These are challenging times for livestock producers. Dairy farms are struggling with record low milk prices, lots of farmers are having trouble finding enough customers for their hay, and livestock market prices are way down.
In times like these, farmers are always looking for ways to tighten their belts, but they want to continue to be good stewards of the land. Adding a grazing operation, or intensifying one that already exists, can be a great way to reduce farm costs, harvest standing forage crops without running expensive machinery, and improve animal health.
A properly run grazing operation can also improve soil health, reduce erosion, and improve water infiltration when compared with growing an annual crop on the same land.
Granite State Graziers, a statewide organization that provides education and resources for pasture-based farmers, will hold its annual grazing conference on Feb.16 in Concord and will offer intensive workshops on how to manage grass-based dairy and livestock operations. If you’re interested in learning more about these practices and the benefits and challenges grazing operations face you might want to consider attending this conference!
Featured speakers will be:
Kathy Voth, publisher of the website On Pasture https://onpasture.com/ which publishes hundreds of articles a year on grazing, animal husbandry, and farm business management. Kathy is also known for her innovative approach to teaching cows to eat weeds.
Kathy Soder, animal scientist with the USDA-ARS-Pasture Systems and Watershed Management Research Unit, will present her latest research project, in which she is working with grass-fed dairies to develop management and supplementation strategies that complement grazing preferences of dairy cattle to optimize the utilization of mixed-species cool-season pastures of the Northeast U.S.
The full conference agenda of eight separate one-hour workshops will be published shortly, so stay tuned to the Granite State Graziers website for more information - http://grazenh.com/2019grazingconference
Written by: Bill Fosher
NHACD Agronomist for the CT River Watershed Soil Health Initiative