By PETE CONKLE
The Eastern Ohio Grazing Council has planned workshops and pasture walks to answer grazing-related questions, share grazing ideas and encourage producers to become more sustainable grazers. Currently, the Eastern Ohio Grazing Council is working in cooperation with Carroll, Columbiana, Coshocton, Harrison, Jefferson, Mahoning, and Tuscarawas SWCDs and the USDA-NRCS to host a grazing workshop or pasture walk every month.
Most of the workshops/pasture walks will begin at 6:30 p.m. After the event, there is a social gathering where attendees can ask questions of the Eastern Ohio Grazing Council members, SWCD personnel or the NRCS folks.
The first outdoor event for 2014 will be held at Straight A’s, in Malvern, April 24. The agenda will include Stephen Boyles from the Ohio State University. Boyles will speak on pasture management and how managing your manure can improve fertility on your pastures. He will also speak on animal handling and facility design, which is his focus at OSU.
Straight A’s will have their Y-Tex ear tag representative on hand to discuss proper tagging, along with the benefits of electronic identification.
Currently the May 22 pasture walk is being planned for a beef operation is Harrison County. The grazing council will discuss how to get started grazing and developing a grazing plan.
The June 26 event will be at a beef operation in Stark County. The topics will address challenges a producer may find when developing a grazing plan — steep slopes, fields that are inundated by floods, and providing water to livestock in remote pastures.
The grazing council plans to be at Harold & Ben Campbell’s beef operation July 17. This commercial cow/calf operation is in Mahoning County. The main talking point of the evening will be the use of summer annuals for grazing and/or stored forage. Dennis Brown, of Byron Seeds, will discuss options in selecting the correct annual to plant.
For the Aug. 28 pasture walk the grazing council will head to the Cavanaugh beef operation in Jefferson County. The Cavanaughs have built a large amount of fence and developed watering facilities throughout their pastures to manage the grazing.
Jeremy Scherf, ODNR Division of Forestry Service forester, will be on hand to discuss the benefits of fencing out woodlots, along with tips for managing timber.
The Swope family, of Columbiana County, will host the Sept. 25 pasture walk. The Swopes have a diverse operation where the main focus is grazing bison, but they also graze sheep and manage laying hens on pasture.
Kevin Swope will lead a discussion on using exclusion fencing to protect and improve riparian corridors which also improves water quality.
To keep updated on the pasture walks, contact your local SWCD or find the Eastern Ohio Grazing Council on Facebook.