Pasture walks give you great ideas


We have had great attendance throughout the summer for the Eastern Ohio Grazing Council pasture walks. The grazing council wants to make sure that we continue this success, so this is to update you on the scheduled pasture walks and to remind you to keep up on your fall pasture management.

Depending on when you get your Farm and Dairy, you might be able to catch the next pasture walk at Brent Nemeth’s farm in Dillonvale, Ohio, Sept. 27.

Nemeth has done some experimenting with different lengths of rest-rotation grazing and will give us his insight.

The evening will also include a tour of Brent’s covered heavy use pad and cattle working facilities, along with some ideas on designing your pasture system to facilitate artificial breeding.

October event

The Oct. 25 pasture walk will be at John McKarns’ cow/calf operation on the Columbiana/Carroll county border.

McKarns is an intense manager of his grass and cattle, and there are a lot of ideas that can be taken away when you visit John’s grazing operation. He has installed pressurized water in the majority of his paddocks, built a great cattle working facility and installed cross fencing to improve his farm.

Also discussed that evening will be alternative feed sources to offset high feed costs and strategies that producers used to help survive the drought of 2012.

Fall management

Fall is a great time of year to look at your pastures and make some management decisions for the upcoming growing season.

We will all be anxiously awaiting the first day we can turn out on green grass in the spring of 2013 as the snow flies this winter. But there are a few things we can do now to help that day come a little sooner.

If it has been several years since you have pulled a soil test, now would be a great time for that. We still have time to add soil amendments such as lime or phosphorous, depending on the soil analysis.

Producers could also use aerial maps while walking pastures this fall to mark areas that may need frost seeded with legumes in February or March.

Although it may be too late to stockpile very much grass for winter feeding, you still have time to find alternative ways to feed hay this winter.

If there are areas in your pasture that need nutrients or more organic matter, that would be a great place to either unroll hay or bale graze.

These are just a few of the management ideas that can be done in the fall. That way, when the snow is deep and the cold wind is howling this winter, you can be inside studying soil analysis and aerial maps to plan for upcoming grazing season.

Should you need assistance with your soil reports or copies of your farms aerial maps, contact your local Soil & Water Conservation District. We would also be happy to make a farm visit to discuss improving your grazing operation.

For more information or directions on the upcoming pasture walks contact your local Soil & Water Conservation District or find the Eastern Ohio Grazing Council on Facebook.

Beth Kruprzak, Columbiana/Mahoning County district conservationist, has put together an outstanding Facebook page to keep you up to date on the latest grazing events and you can check out past events to see what you missed. The address is EasternOhioGrazingCouncil.

I hope to visit with everyone at an upcoming Eastern Ohio Grazing Council pasture walk. Not only is it a great learning opportunity, it is also a chance to socialize with like-minded individuals.

(Pete Conkle is the district program administrator for Columbiana Soil & Water Conservation District. Born and raised in Columbiana County, he assists in managing the family farm near Hanoverton and has worked for the SWCD since 2002. Questions or comments can be sent in care of Farm and Dairy, P.O. Box 38, Salem OH 44460.)

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