP, WRP, CREP and other conservation uses went down 744,000 (37 percent). There are huge soil and water conservation impacts of these land use changes, and good management of available pasture is more important than ever.
That’s why the Iowa Beef Center and its grazing partners will host numerous grazing events in 2014, ranging from courses for beginning to experienced graziers to a specific series of workshops around Iowa led by Jim Gerrish, grazing consultant from Idaho and former grazing specialist at the University of Missouri.
The Gerrish series features five workshops and seven pasture walks Aug. 18-22. See the 2014 Gerrish Series flyer for details on the session content, dates, times and locations.
This popular course continues in 2014 at the Iowa State University McNay Research Farm southwest of Chariton and local farm sites. Designed for beginning graziers and those producers wanting to upgrade their grazing systems, one of the five sessions will be part of the Gerrish series. Topics include basics of grass management, soil types and choosing forage species for the site, water systems, using annual forage crop, fescue management, fencing, weed and brush management, getting more plant diversity and extending the grazing season.
Each class will include discussion both in the meeting room and out in the pasture. Dates are June 18, July 15, Aug. 18 or 19 or 20 (this is the Gerrish series session), Oct. 23 and Nov. 18, with all Greenhorn Grazing sessions running from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The Gerrish session time varies by date and location. The $80 fee covers a meal at all five sessions and reference materials. For more information or to sign up, contact Joe Sellers by phone at 641-203-1270 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Greenhorn Grazing 2014 brochure lists specific session topics and sponsors.
This grazing course is intended for more advanced graziers who want to fine-tune and advance their grazing management systems. Interactive classes will include an agenda defined by participants. Participants will gain skills to help themselves and other producers make informed grazing management decisions, by working on a detailed grazing plan for their farm during the class.
Topics to be covered include looking at different grazing systems, using Web Soil Survey to improved paddock design and management, incorporating annual cover crops in a system, soil fertility, maximizing pasture diversity, reducing cow wintering costs with extended grazing and cornstalk grazing, and beef nutrition using BRANDs.
The Certified Grazier series will be held this year in two locations: Winterset at the Madison County Extension Office and Maquoketa at the Jackson County Extension Office.
All regular sessions run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Gerrish session time varies by date and location. Cost is $100 per participant with registrations due by June 6 for both locations.