Working Alternatives to Re-cropping Marginal Lands
The operation of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Research and Demonstration Project and farm was completed as planned in 2008, utilizing a student Grazing Intern, three grazing management systems and styles, providing four on-site adult education field days and group tours for four schools. Data indicated continued success in fall calving operations, fall pasture weaning of spring calves, and successful demonstration of annual grass utilization for renovation of excessive fescue pastures. Rotational grazing management supplied ample forage supply including cool and warm season grasses. Ongoing rural water and grazing studies and patch-burn grazing studies were continued.
– Adult Forage Field Day events – Two planned in 2008
– Grazing Intern employment – One student employed in 2008
– Collection of Data from CRP Farm demonstrations
– Annual Report of results planned
– Grazing School & Annie’s Project for adult forage education – One Grazing School and one Annie’s Project scheduled for 2008.
– Warm Season Grass conversion with herbicide in a grazing system – One demonstration in 2008
– Warm Season Grass conversion with out herbicide in a grazing system – One demonstration in 2008
– Wildlife and Forage compatibility research study – One research project in 2008
– Grazing Costs Comparison Bulletin – Scheduled for 2008 completion
Adult Forage Field Day events – Two were held in 2008.
Grazing Intern employment – Austin Brandt was employed between May – August 2008 as Intern.
Collection of Data from CRP Farm demonstrations – Annual report of results planned.
Grazing School & Annie’s Project for Adult Forage Education – Grazing Schools were completed in March 2008. Working in conjunction with Iowa NRCS, the Iowa Beef Center, Iowa State University Extension, and Cargill Company, SIFLC provided four grazing schools across southern Iowa in February and March 2008. These were held in Corning, Winterset, Chariton, and Pella, Iowa. Annie’s Project was scheduled to be completed in 2008, but due to scheduling conflicts will not conclude until February 2009.
Warm Season Grass conversion with herbicide – One demonstration in 2008 as part of wildlife study
Warm Season Grass conversion without herbicide – One demonstration in 2008 as part of wildlife study
Wildlife and Forage compatibility research study –One research project in 2008.
Grazing Costs Comparison Bulletin – Scheduled for 2008 completion, has been extended until June 2009.
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
In a very concerted effort to provide grazing education and opportunity, our Southern Iowa Forage and Livestock Committee had provided three different demonstrations of management style to grazing producers. All can be compared to the typical continuous grazing method with improved results. Our north grazing system demonstrates smaller paddock, faster rotational grazing on fall calving cows. In conjunction with that, it is also the site for a grazing compatibility study of grassland bird nesting. In that area are the demonstrations of grazing warm season grasses, and the establishment of Winter Swath Grazing (WSG) with both herbicide methods and by only using grazing management methods. The non-herbicide method definitely takes longer because it greatly reduces the prior cool season grass competition. However, that is not conducive for all management styles, particularly for Organic beef producing farm operations. Records are kept on the cattle rotations on these fields for an eventual research paper expressing the total success of the effort.
Education efforts were split between on-farm demonstrations, and off-farm conferences. The on-farm education efforts impacted 141 people attending activities at the demonstration farm in 2008.
The transfer of knowledge was much greater by taking the information and experience gain with the on-farm work to conferences, meetings, workshops, etc. In 2008, speakers, exhibits, or displays on the farm activities reached 1,065 people at six off-farm events. We feel this is a major accomplishment in our educational efforts.
This education brings many benefits to the current and future producers of grazing livestock. First it exposes them to improved methods of management. Different styles of rotational grazing demonstrated show a variety of ways to “do the right thing”. Similarly, the many different styles of livestock watering systems demonstrated (pond limited access, solar pumped, siphon, rural water, etc.) allow people to see directly what works (or does not work well) for us on site. By taking this information off-site to producer meetings, it gives them access to new ideas and viable alternates to consider in management decisions.
Of course, having our Grazing Intern, work directly under our Herdsman was a very small but excellent example of hands-on education.
In total production, the three different management areas produced superior results that are outlined in great detail in our attached Annual Report.
The completion of the Wildlife and Grazing Compatibility study report also outlines in great detail the work and documented scientific study of the Iowa State University research team. We are very happy to be a small but important part of bringing that intellectual knowledge to the research and public policy world.
Southern Iowa Forge & Livestock
603 7th Street
Corning, IA 50841
Office Phone: 6413223184