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Multi-species grazing field day set June 13

By Staff | Jun 4, 2012

MAXWELL – Finding a way to graze cattle that is both profitable and sustainable requires a willingness to experiment, some good cattle genetics and more than a little patience.

Jacob and Sarah Myers have been raising cattle on pasture for more than 10 years and will share their insights on grazing practices, breeding plans and production strategies at a Practical Farmers of Iowa field day, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., on June 13, near Maxwell.

The event, “Pasturing with Patience: A Grazier’s Guide to Getting It Right,” includes supper and is free to the public.

Featured topics will include a discussion of planned improvements to the Myers’ operation, such as fencing and watering design, adding sheep, goats and chickens to the grazing mix, use of existing fences and upgrades needed for multi-species grazing and grass-finishing genetics.

“One of the unique things I’m using in my grazing operation is the old genetics,” Jacob Myers said. “I’ve got some calves on the ground from bulls that were born in the early 1970s.”

He said that one of his goals is to manage parasites in all species using as few chemicals as possible. As part of this effort, the Myerses are working to improve the genetics of their cross-bred commercial herd – primarily through artificial insemination using Angus bulls.

“With the older genetics,” Myers said, “we’re looking to go back to a time when cattle was a more appropriate frame size and needed less grain, so they’re more efficient on pasture.”

The Myerses have 35 cow-calf pairs on 180 acres of rented pasture. The herd is grazed year-round and received minimal supplemental hay this year

The Myerses are working towards grass finishing and designing a direct marketing business. With the expansion of their operation to multi-species grazing, Myers said he’s looking forward to adding free-ranged broiler chickens to the business.

Directions: The Myers’ farm is at 66194 310th St., near Maxwell. From Iowa Highway 210 on the east edge of Maxwell, take 660th Avenue north for one mile to 310th Street. Turn east on 310th Street to the first farm on the south side of the road and use the second driveway.

Practical Farmers of Iowa will host more than 40 field days around Iowa in 2012. All field days are open to the public, and most are free to attend. For the entire field day schedule, visit www.practicalfarmers.org or call the PFI office at (515) 232-5661 to request a 2012 Field Day Guide.

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