A Local Pasture-Based Beef Production System for Northwest Michigan
For the year 2013 we conducted a combination of demonstrative research, conducted 18 on-farm visits conducted one grazing school and solicited mini-grant proposals which will be awarded this spring, 2014. Overall we have summarized two years of grazing performance and lack demonstrating a leader-follow system for the second year. Pertaining to our intensive grass-finishing system with irrigation, steers had an average carcass weight of 660 pounds yielding $1640.00/hd with and average kill date of November 15th, 2013 (18 mo mean age) and average last rib back fat of .31 inches, ribeye area of 11.2 inches with an average quality grade of Slight 80 or high select. The leader-follow system was much less performance-oriented. These steers finished one month later with a comparable backfat, but unfortunately had a 575 lb carcass weight and returned a gross income of $1445.00 per head.
This years objectives were primarily demonstrative and education oriented. We have met this year’s performance targets by hosting grazing schools, conducting on farm visits along with our demonstrative research. We have lost two producers from the 20 originally recruited for the grant. As well, we have collected 80% of the presurvey material including ideas, attitudes and beliefs towards grazing and grass finishing.
- Completed one Grazing School along with collecting initial survey information.
- Performed and collected data on demonstration trial comparing two grass-finishing methods.
- Conducted 18 farm visits along with collecting forage and soil data
- Conducted a RFA for producer mini-grants which will be evaluated
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
First, as the project director, I have had more fun working with the group of producers and have them interactively involved with the activities of our research center. One opportunity I had this year was to discuss system resiliency including our pasture-based model as the keynote speaker for the MI Small Farm Conference, which had over 800 people in attendance. An important outcome we have identified, I believe, is that through focus group discussion, our producers most enjoy interacting and learning with each other which was an outcome we were not anticipating. By in large, for us, it is somewhat early to project if we have met the short term outcomes in our grant.
555 W. Cedar Ave
Gladwin, MI 48624
Office Phone: 9894267741
Grazing and Crop Management Educator
301 West Upton Street
Reed City, MI 49677
Office Phone: 2318326139
Michigan State University
Natural Resources Building
480 Wilson Road, Room 310A
East Lansing, MI 48824
Office Phone: 5174320293
Meat Quality Extension Educator
1142 S Van Dyke, Suite 200
Bad Axe, MI 48413
Office Phone: 9892699949