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With good management, grass farming can compete

Agriculture.com Staff 08/28/2006 @ 9:54am

A recent field day and pasture walk was designed to address drought conditions faced by Midwest livestock producers, and the event turned into a showcase for the benefits of good grazing management. The "Options to Overgrazing" field day and pasture walk was held August 24 at the CRP Research and Demonstration Farm in southwest Iowa, near Corning.

The farm is used to demonstrate how grass farming can compete economically with row crops and CRP on highly erodible land. Intensive rotational grazing systems were established in 1991 on land that is 9-14% in slope. Topics studied on the farm include forages, fertilizer, fencing, water, rotational grazing and weed control.

"You could have played golf on this grass a couple weeks ago," said Mike Olive, herdsman for the farm. Olive manages 200 head of cattle for three different herds on the farm. The herd featured in the field day consisted of 33 cow-calf pairs grazing 57.3 acres in 11 paddocks. Stocking rate was increased by three pairs in each of the last two years. Rate of gain on the calves was 2.08 lb/day, down slightly from last year's 2.18 lb/day.

"After a dry year, we were planning a field day for a terrible drought," said John Klein, NRCS project manager. But, rains in August sped recovery of pastures that had been managed for years under intensive grazing management.

Take a tour of the farm and see how grazing management practices can help mitigate drought conditions.

A recent field day and pasture walk was designed to address drought conditions faced by Midwest livestock producers, and the event turned into a showcase for the benefits of good grazing management. The "Options to Overgrazing" field day and pasture walk was held August 24 at the CRP Research and Demonstration Farm in southwest Iowa, near Corning.

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