- Agronomic: corn, oats, wheat, grass (misc. perennial), hay
- Animals: bovine, sheep
- Animal Products: dairy
- Animal Production: grazing - continuous, feed formulation, manure management, mineral supplements, grazing - multispecies, pasture fertility, pasture renovation, preventive practices, grazing - rotational, stockpiled forages, watering systems, winter forage, feed/forage
- Crop Production: nutrient cycling
- Education and Training: networking
- Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns, value added, whole farm planning
- Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity, riverbank protection, soil stabilization
- Pest Management: allelopathy, biological control, chemical control, competition, economic threshold, field monitoring/scouting, physical control
- Production Systems: integrated crop and livestock systems
- Sustainable Communities: social networks, sustainability measures
[Note to online version: The report for this project includes appendices that could not be included here. The regional SARE office will mail a hard copy of the entire report at your request. Just contact North Central SARE at (402) 472-7081 or email@example.com.]
The objective of this project was to provide training on planning sustainable grazing systems. The target audience for this training was NRCS and ISU Extension field staff. In addition CHIPS technicians, Iowa Division of Soil Conservation employees, veterinarians and others were given an opportunity to be a part of this training. All of the targeted groups have the opportunity to work with livestock producers. This training will make these groups more prepared to provide assistance to their clients to assist them in planning sustainable grazing systems. In addition they will be more prepared to provide assistance to producers in the management of these systems once established.
Three days of training were scheduled to complete the necessary training. Dates of the training were established during different times of the growing season. The first session was held in May, second in September and the third was held in January. This training schedule was selected to coordinate with the different phases of the grazing season and the challenges and opportunities provided by each. In addition spreading these days throughout the year better fits the schedule of the participants. Training is offered at three different locations in Iowa. This also works better into the schedules of the participants.
There were 73 registered for the course in the first year. Training was held in May and September of 1999 and January of 2000 in the first year. The professional demographics of this group are as follows: NRCS staff – 41, ISU Extension staff – 6, Ia. Division of Soil Conservation – 6, CHIPS Tech – 5, Veterinarians – 14, and producers – 1.
During the second, and final year, of training 42 people participated in the training. Training was held in May and September of 2000. The final session was held in January 2001. The professional demographics of this years group is as follows: NRCS staff – 20, ISU Extension staff – 1, Ia. Division of Soil Conservation –1, Community Colleges – 1, Certified Crop Advisors – 4, Veterinarians – 10, producers – 5.
For many participants this is the first training they have received where rotational grazing was presented to them as a system instead of training on a component. State, area and field staff from NRCS and ISU Extension as well as producers have provided training that “tied together” different components. Participants learned of the importance of soil in selecting forages and managing a grazing system. Through both classroom and field exercises participants have learned how plants grow and how to measure the amount of forage in the field.
Staff has provided instruction on water needs and how to develop water systems to meet the livestock needs. This has been supplemented by field visits where producers have shared their water system with participants.
Considerable time has been spent presenting information to participants on livestock nutritional needs. This has been coordinated with training on how to meet livestock nutritional needs through grazing systems. In addition participants have received training on determining body condition scores of beef cows. This was coupled with how forages affect a cows body condition score both favorably or to the livestock’s detriment.
With the completion of the January training session there will be 115 more agriculture professionals in Iowa better trained to assist producers wanting to implement or better manage a rotational grazing system. This project is meeting its goal of training field staff from NRCS and ISU Extension and other agriculture professionals to learn the relationship between forage management and livestock management. This training will help these people transfer this knowledge to the livestock producers they assist on a professional basis.
1. Upon completion of the course the student will be able to explain the ecological, aesthetic, and economic implications of pasture as a land use.
2. Determine animal nutrient requirements, and use forages in a grazing system to help meet these requirements.
3. Identify how soils affect forage production and grazing management.
4. Explain how plant growth affects management of forages, estimate forage yield and its affect on animal performance, and the management of major forage species to improve its utilization.
5. Identify water sources and how to use them in the grazing system. In addition the student will be able to express the benefits to water quality and herd health with the exclusion of livestock from ponds and streams.
6. Match animal forage needs to grazing system design, including all grazing system components such as fence, water sources and distribution system, and forage species.
7. Understand how to develop and organize outreach programs that include pasture walks and small group meetings to gain producer acceptance of sustainable grazing system concepts.