Generate More Beef Profits With Year-Round Grass

NDSU offers course on how to better match grass and forage to cattle all year long.

Published on: Oct 28, 2011

A 12-month pasture and harvested forage management planning workshop designed for livestock producers, land managers and natural resource students will be held on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, January 3-5, 2012 in the Red Red Office Building at the North Dakota State University Dickinson Research Extension Center in Dickinson, N.D.

The workshop will run from 1 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday. Dickinson is i the Mountain time zone.

The workshop instructors are Lee Manske, DREC range scientist, and Toby Stroh, Dickinson State University assistant professor of agriculture and ArcGIS instructor.

"The workshop will scientifically address the persistent livestock problem of high production costs and low profit margins resulting from the asymmetrical mismatch between the quantity of forage nutrients required by modern, high-performance cattle and the quantity of forage nutrients provided from traditional forage management practices," Manske says. "This mismatch causes cattle performance and land resource productivity to be at less than potential levels."

During the workshop, each participant will learn how to develop and properly operate a biologically effective management strategy with twice-over rotation grazing on summer pastures in conjunction with a complete 12-month complementary pasture and harvested forage sequence specific for his or her ranch.

"These science-based management strategies meet the nutrient requirements of livestock during each production period, meet the biological requirements of grass plants and rhizosphere microorganisms, increase the quantity of forage nutrients produced, improve the efficiency of forage nutrient capture, and improve the efficiency of conversion of forage nutrients into saleable animal weight commodities," Manske says. "These biologically effective 12-month management strategies generate greater new wealth from the land's natural resources without depleting future production."

Participants have the option to design a 12-month forage management strategy for their operation during the workshop or later. To design pasture and harvested forage management strategies specific to individual ranches during the workshop, maps with each pasture and field for the entire land holdings, including owned and leased land, need to be made and acreages of each soil type in each parcel of land need to be calculated prior to the start of the workshop. A crew of ArcGIS mapping specialists can compile this information electronically for participants. Location descriptions of land holdings will need to be provided to the specialists one month prior to the workshop to give the specialists sufficient time to develop the maps.

Information related to the workshop material is available at www.GrazingHandbook.com.

Lodging, transportation and most meals are the responsibility of the participants. There is a lab fee of $25 per person to cover the costs of supplies, refreshments each day and a working supper on the second day. A three-volume set of textbooks is available for $75. The ArcGIS map set will cost $75 for an average-sized ranch.

An option for professional development with 1 or 2 graduate credits for this continuing education course is available from NDSU at a cost of $50 per credit. Participants will supply their own calculators and notebooks.

Registration is limited. Participants requesting ArcGIS maps to be developed for their ranch must register before Dec. 7. For workshop information or to register, call Manske at (701) 483-2348, ext. 118, or email lewellyn.manske@ndsu.edu.

Source: NDSU Extension Communication