Managed Grazing System to Increase Sustainability
Intensive grazing, when properly managed, removes animals from riparian areas, reduces weed competition and provides land areas for wildlife utilization. Although many experts have endorsed this concept, acceptance has been slow in Kentucky. Producers have little experience in the techniques and management required to accomplish it successfully.
This project was dedicated to educating thirty producers on the integration of resources and the benefits of intensive grazing. The Madison County Beef Cattle Association hopes that as the producers begin to utilize parts of the program, other producers will view the results and also begin moving toward managed grazing. Producers in surrounding counties were encouraged to attend in order to broaden the scope of the project and to provide them the opportunity to develop their own programs.
The project gathered together a committee of beef producers, extension, state and local NRCS, Berea College and Eastern Kentucky University personnel. They developed a day-long hands-on seminar in integrated resource management with a focus on management intensive grazing. The seminar integrated classroom presentations with hands-on fence building, livestock water development, clipping and weighing forages and forage allocation to grazing animals.
The project will be used to implement a neighbor to neighbor outreach program which utilizes cooperating host farmers who then share their ideas and experiences with other farmers in the community. The host farmer will entertain visiting farmers one-by-one by appointment. Neighbor to neighbor outreach can be used to aggressively market rotational/intensive grazing not only to traditional grazing audiences but also to historically under served groups who will benefit from good land use.
A one-day grazing school and a field day were held with seventy producers attending. As planned, producer participation was a requirement of the school; seminars, integrated classroom presentations with hands-on fence building, livestock water development, clipping and weighing forages and forage allocation to grazing animals. The school was so successful that it was the model for a program funded by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and the Kentucky Forage and Grasslands Council.