Report from the Field

Report from the field... "field day" that is... On Tuesday, there was a great grass-based, management-intensive grazing, field day called "Improving Soil and Pasture through Management-Intensive Grazing." The event took place at Virgil Knobloch's farm near Bloomfield, Iowa.

Practical Farmer's of Iowa coordinated the day, which included an introduction to Virgil's  management-intensive grazing operation and a soil health discussion with Doug Peterson, Iowa/Missouri regional soil health specialist with the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS).  

For Virgil, producing healthy food for his family and community is paramount and it all starts with healthy soil.

Our health is connected to the soil,” says Virgil, who raises organic, grass-fed beef on 580 acres of rotationally grazed pasture near Bloomfield. “We want healthy soils to produce healthy plants for healthy animals – which results in a healthy meal.

Virgil finishes 75 cows a year, moving them through pastures 2 to 5 times per day. He moved to this management-intensive grazing rotation schedule after working with the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) to install fencing and watering systems. He also has pigs and goats, and he pastures them too.

One of the highlights from the day was walking the fields with 35-50 other interested people. We saw Virgil's cobett watering system, discussed the benefits of birdsfoot trefoil combating bloat, and discussed the management of warm v. cool season grasses (check out the next blog for more details).

A few words of wisdom from other field day attendees....

Prefer severe grazing with a longer rest period
— Doug Peterson, NRCS
Manage for what you want
— Bruce Carney, Farmer
The yearlings...

The yearlings...