7.22.2014

Ranch Management for Successful Winter and Year-Round Grazing of Beef Cattle to be held August 13-14 in Topeka


SAVE $10 WITH EARLY BIRD REGISTRATION!  Ends July 31st!

McPHERSON, KS - Dr. Jim Gerrish, well-known rancher, researcher, grazing educator, and 
co-founder of the Missouri Grazing School returns to Kansas this August to kick off Amazing Grazing II for Ruminants Both Great and Small. The two-day workshop entitled "Ranch Management for Successful Winter and Year Round Grazing of Beef Cattle" will be held from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM August 13-14, 2014 at Topeka Ramada, 420 SE 6th St. Topeka, KS.

Better management of ranch resources leads to increased performance of the grass and forages, and Dr. Gerrish will help producers make better choices for their pasture situation. Many ranchers are currently being forced to de-stock due to drought conditions and lack of forage. Ranch managers will learn valuable grazing information and management skills that will improve production and profitability.

When asked why a producer should attend this meeting, Gerrish replied, "Winter feed costs are generally the biggest determinant of profitability in the cow-calf business, but they don't have to be.  This workshop will get you well down the road to planning for and implementing year-round grazing on your farm or ranch." 

Gerrish continued, "Throw off the hay addiction shackles of iron and oil and feel the freedom of grazing in the grass. We will explore alternatives for extending the grazing season in different environments, effectively grazing winter range and pasture, as well as livestock selection and management to make sure the cows work for you, rather than you working for your cows."

Topics to be covered include: extending the grazing season, managing and planning for successful winter grazing including nutritional requirements, using winter annuals, effectively utilizing winter pastures for animal performance, managing animal costs, and how calving date effects profitability.

Program Director Mary Howell reports, "Amazing Grazing II was written specifically to address many of the issues livestock producers keep asking for. Two days spent with Jim will be well-worth the time and money invested." Howell goes on to say, "Ranch managers will learn valuable grazing information and management skills that will improve production and profitability of their livestock enterprise."

Cost for the workshop is $90.00, which includes lunch and handouts.
Register online HERE.
Download the Mail-In Registration Form.
Please contact Mary Howell at kfu.mary@gmail.com, or call 785-562-8726. A block of rooms is being held at the Topeka Ramada, call 785-234-5400. Please check the website often for other upcoming events, and to sign up for our news as it happens.

Along with Kansas Farmers Union and the Kansas Graziers Association, Amazing Grazing II partners include: Kansas NRCS, Kansas Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education, Kansas Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Alternative Crops, Kansas State Research and Extension, Farm Credit, and the Kansas Grazing Land Coalition, with funding from North Central Extension Risk Management Education Center and USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

7.01.2014

Amazing Grazing Funded for Second Year of Programming


Kansas Farmers Union (KFU) is pleased to announce it has received a second grant from the North Central Risk Management Education Center to fund Amazing Grazing II for Ruminants Great and Small.

“The North Central Risk Management Education Center is dedicated to funding projects that help producers learn and adopt effective risk management practices and strategies. This project promises to help livestock producers manage current challenges from drought to land costs, implement effective strategies including managed grazing, and position their
operations for success,” said Brad Lubben, Director of the NCRMEC.

Amazing Grazing II provides educational and networking opportunities to assess and manage production, market, legal, financial, and human risk. Target participants include producers of small and large ruminant livestock, ranchers considering managed grazing, those exploring to possibly diversify production, and producers seeking value added or direct marketing their meat, fiber and dairy products.

The program enables producers to improve their understanding of grazing management, water development, fencing, lowstress handling, and biological control of invasive species. Other topics include areas of personal/business liability, emergency management planning for natural disasters and value-added/direct marketing opportunities.

Amazing Grazing II Programming includes two conferences, two 2-day intensive events, seven full-day workshops, and several hands-on learning opportunities across the state. The project will tap both Kansas experts and nationally-known educators to assist producers in enhancing grazing management.

The grant is a collaboration with the Kansas Graziers Association (KGA), a grassroots producer organization formed in 2000 to support Kansas ranchers with educational activities including workshops, tours and networking opportunities. “The beauty of this group is the way in which members share their experiences and wisdom with each other–the good, the bad, and the different,” explained Mary Howell, KGA Board Secretary and KFU Member Specialist.

“We’re extremely excited to organize and offer this high quality programming, with the cream of the crop speakers” stated Howell, who will serve as Project Director. “The upcoming speakers and very worthwhile activities are open to anyone involved in the livestock and ranching industry. Stay tuned for dates and details.”

The Extension Risk Management Education Program, funded by the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), provides training to help producers learn new strategies to manage complex and growing agricultural risks. The program’s goal is simple – help farmers and ranchers manage risk. NCRMEC awards grants through a competitive application and review process. For 2014, NCRMEC will fund 17 full projects and 7 exploratory projects totaling approximately $724,000 from the submitted proposals.

“Kansas Graziers is just the neatest group of people. Nowhere else do I see a group like this that just wants to learn and to share their experiences. There isn’t politics or religion involved. There aren’t social classes; I often see some of the state’s largest ranchers shooting the breeze with hobby ranchers. It’s just a pleasure to be a part of, and everyone is welcome to join in. I’m really happy that Kansas Farmers Union can offer the livestock producers of Kansas availability to these great resources through administration of this grant, especially as drought management affects our management decisions more all the time,” said Donn Teske, KFU president.

Amazing Grazing project collaborators include Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition, National Resources Conservation Service, Kansas State Research and Extension, and Kansas Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Alternative Crops, Farm Credit Services and Kansas Graziers Association.

See the Amazing Grazing II Event Calendar for a preview of events.

3.04.2014

Olsburg Ranch Tour to Highlight Low Stress Livestock Handling

Two Olsburg ranches will highlight working facilities, on May 3, that utilize low stress methods to quietly and effectively process cattle, sheep and goats. The tour highlighting low stress handling will begin with registration at 9:30 a.m. at the Edwards Ranch, 15225 Dry Creek Road, Olsburg. The working facility designed by Bill, that he can operate alone, will be demonstrated starting at 10:00.

 A catered, noon picnic lunch will be served at the Joseph Hubbard Barn, 5025 Highway 16, Olsburg.  Joseph raises sheep and goats and has designed and will demonstrate the facility using Bud Williams philosophies for low stress, small animal handling.

 Alan Hubbard is one of the first ranchers in Northeast Kansas to adopt Rotational Grazing (MiG, Management-intensive Grazing). Alan will present his lessons learned with cattle handling and grazing management.  The tour will then resume to the low stress facilities designed to work in sync with livestock psychology and behavior to minimize stress and improve safety to both the animals and the rancher. The tour should conclude by 4:00 p.m. 
Registration is $15.00 and includes lunch. Please register online here.  For questions or folks with no email to register: Call Mary Howell at 785-562-8726.

This tour is the last “Amazing Grazing” event sponsored with funding from North Central Risk Management Education Center, USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.  Partners include the Kansas Farmers Union, Kansas SARE, Kansas Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Alternative Crops, Kansas Graziers, Kansas NRCS, and Kansas Grazing Land Coalition.

Low Stress Cattle Handling Workshop, April 12th, with Dr Lynn Locatelli, DVM

This workshop, part of the Amazing Grazing Series of Educational Events, will be offered April 12, 2014 at Ramada Hotel & Conference Center, 1616 W. Crawford St. in Salina, KS. 785-823-1791.

People’s interaction with livestock can have either a negative or positive impact on animal
health, performance, and subsequent handling ease. Cattlexpressions Low Stress Cattle Handling Workshop will explain how to reduce stress on animals and their handlers during several critical points: cow-calf, backgrounding, stocker and feedlot operations.

Dr Lynn Locatelli of Cattlexpressions is a student of renowned animal handling expert Bud Williams. Dr Lynn began her veterinary career in Benkelman, Nebraska after graduating from UC Davis, and has 19 years of experience in both large animal veterinary practice and consultation. She educates many by private consultation and as a national and international speaker at veterinary seminars and cattleman’s conferences. She resides in Watrous, New Mexico.

PLEASE PLAN TO JOIN US FOR THIS VERY INFORMATIVE WORKSHOP!
8:00 Registration
9:00 Welcome
9:05 Understanding Cattle Behavior in Order to Modify Our Behavior And Effectively Communicate with Cattle
10:00 Bud Williams Low Stress Cattle Handling Concepts and Techniques for Cattle Movement
11:00 Managing Cattle Movement During Grazing
12:00 Lunch
1:00 Cow-Calf Production Event Management and Calf-Formative Behavior
2:00 Weaning, Acclimation and Transition Management
3:00 Processing and Shipping Facilities Design, Trouble Shooting and Effective Use
4:00 Wrap-Up and Questions, Turn in Evaluations

Everyone has a little different opinion about what low stress animal handling means. Plan to attend this Low Stress Cattle Handling session to learn cattle handling techniques that will improve cattle health, well being, performance, handler safety and profitability in your operation.

Registration for the day is $25.00. You can register online or download a registration form and mail it to the address given. A block of rooms for $52.00 is reserved at Salina Ramada, 785-823-1791.

12.24.2013

Low Stress Cattle Handling Workshop, February 8th, with Dr Lynn Locatelli, DVM

POSTPONED
 Due to poor current weather conditions and additional forecasted storms for later in the week, the Low-Stress Cattle Handling Workshop has been postponed.
We're working with Dr. Locatelli to select another date later in the spring.
Check back for updates, or better yet, use the sign-up box at the right to get Amazing Grazing Project news.
Thanks!


This workshop, part of the Amazing Grazing Series of Educational Events, will be offered February 8, 2014 at Ramada Hotel & Conference Center, 1616 W. Crawford St. in Salina, KS. 785-823-1791.

People’s interaction with livestock can have either a negative or positive impact on animal
health, performance, and subsequent handling ease. Cattlexpressions Low Stress Cattle Handling Workshop will explain how to reduce stress on animals and their handlers during several critical points: cow-calf, backgrounding, stocker and feedlot operations.

Dr Lynn Locatelli of Cattlexpressions is a student of renowned animal handling expert Bud Williams. Dr Lynn began her veterinary career in Benkelman, Nebraska after graduating from UC Davis, and has 19 years of experience in both large animal veterinary practice and consultation. She educates many by private consultation and as a national and international speaker at veterinary seminars and cattleman’s conferences. She resides in Watrous, New Mexico.

PLEASE PLAN TO JOIN US FOR THIS VERY INFORMATIVE WORKSHOP!
8:00 Registration
9:00 Welcome
9:05 Understanding Cattle Behavior in Order to Modify Our Behavior And Effectively Communicate with Cattle
10:00 Bud Williams Low Stress Cattle Handling Concepts and Techniques for Cattle Movement
11:00 Managing Cattle Movement During Grazing
12:00 Lunch
1:00 Cow-Calf Production Event Management and Calf-Formative Behavior
2:00 Weaning, Acclimation and Transition Management
3:00 Processing and Shipping Facilities Design, Trouble Shooting and Effective Use
4:00 Wrap-Up and Questions, Turn in Evaluations

Everyone has a little different opinion about what low stress animal handling means. Plan to attend this Low Stress Cattle Handling session to learn cattle handling techniques that will improve cattle health, well being, performance, handler safety and profitability in your operation.

Registration for the day is $25.00. You can register online or download a registration form and mail it to the address given. A block of rooms for $52.00 is reserved until January 19, 2014 at Salina Ramada, 785-823-1791.

2014 Kansas Graziers Association’s Winter Grazing Conference set for January 25th in Salina

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the Kansas Graziers Association and the Annual Winter Grazing Conference. “Grazing and Soil Health” is the focus of this year’s winter conference including a component on “The Value of Cover Crops”. This workshop, part of the Amazing Grazing Series of Educational Events, will be offered January 25, 2014 at Ramada Hotel & Conference Center, 1616 W. Crawford St. in Salina, KS.

The conference will feature three Kansas NRCS specialists; David Kraft, state range specialist, Chad Remley, state soil scientist, and Candy Thomas, state agronomist. The conference will also feature producers sharing their experiences grazing cover crops.

A new feature of this year’s workshop is an invitation to everyone to submit any “Good, Bad  or Otherwise…Ideas” that have been tried at your ranch that graziers can learn from. I have always said, “The beauty of Kansas Graziers Association is that we so openly share and learn from each other. We don’t have enough time or money in life to make all of the mistakes ourselves!” Ideas will need to be displayed as the actual genius grazing device, in a poster, notebook type fashion, or a ‘short’ presentation for the group. If you have something to share please contact Mary Howell at kfu.mary@gmail.com so she has an idea of how to organize the exchange. Graziers have many great ideas and inventions to make our jobs easier. Let’s share what we know. This could be really fun! There may also be some prizes awarded for winning ideas. Please plan to join us for a very educational and as always enjoyable day.

Kansas Graziers will host a social at Conference Headquarters in the Atrium starting at 7:30 P.M. Friday, January 24, 2014. All graziers are invited to attend and enjoy the networking, snacks and refreshments. Please note on your registration form if you plan to attend the social, for planning food.

Early Registration for the day is $50.00 by January 20. After that, or at the door, $60.00. Click here for online registration. You can also register by mail by downloading a registration form and mailing it to the address given. A block of rooms for $52.00 is reserved thru January 20, 2014 at Salina Ramada, 785-823-1739.

10.23.2013

Fall Forage Tour: Carry More Cattle by Acquiring More Land OR by Making the Land You Have More Productive?

Cattlemen and producers are invited to the Fall Forage Tour, Friday, November 1 and Saturday, November 2, 2013. The tour will begin at 1:00 p.m. on both days at the Dale Strickler Farm, one mile south of Courtland on the west side of the highway.

Two audiences will benefit from participation in the Fall Forage Tour–cattle producers and those interested in utilizing cover crops to improve soil health. The tour will focus on improving soil productivity through the use of cover crops, forages, and perennial grasses.

According to Strickler, ranchers have two options to increase cattle carrying capacity. They can choose “Horizontal Expansion” by acquiring more land–and more debt–or they can improve existing pastures through “Vertical Expansion.” Vertical Expansion increases the cattle carrying capacity by both expanding the root zone and increasing plant bio mass. Strickler advocates expansion of the root zone through the use of selected cover crops and enhanced soil biology.

Soil and plant roots tell the story of how managed grazing, re-growth, and rest effect not only the top growth of grasses but also their roots. To illustrate this, Strickler will dig a soil pit at his farm’s Eastern Gamagrass site permitting attendees to walk down into it and closely examine the roots and the soil beneath the grass. Dale will explain what is happening at the site so that ranchers can see for themselves that increased root depth results in elevated organic matter levels and improved biological activity in the soil. Expanding the root zone by managing the grazing has the potential to increase the land’s carrying capacity.

At the cabin site, ranchers will have the opportunity to view 27 varieties of cool season cover crops. Most varieties are solo seeded to see the effects of soil tolerances. Five different soil types exist at this location: Calcareous, eroded, poorly-drained bottom ground, well-drained bottom ground and saline sodic. Participants will see Eastern Gamagrass, Grazing Alfalfa, Low Alkaloid Reed Canary Grass, Dale’s Cover Crop Test Plot, Brown Midrib Forage Sorghum Sudan, Tropic Sun Non-Toxic Sun Hemp, Bird’s Foot Trefoil, and frosted warms season residue as well as many other legume, forage and grass varieties.

Dale Strickler, a former Agronomy Instructor at Concordia’s Cloud County Community College, is a Cover Crop and Forage Specialist for Star Seed and is passionate about soil health.

There is no registration fee, but RSVPs are requested to indicate the number of people and the day chosen to attend.





Click here to download the event flier. 

Questions can go to kfu.mary@gmail.com or 785-562-8726.

Examples of key take-aways from the Fall Forage Tour include:
There are two methods to carry more cattle on your ranch...
Method 1: Buy a bigger ranch.
Method 2: Improve the productivity of your current ranch.
Note: We will NOT be discussing Method 1 at this event!

_________________________________________________________________________
What carrying capacity & weaning weights can be achieved with optimum management?
Is it possible to graze 12 months a year and eliminate feeding hay? 
Is it possible to have more production and profit from grazing crops with animals than harvesting the grain?
__________________________________________________________________________
Tour includes Dale’s Cow/Calf Operation and the following forages:

  • Eastern Gamagrass
  • Cover Crop Test Plot
  • Grazing Alfalfa
  • Bird’s Foot Trefoil
  • Tropic Sun Non-Toxic Sun Hemp
  • Low Alkaloid Reed Canary Grass
  • Brown Midrib Forage Sorghum Sudan
  • Many other forage & grass varieties

The Amazing Grazing Project is a collaborative effort of the following sponsors: Kansas Graziers Association, Kansas Farmers Union, Kansas SARE, Kansas Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Alternative Crops, Kansas Grazing Land Coalition and NRCS-KS with funding from North Central Risk Management Education Center and USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.