Articles on forages, animals, and grazing systems
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Extension Forage Specialist
University of Kentucky
Phone: (859) 257-3358
Fax: (859) 323-1952
The Tweaking Your Grazing System Educational Program was held on May 10, 2014 in Monroe County. Thunderstorms were threatening, but didn't stop producers from attending the grazing program. Experienced producers as well as young and beginning farmers attended this program. During the morning session, participants were in the classroom where UK Specialists and the local agent (Ken Johnson) gave presentations covering various grazing topics. Participants asked questions, and discussed how different things work or don't work for their system. The participants seemed to enjoy the math section that will help them accurately calculate the stocking rate and carrying capacity of their land. Another interesting recommendation shared was that multiple ground rods are needed for an electric fence system. The recommendation is to have at least three galvanized rods that are six feet in length each, spaced 10 feet apart, and all connected with galvanized wire. Many producers were concerned about having to drive the ground rods vertically into the ground because of the shallow rock layer present on many farms. A sigh of relief came when they learned that this was not the case, just as long as they were all 10 feet apart and completely covered with soil, even if the rods are driven in at an angle.
A great lunch from a local barbeque restaurant was provided. After lunch the group went to local beef producer Jimmy Thompson's farm.
Once at Jimmy's farm, he gave an overview of his farming operation and showed participants his grazing management practices. Specialists gave demonstrations beginning with how to use portable watering system, and where water sources should be placed in a pasture. There were several participants who gave testimonials on their experience with temporary watering systems and what they found that worked effectively, and was cost efficient to install. Many questions were asked about how to get water to pastures where no permanent watering tanks were available and county water wasn't available on the property.
Afternoon demonstrations included visualizing the amount of clover in a field, temporary fencing options, and estimating yield using grazing sticks. The participants worked with specialists to estimate the amount of clover in a field, and many were shocked to realize how a small percentage of clover could appear to be much more than it really was. Participants that had little experience with the temporary fencing materials were impressed with how simple it was to install and uninstall the temporary polytape/polywire and the temporary posts.
It was a very successful program and participants showed interest in having another ‘one day’ grazing field day this fall. The next program will be held in Morgan County June 21, 2014. If attending an event like this interests you, please contact your local extension agent, or the Master Grazer Coordinator, Cody Smith at (859) 257-7512 or firstname.lastname@example.org