The Adams County CRP Research and Demonstration Project
The objective of the Southern Iowa Forage and Livestock Committee (SIFLC), which was established in 1989 as a cooperative effort between area farmers, local business people, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Iowa State University (ISU) extension, Rural Economic and Community Development (RECD), and Farm Services Agency (FSA), is to demonstrate an economically feasible and environmentally sound alternative to row crop production on highly erodible marginal land, regardless of whether the current land use is CRP, cropland, or pasture. We are demonstrating and implementing grazing systems and forage production on highly erodible marginal land as an alternative to row crop production. Education of landowners and operators, business people, students, and government agency personnel are key to this project.
SIFLC demonstrates management-intensive grazing using beef cattle as an alternative to row crop production. The project consists of a farm in southwest Iowa currently enrolled in CRP made of class IV land with a CSR average of 34. Three different grazing systems established on the farm utilize contour lane systems to move cattle and reduce erosion in the lanes, high-powered New Zealand-style electric fence and several types of watering systems. The fence is powered demonstrating the use of solar power and REC Hi-Line. Four different water systems are demonstrated on the farm: gravity flow, electric pumps using solar and REC Hi-Line, and cattle powered “nose” pumps. This farm demonstrates concepts that producers can use to implement intensive grazing systems on their land. ISU furnishes cow/calf pairs and “stocker steers” for the grazing systems. These cattle are utilized to demonstrate economic profitability verses row crop production. Forage interseedings and their benefits have been of special interest to farmers. We have been able to demonstrate the economic and environmental benefits gained. Producers can put this information to work through the use of our Great Plains No-Till Drill that is made available in Southern Iowa to rent for interseeding and establishment.
The information created by this project is disseminated to our target audience through field days, county level pasture management meetings, open houses, grazing seminars, farm tours, speaking engagements, annual reports, and articles in newspapers, trade magazines, and scientific journals. Our two-day Grazing Clinic held in June of each year is important because it is the only seminar of its kind held in Iowa. Participants attend gaining knowledge from the classroom as well as seeing and participating with a “hands on” approach at the demonstration farm. We are aware of 24 who have adopted the grazing system technology on their farms. These producers have divided their land into three or more paddocks. The majority have been divided into five or more. They have experienced an increase of cattle gain per acre as well as requiring less herbicide to control weeds.
North Central Region 1998 Annual Report.