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Grazing small grains field day set Wednesday

By Staff | Aug 14, 2015

JEFFERSON – A “Crop Diversity and Grazing Livestock for Soil Health,” a Practical Farmers of Iowa field day, is set from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday at 2443-2499 Neola Ave. in Jefferson.

Bill Frederick, an area farmer will discuss small grains production on a 14-acre field, which includes harvesting the grain for seed.

He will also explain how he plants a diverse cover crop mix on his small grains field in order to provide a forage source for his cattle.

Attendees will observe cattle grazing on this mix which includes: oats, soybeans, forage kale and turnips.

They will also observe forage growth where the cattle have not yet grazed; and learn how this technique provides a rest for permanent pastures while extending the life of the pastures.

“We put our small grains adjacent to our pastures,” said Frederick, who calves about 100 cows and feeds out 150 feeder calves annually. “We then harvest the small grains really early and reseed with a cover crop forage mix.

Because the pasture and cover crop field are right next to each other, the cows can go back and forth as they want.

It’s a cheaper feed source, and the cattle will be able to use it until winter kills off the cover crop.”

In addition to feeding his cattle and extending the life of his pastures, Frederick said small grains also help him tackle several farm management issues at once including reducing erosion, improving water quality and building soil health.

The field day will also feature Jefferson area farmer Scott Shriver, who also grows small grains, and a demonstration of the Green County Soil and Water Conservation District’s mobile soil health unit.

There is no cost for the event which includes lunch, however an RSVP to reserve lunch is required. Contact Lauren Zastrow at (515) 232-5661 or: lauren@practicalfarmers.org by Aug. 14.

Directions: From Jefferson, head about 10 miles south on state Route 4.

The field is on the east side of the highway, one-half mile north of the Guthrie County line, between 330th and 340th streets.

The field day is sponsored by Greene County Soil and Water Conservation District and Niman Ranch.

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