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Practical Farmers sets 2009 pasture walks

By Staff | Jun 5, 2009

Practical Farmers of Iowa has scheduled four pasture walks this summer within the Farm News coverage area. The events are free and open to the public. They include:

  • June 25, 6 p.m. hosted by Robert Pridie, 19323 Dogwood Ave., Akron, in Plymouth County.

Directions: Go four miles Eest of Akron on Iowa Highway 3, then, 2.4 miles south on Dogwood Avenue.

Topic: Organic and conventional beef operations. Managed grazing, Iowa Learning Farm demonstration, grass friendly beef genetics.

  • Aug. 2, hosted by Bruce Carney, 13602 Northwest 96th St, Maxwell, in southwestern Story County.

Directions to Part 1 at Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt Longhouse: From I-35 take Exit 96 for Elkhart, then go east through Elkhart on Northeast 126th Ave. At the T-intersection, turn north onto NE 72nd St., which turns into Northeast 134th Ave. Turn south onto Northeast 80th St.

Directions to Part 2 at the Carney family farm: From Chichaqua, turn east on 134th Ave., go two miles, then left onto Northeast 96th St. The Carney homestead is .25 miles down the road, the first house on the left.

Topics: Part 1, from 1 p.m. to 43 p.m. a tour of Chichaqua Bottoms Wildlife Area. This is the second year of a three-year project to increase biodiversity in two different ecosystems. In the first, limited numbers of cow-calf pairs will graze a fenced section of prairie for three months. Biodiversity surveys will be conducted before and after grazing. The original goal was for animals to help decrease prolific grass species to return the prairie to a more diverse native condition.

After extensive flooding in 2008, the prairie recovery also is being studied.

In the second ecosystem, 40 adult goats will browse in four areas of a nearby oak savanna to reduce invasive buckthorn. Animal body condition scores for adult cattle and goats and calf weaning weights will be used to measure animal health before and after each season.

Part 2, from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. will focus on how as cow/calf pairs graze on prairie at Chichaqua Bottoms, Bruce Carney’s home pastures will have thee months to rest, grow a late-season hay crop and stockpile forage for winter feed. Sward height, available forage and pasture condition scores will be measured at the start, midpoint and end of each grazing period.

Carney rotational grazes his 125-head cow-calf herd. He grows corn, alfalfa, rye, sorghum, sudangrass and oats. Bruce sells his animals through a local locker. He has been farming since 1996.

  • Aug. 11, hosted by David Haden, at 4458 Starling Ave, Primghar in central; O’Brien County.

Directions: 2 miles west of the east intersection of U.S. Highway 59 and Iowa Highway 10 to Starling Avenue, then 2.5 miles north on Starling.

Topic: Beef grazing in an organic cropping system.

  • Sept. 10, at 12 p.m., hosted by the Wilson Family Farm, 4375 Pierce Ave. Paullina in southwestern O’Brien County. A potluck begins at noon and the pasture walk at 2 p.m.

Directions: From Paullina, go two miles west on Iowa Highway 10. Turn north onto Pierce Avenue, go one mile, turn west onto 450th Street – it’s the first place on the north.

Topic s include Holistic management, high-density grazing, transitioning row crops to pasture, grazing recordkeeping and multi-species grazing.

The Wilsons farm 600 acres of organic and transitional crops and pasture. Crops include corn, soybeans, triticale, oats and hay. They have an organic pasture-based hog operation, a multi-species grazing operation with sheep and cow-calf pairs and pasture poultry.

Snacks are provided at all pasture walks.

For more information contact Tom German at (712) 830-3281 or the PFI office at (515) 232-5661.

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