Grazing is the most cost-effective way for producers to feed ruminant animals.
Each year, the University of Kentucky College of Agriculturehosts two installments of the Kentucky Grazing School to help producers become better managers of their grazing systems.
The first installment is April 17-18 at the UK Research and Education Center in Princeton.
The school begins 7:30 a.m. and ends at 5:30 p.m. CDT each day.
Past participants have included everyone from new farmers to experienced grazers, and all have received new information and practical skills to implement in their operations.
The school will cover grazing information specific to Kentucky and focus on spring and summer grazing options.
A unique feature of the program gives participants the opportunity to design a grazing system based on their property.
Organizers ask that participants bring a printed aerial map of their farm to the school. Maps are available through the local Farm Service Agency or online through Google Maps.
Participants will visit field sites and tour demonstration plots.
During the first day, they will work in groups to install a rotational grazing system including assessing pasture yield and setting up small paddocks. Cattle will then graze the paddocks.
On the second day, they will observe the grazed paddocks and hear reports from each group.
In addition, UK College of Agriculture specialists in forages, beef cattle, dairy cattle and veterinary science will present a variety of topics ranging from determining stocking rate to preventing animal disorders.
A grazing lands specialist from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Servicewill discuss available cost-share programs, and a representative from a fencing company will share fence-building tips.
Local producers will share their experience and management practices using rotational grazing.
Pre-registration is necessary, as the school is limited to the first 45 registrants. Applications are available online at the UK Grazing website at http://www2.ca.uky.edu/grazer or through the county offices of the UK Cooperative Extension Service.
Registration is $50 and includes all materials, grazing manual, breaks and lunch for both days.
Checks should be made payable to the Kentucky Forage and Grassland Council. Checks and the registration application should be mailed to Land Dale, 176 Pasadena Drive, Lexington, Ky. 40503.
Co-sponsors include the Master Grazer Educational Program, Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund, UK College of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Kentucky Forage and Grassland Council.
Information on the second installment of the Kentucky Grazing School will be available at a later date.
(You might also be interested in Wheat looks to be a good winter grazing option for Kentucky cattle).