Grazing 2013: How It’s Going

The grazing season is in full swing and so far things are much better than last year. Just had Jess Jackson, grazing specialist  from Fairfield, Iowa, out to the farm and he confirmed things look great. We’ve had rain, but not too much rain, unlike to the west (Des Moines) or to the northeast  (southern Wisconsin). I’ve got 60 cows on 35 acres, and moving them once a day. They eat half the grass available and trample the rest, thus getting carbon and worm food back into the soil.

The balance I’m trying to strike is between excellent animal performance (giving them more selection and a larger area each day to graze) versus the benefits of what high-density grazing does to the land (more trampled grass and more concentrated manure/urine per unit of land). In the end, I want good-looking cows but I also want land fertility to constantly increase while not spending money on equipment, fuel or labor. I don’t mind thinking hard, but if I can limit my labor, increase fertility and grass through cows I don’t own then I’m on the right track to being a part of changing the face of agriculture, especially here in corn-fed Iowa.

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