Bobolink Prairie Farms field day will explore benefits of small grains, managed grazing in pasture and row crops system – June 25, near Cherokee

For Release: June 14, 2016

CHEROKEE, Iowa — Discussion of the reasons to consider extending a crop rotation with small grains and cover crops often focuses on the benefits to row crop farmers. But pasture-based livestock farmers can benefit from this kind of diverse crop rotation too, according to livestock and row crop farmer Nathan Anderson.

“Pastures typically have lower production in the August to September timeframe,” says Nathan, who farms with his wife, Sarah, and family at Bobolink Prairie Farms near Cherokee. “Cover crops seeded in August following small grains can provide additional forage at a time when pasture is usually at its weakest, while providing additional opportunities for that pasture to rest and recover.

“In our case, it also lets us continue our pasture improvement efforts to manage and remove cedar trees. By taking our cattle off pasture in late summer or early fall, we let that grass regrow so there is enough dry matter to carry a fire the following spring.”

Nathan and Sarah invite farmers and the public to learn more about these topics at a Practical Farmers of Iowa field day they are hosting on Saturday, June 25, from 2-5:30 p.m., near Cherokee. The event – “Managed Grazing to Improve Pasture and Cropland” – is free to attend and will feature a meal provided by a local caterer. RSVPs are requested for the meal. Please contact Lauren Zastrow, [email protected] or (515) 232-5661, by Wednesday, June 22. The event will take place at 1920 520th St., a few miles northeast of Cherokee.

The field day is sponsored by Cherokee County Soil and Water Conservation District, Green Cover Seed and Super D Ag.

The day will begin with a discussion about growing small grains within a conventional row crop system, followed by details on the family’s continuing pasture improvement work. Attendees will get to take a pasture walk, and learn about opportunities small grains offer, such as growing diverse cover crops and the ability to move cattle from pastures onto cropland to graze – a practice that provides forage while improving soil quality.

Nathan and Sarah will also discuss cover crops and matching livestock genetics to the pasture environment. David Weisberger, with the Department of Agronomy at Iowa State University, will discuss small grains research.

Nathan, Sarah and their family raise corn, soybeans and cattle, as well as some small grains and hay. They work to grow their cattle herd while improving grazing management and incorporating cover crops and other conservation practices. The Andersons value opportunities for farmers and friends of farmers to meet, share, learn and grow.

From the intersection of IA Hwy 3 and County Road M10 in Cherokee County: Drive 1 mile north on Co Rd M10; then turn west on 520th Street and drive 0.5 mile. The building site will be on the south side of the road.

All field days feature farmer-led discussions and farm or field tours, and many feature local foods and potlucks. Details are in Practical Farmers’ freshly printed “2016 Field Day Guide,” available at practicalfarmers.org, or for free in print. To request a guide by mail, call the PFI office at (515) 232-5661.

Practical Farmers’ 2016 field days are supported by several sustaining and major sponsors, including: Albert Lea Seed; Applegate Organic & Natural Meats; Center for Rural Affairs; Featherman Equipment; Grain Millers, Inc.; Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance; Iowa Beef Center; Iowa’s Center for Agricultural Safety and Health (I-CASH); Iowa Cover Crop; Iowa Environmental Council; Iowa State University Department of Agronomy; ISU Extension and Outreach; ISU Graduate Program in Sustainable Agriculture; Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture; Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES); MOSA Organic Certification; National Wildlife Federation; Natural Resources Defense Council; North Central Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE); Organic Valley – Organic Prairie – CROPP Cooperative; RIMOL Greenhouse Systems; Riverside Feeds, LLC; Soil First; The Yield Lab; Trees Forever; Wallace Chair for Sustainable Agriculture; Welter Seed & Honey Co.; and Willcross Soybeans.

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Practical Farmers of Iowa strengthens farms and communities through farmer-led investigation and information-sharing. Our values include: welcoming everyone; creativity, collaboration and community; viable farms now and for future generations; and stewardship and ecology. Founded in 1985, farmers in our network raise corn, soybeans, livestock, hay, fruits and vegetables, and more. To learn more, visit http://practicalfarmers.org.

Contact:

Nathan and Sarah Anderson | Bobolink Prairie Farms | (515) 708-5199 | [email protected]

Tamsyn Jones | Practical Farmers of Iowa | (515) 232-5661 | [email protected]