Working Alternatives to Re-cropping Marginal Lands
In 2009/2010, the Southern Iowa Forage & Livestock Committee (SIFLC) continued its mission of promoting alternatives to row crop production on highly erodible land (HEL). The committee met regularly to review progress and continue to determine new direction for the committee without the research and demonstration farm.
Highlights of 2009 included the private sale of research farm site and the auctioning of all the fencing, cattle management and water system equipment from the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Farm Project northeast of Corning. The board decided that this was the fairest and quickest way to get the equipment into producer hands following the equipment removal. To make use of these funds a grant program has been designed. The program will provide money to producers or groups for programs, projects, and demonstrations which further SIFLC’s mission. Individuals or organizations simply fill out a two page “Request for Assistance” application. It is the intent of the SIFLC board to review these applications each month at their regular meeting. Some examples of projects include on-farm demonstrations, field days, public tours to pertinent projects, meetings and funds for speakers.
The committee also completed a publication entitled “Maximizing Profitability on Highly Erodible Land in Iowa”. It uses the grazing data collected at the Adams County CRP research and demonstration farm and compares six options for land currently in CRP. With high grain prices, going back to row-crops on this land can look like a good option. When the costs of erosion are also considered, however, the best options, even with no-till row crops, shift to keeping this land in grass. Thanks to the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture for cooperating on this project.
Adult Forage Field Day events – Several events were planned for 2009-2010.
Collection of Data from demonstrations – Annual Report of results planned.
Grazing Costs Comparison Bulletin – Scheduled for 2009 completion.
Field Day and Educational events – 10 were held in 2009-2010.
Collection of Data from demonstrations – Annual report of results completed.
Grazing Costs Comparison Bulletin – Has been completed and published with cooperation from Iowa State University (ISU) Extension and the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture.
The publication entitled “Maximizing Profitability on Highly Erodible Land in Iowa” uses the grazing data collected at the Adams County CRP research and demonstration farm and compares six options for land currently in CRP. With high grain prices, going back to row-crops on this land can look like a good option. When the costs of erosion are also considered, however, the best options, even with no-till row crops, shift to keeping this land in grass. The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture cooperated on this project. The publication is available through Iowa State University Extension publications at: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/Publications/CRP22.pdf (CRP 22). It has also been uploaded here.
This project will establish a series of eight power point presentations, with the primary focus to be used by Vocational Agriculture Departments to provide Grazing Management Education to their students. It may also be used by other groups or organizations for staff training or by individual producers. The primary resource for the curriculum is the Pasture Management Guide developed by Iowa State University. A power point presentation will be developed from each of the chapters in the guide: Livestock Management; Managing Pasture Plants; Managing Risk in a Grazing System; Monitoring and Evaluating the Grazing System; Planning for Improvements in the Grazing System. In addition 2 presentations will be developed on fence and water systems utilizing Missouri Watering Systems for Serious Graziers and Missouri Electric Fencing for Serious Graziers respectively. Both publications were produced by Missouri USDA/Natural Resources Conservation Service. There is also a presentation on Body Condition Scoring Beef Cows utilizing a publication with the same name from the Virginia Cooperative Extension Service. The power point presentations will be copied onto CD’s and along with a copy of each publication will be provided to the participating schools.
- Maximizing Profitability on Highly Erodible Land in Iowa CR CONSERVATION RESERVE PROGRAM: ISSUES AND OPTIONS
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
Southern Iowa Forage & Livestock now focuses their education efforts on projects held at other locations. The transfer of knowledge is much greater by taking the information and experience to conferences, meetings, workshops, etc. In 2009 – 2010, activities sponsored by SIFLC reached 1300 people at 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”. It allows people to see directly what works offsite, in the real world. By having this information off-site to producer meetings, it gives them access to new ideas and viable alternates to consider in management decisions.
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