Published Aug 20, 2010

Doug Gunnink and Gearld Fry in Southeast IA

By Kevin Dietzel
On July 23, over 50 graziers visited three farms in southeast Iowa near Bloomfield with accomplished graziers Doug Gunnink and Gearld Fry. The following day, Doug and Gearld visited three more farms in the Williamsburg/Kalona area with a smaller group of graziers.
Doug Gunnink talked about raising good quality forages in Virgil Knobloch’s pasture.
A next generation grazier listens intently to Doug.
Virgil Knobloch’s cow herd.
Virgil’s pastured hogs.
We stopped for a lunch break at the Maibach Family’s farm.
Hats came off for lunch.
Back to work! The Maibach boys and Doug Gunnink try to herd a bull into the working pen.
Gearld Fry demonstrated linear measurement on several animals, including this dairy cow. He also showed several things to look for when evaluating animals for their potential to perform on grass.
Next, we went to Ben Ray Yoder’s farm and got a hay ride from his two teams of horses.
This is Ben’s ‘mob’ grazing their newest paddock.
And this is what the previous paddock looked like after a one-day grazing period.
Ben and his brother-in-law Ezra have 70 additional acres of grass that they will be using for custom grazing. Right now this mare and her foal have the run of it.
After the pasture walk, we came back to the house where this crew had cranked up some delicious ice cream for us to eat with homemade pie. Mmm tasty! Especially after a hot, humid day in the sun.
The next day (Saturday, July 24th), we started out at Chris Eichhorn’s rented pasture, where Gearld Fry talked a lot about genetics and animal selection.

We had a good intimate group and a lot of great discussion and questions for Gearld, Doug, and Chris.

Chris’s kids did the real work of herding this calf.
On Saturday, we also visited Linda Grice’s where we saw her pastures and her cow herd. Gearld demonstrated linear measurement on some of Linda’s heifers.
We ended the day at George and Steve Schaefer’s farm near Kalona. We walked one of their pastures, saw their cow herd briefly, and sat in the grass while having a discussion with Doug Gunnink and Gearld Fry about pasture management, soil fertility, forage quality, animal selection, genetics, and more. I must have been tired, because I did not get any pictures at Linda’s or the Schaefers’ farms!