Getting a Grazing Plan Together

Chris D. Teutsch, UK Grain and Forage Center of Excellence

“Failing to plan is planning to fail”, Alan Lakein

Drought Proofing Your Grazing System

Chris D. Teutsch
UK Grain and Forage Center of Excellence at Princeton

NRCS-Based Cost Share Programs

By Adam Jones, USDA-NRCS Kentucky Grazing Specialist - We all want to set up a grazing operation just like we see at field days and hear about at cattleman’s meetings and grazing schools, but addressing natural resource concerns while improving grazing practices can often cut into our profits. Fortunately, several USDA Farm Bill programs offered through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provide opportunities for financial assistance to restore and improve the grasslands in your operation.

Environmental Concerns with Grazing

By Amanda A. Gumbert - With the many challenges of managing an agriculture operation, environmental concerns often fall low on the priority list. However, incorporating a few key practices can help ensure animal health, improve soil resources, and protect water quality. In addition, these practices can be included in a KY Agriculture Water Quality Plan and help farmers comply with environmental regulations.

Dealing with Wet Pasture Conditions

Wet pasture conditionsMuddy, wet pastures are a common scene in Kentucky.  In order to keep soil and forage damage to a minimum, it is important to take the proper actions to protect them during these wet periods. Livestock traffic on wet pastures can cause soil compaction and can damage the roots and crowns of plants.

Minimize and Reduce Soil Compaction

Soil compaction is a common problem that many producers face but that is often overlooked. Significant soil compaction can also reduce forage yields and slow forage establishment which, in the long run, costs money. Management practices can be used to reduce and correct this problem while improving soil conditions. 

How to Limit Damage to High Traffic Areas

High Traffic Area pads are a management option to reduce soil disturbances on any farm that is home to livestock. Heavy use pads are made using geotextile fabric under a 4 to 6 inch base layer of No. 3 or 4 gravel, topped by 2 to 3 inches of dense grade. These pads are about a third of the cost of concrete, but require regular maintenance and the addition of gravel over time. High traffic area pads reduce wheel traffic damage and soil compaction caused by tractors associated with winter feeding.

Pasture Walk: Big Spring Farm

Greg Brann, owner and operator of Big Spring Farm, held a pasture walk on October 17, 2014 at his farming operation in Adolphus, Kentucky which is located on the Kentucky/Tennessee border. Around 120 people from Kentucky, Indiana, and Tennessee were in attendance at this event. His operation is 320 pasture acres and he has a diversified herd of 55 beef cows, 275 sheep, and 2 donkeys. He has several additional acres in the CREP program to help protect the streams, wildlife and prevent erosion.

Knob Lick Farms Grazing System

Bill Payne, of Stanford, Kentucky owns and operates Knob Lick Farm. In the past, Bill ran a drylot dairy with his father but now custom raises dairy heifers. After his father retired, Bill decided to disperse the dairy and beef herd. Bill aspired to change to a business which would provide more free-time than the dairy offered.

Farm Highlight: Landis Farm

Landis FarmThe Landis farm, owned and operated by Jim and Baker Landis, is a 120 acre farm which raises beef cattle with a pasture based system. The Landis’s use a rotational grazing method which Jim explains has allowed him to increase livestock numbers while providing better quality forage.