Establishment of Rotational Grazing System Utilizing Warm and Cool Season Grasses

Project Overview

FNC96-161
Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 1996: $5,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/1998
Region: North Central
State: Missouri
Project Coordinator:

Annual Reports

Commodities

  • Agronomic: corn, soybeans, grass (misc. perennial), hay
  • Animals: bovine

Practices

  • Animal Production: grazing - rotational, watering systems, feed/forage
  • Crop Production: intercropping
  • Education and Training: demonstration, extension, farmer to farmer

    Summary:

    PROJECT BACKGROUND
    Our ranch is approximately 1000 acres with predominantly highly erodible, relatively poor soil. We have a cow/calf production system, and background steers and heifers. We also produce, harvest, process, and market warm season grass seed.

    PROJECT DESCRIPTION AND RESULTS
    Our goal is to create an efficient rotational grazing system that will increase the productivity of relatively poor and highly erodible soil. At the same time we plan to improve and protect the natural spring and increase the wildlife habitat by woodland exclusion. We also plan to promote this grazing system as a model for other producers with similar needs.

    Our rotational system that was established under this grant has been very successful. We have installed approximately3 miles of high tensile electric fence on approximately 180 acres of the ranch. This has divided the system into 7 pastures excluding timber and some springs. We installed RAM pumps and tanks to deliver water in 2 of the pastures. We replanted native and warm season grasses on about 50% of the system, and left the other 50% in cool season grasses.

    This system has been very successful in improving the pastures and the water. We have almost doubled our production of forage, as well as improving the access and quality of water for the livestock.

    Water from the RAM pumps is so far not totally reliable at best. When they operate properly, they deliver plenty of water. However, they need to be checked daily during the hot summer months.

    Overall, the system has been a good addition to our operation. We have improved both our forage and water quality. Also, it is much simpler to handle the livestock and control their grazing pattern. To achieve our total goal of 75 pair per year, we need to further divide some of the larger pastures and install more water delivery systems.

    We are continuing to work with MDC and NRCS on the system. We are working on a solar water system for 2 pastures with MDC, and an agriculture well and pipeline with the NRCS and the EQUIP program. With this assistance, we will be able to further expand our initial system.

    In the interest of distributing information and marketing our grasses, we have attended 4 farm shows during the last year. These were all well attended and successful ventures. Terry also was one of the speakers at the Southwest Missouri Spring Forage Conference in Springfield Missouri this year. His topic was, of course, Warm Season Grasses.

    We have purchased the computer, and are in the process of programming it to fit our needs. This has not been the easiest endeavor. We have gotten our Seed Analysis information on, but the rest of the operation and records will take some time.

    OUTREACH
    We have jointly sponsored a field day with NRCS, MDC and the University of Missouri Extension Service. It was well attended. We have also had communication with one of the Agricultural Personnel from Germany. He came out to visit and look at the grazing system, and our warm season grass seed production. He is doing some research in Germany with our native grasses, and comes to see how we are progressing occasionally.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.