Join us at Plew Farm, a diversified livestock farm owned and operated by Kevin and Patti Plew, for a pasture walk and ice cream social. The Plew’s will share with us how they manage all of their livestock – beef, pigs and poultry – on pasture and are utilizing rotations grazing principle.
[Past- Middlebury, VT October 18, 25, November 1, 8, 2018]
10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m
The fee is $40 which includes The Art and Science of Grazing book by Sarah Flack. This class is for farmers who currently own livestock and want to create, improve or expand their pasture management system.
Want to change from confinement or set rotation to management intensive grazing?
Have a grazing plan, but want to better understand how to implement it?
Need grazing infrastructure (e.g. fence, water, animal trails) and would like to design a system that may qualify for NRCS financial assistance?
Pasture plant identification of common species, looking at favorable growth conditions, and how plants respond to grazing impact.
Pasture nutrition and how it can affect grazing behavior and overall intake and animal performance.
Grazing management concepts such as measuring dry matter availability, determining paddock sizes, stocking rate versus stocking density and overall acreage requirements.
Soil health in pasture systems and the benefits of soil, forage and manure testing to understand nutrient cycling and nutrient management within pasture systems.
Pasture system design to determine infrastructure needs and management techniques to avoid overgrazing damage, decreased carrying capacity and other negative impacts.
Grazing record keeping systems and the benefits of monitoring and documenting activities
In addition to 4 class dates, there will also be opportunity for one-on-one consultation.
Thursday, June 14th – 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
353 Route 2 , South Hero, Vt 05486
Join us for a grazing field day at Islandacres Farm in South Hero. Grazing consultant Sarah Flack and Cheryl Cesario of UVM Extension will lead a pasture walk with farmer Steve Robinson of Islandacres. Steve and his family are transitioning their 70-cow dairy to management-intensive grazing. They have seeded down 60 acres to perennial pasture as a way to mitigate the risk of annual cropping systems. We will look in-depth at this newly designed system and hear about the benefits and challenges of a transition to grazing. Discussion on grazing topics will be from both the plant’s and the animal’s perspective. With help from NRCS funding, this farm is investing in fence, animal trails, and a water system for efficient grazing to maximize the land base. Islandacres has been a top quality milk producer for 30 years with a focus on animal health and production. Come see how they are adopting these new management practices!
Focusing on Agriculture in the Champlain Valley and BeyondBy Jeff Carter. This season’s challenges and ways to move forward.
News, Events & Info You Should Know Agricultural Conservation Highlights Tour; NMP Updates; Mock Inspections; Business and Ag Support for You; New Grazing Class; No-Till and Cover Crop Symposium.
What Do I Do Now? RMA Update By Jake Jacobs. Coping with weather unpredictability by planning ahead.
Demonstrating Success: Corn Hybrid Trials By Kirsten Workman. Corn hybrid trials were a successful way to see what shorter season hybrids might be paired with cover crop adoption.
Newsletter Feature – Grazing as a New Management Practice By Cheryl Cesario. The process of adopting grazing management seen through one farmer’s experience. Also – new grazing class to teach you how to develop a grazing plan!
Managing Slugs Begins in the Fall By Rico Balzano. Making decisions now to manage slugs next year.
Helping Farmers Adapt to a Changing LandscapeBy Nate Severy. UVM Extension and the Champlain Valley Farmer Coalition are working together to provide farmers with valuable insights for adaptive management.
When farmers are considering grazing as a new management practice, or want to change or improve an existing system, there are many questions from both the animal perspective and the land perspective: Is this going to work? Will my animals like it? What will this look like? How will I do it?
These are all reasonable questions, which are not easily answered in a one or two-hour farm visit. I find the most successful grazing systems develop when there is farmer involvement in the planning process, and the farmer has a good relationship with a service provider and other farmers who can answer questions and share ideas.
This fall we will start offering a new grazing management course for farmers who want to learn about the benefits and challenges of grazing – from both economic and environmental perspectives. Each farmer will develop a plan specific to their operation which takes into account their
farm goals. The class will meet once per week over the course of a month, and each farmer will receive a copy of Sarah Flack’s book The Art and
Science of Grazing as the course textbook and helpful future reference. Outside of class, one-on-one farm visits will provide additional support
as new practices and strategies are implemented on the ground.
Here is a sampling of what the class will cover:
• Pasture plant identification of common species, looking at favorable growth conditions and how plants respond to grazing impact.
• Pasture nutrition – how it can affect grazing behavior, overall intake, and animal performance.
• Grazing management concepts such as measuring dry matter availability, determining paddock sizes, stocking rate versus stock
density and overall acreage requirements.
• Soil health in pasture systems and the benefits of soil, forage and manure testing to understand nutrient cycling and nutrient management within pasture systems.
• Pasture system design to determine infrastructure needs, and management techniques to avoid overgrazing damage, decreased
carrying capacity and other negative impacts.
• Grazing record keeping systems and the benefits of monitoring and documenting activities.
Eligible farmers will be able to use the grazing plan they develop in class to apply for USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) funding opportunities to help cost-share a variety of grazing practices. However, new infrastructure alone will not create improvements. Achieving healthy pasture ecosystems requires an understanding of the relationship between the soil, the plants and livestock grazing behavior. A clear goal and a plan based on plant and animal needs are essential for success. We anticipate the course will run from mid-October to mid-November, with up to 12 hours of classroom and planning time. If you are interested in participating, or want to know more, please contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org; (802) 388-4969 x346
Successful grazing plans can include laneways to reduce mud and erosion, as seen in photos before installation (above left) and after (above right). Stream crossings and water tubs eliminate animal impact on surface waters (below).