Published Aug 27, 2010

Grazing the Bottoms

By Kevin Dietzel
Do domestic grazing animals have a place on conservation lands? This is what a project at the Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt in Polk County is seeking to answer. Graziers are contracted to bring animals onto the land during the summer, and scientists are taking measurements to determine the impact of the animals on the vegetation and animal life.

Above is the pasture where Bruce Carney’s cow herd grazes for the summer. Several weeks after this picture was taken, the whole pasture was underwater and the cows had to be removed by cutting out a section of the fence and herding them up the levee.
Field day attendees were driven around the park.
Deb Finch (owner of the goats) and the goats’ protector.
Norm McCoy enticing the goats to strut by.

We all went over to Bruce and Connie Carney’s farm later. These folks are intently listening to Bruce tell us about the mix he seeded into this pasture.

Derek Carney demonstrates a rising plate meter for measuring the amount of standing forage.

And here Derek demonstrates how easy it is to move the steers into the next paddock. It seems like Derek does all the work around here.

The Carneys’ steers enjoying their fresh paddock.

It seems some people needed to cool off in the stabilized creek crossing (cost shared through CRP).