Pasture walk covered feed stockpiling

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HOPEDALE, Ohio — The Carroll Soil and Water Conservation District along with the Natural Resources Conservation Service held the first pasture walk of the season April 4 on the Cliff Miller Farm near Carrollton, Ohio.

Approximately 28 participants attended from Carroll, Columbiana, Harrison, Jefferson and Tuscarawas counties. Miller runs a herd of approximately 25 crossbred cattle.

Not only did his cattle survive last summer’s drought, he also stockpiled forage to sustain his herd through the winter.

Stockpiling

He chose not to make any hay on his farm last year; instead, he stockpiled those fields to use for winter feed.

Normally when stockpiling forage, you would make your last cutting of hay or clip the field in August before fertilizing the field and letting it grow until the late fall or early winter.

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In November, Miller started to rotate the herd twice a day through his stockpiled fields. Those fields provided enough forage to last from November to April 5, although he did feed some hay when the weather prevented him from being on his stockpiled fields and when he was on vacation.

Fortunately, Miller had hay left over from the year before, so he did not have to purchase any additional hay.

Water

One limiting factor to his operation is the distribution of water. Currently, the cattle have to walk a long distance to reach the water source. This leads to poor nutrient distribution and increased erosion along the herd’s travel route to water.

Through the Natural Resources Conservation Service Environmental Quality Incentives Program, Miller will be installing pressurized pipeline and frost-free hydrants to distribute water over the farm.

He will also be installing a heavy-use area to feed hay on when the weather is poor. Some of the water system will be installed this summer.

Another pasture walk will be held on Miller’s farm this fall to showcase the new water system and to look at his stockpiled fields before he begins grazing them.

Scheduled walks

Other pasture walks planned for the area include:

  • May 21, 3:30-5:30 p.m.: Larry and Alice Conkle Farm, 9861 Stroup Road Hanoverton, Ohio.
  • Located east of Hanoverton in southern Columbiana County, this farm has been transitioning from a row crop system to a pasture system since 2002.

    Currently, the farm has 44 beef cows that started calving around April 1.

    Many conservation practices have been installed including access roads, cross fencing and pressurized water lines with portable water tanks.

    Anyone interested in carpooling from the Carroll Soil and Water Conservation District office should call 330-627-9852.

  • June 11, 6 p.m.: Bill and Marty Detweiler Farm, 2067 Bergholz Road N.E., Mechanicstown, Ohio.
  • The Detweilers run a 40-cow, grass-based dairy on a 12-hour to 24-hour rotation on their farm, located just south of Mechanicstown in eastern Carroll County.

    The Detweilers became Certified Organic producers about a year ago. They have worked with Carroll Soil and Water Conservation District to plan access roads, division fences and watering systems.

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