Mr. Keyes has a dairy farm. He grows barley, triticale, alfalfa, and corn, some of which he ensiles, for feed. He was interested in switching to a pasture-based system, and obtained grants, from SARE and others, to assist him in making the transition.
Mr. Keyes expanded the amount of land he devotes to pasture from 30 to 80 of his 200 acres, and reduced commensurately the amount of cropland. He seeded his pastures with eastern gammagrass and various cool season grasses. He laid out paddocks and walkways, drilled a well and installed a system of troughs and pipelines, and a solar-powered pump.
Like so many others on the East Coast, Mr. Keyes’ farm was seriously affected by severe drought during the summer of 1999. The cool season grasses established poorly, and the eastern gammagrass, not at all. The watering system works, though there is some question whether the capacity is adequate for his herd. He has begun limited grazing, but for now (December, 1999) must continue to rely heavily on confinement feeding.