Saturday, September 08, 2007

Quality Pasture :: Chapter 5 Book Report

The title of this chapter is, "Quality Pasture For Warm-Temperate And Subtropical Climates". The title kind of sums up the lack of real practical application information I found in this chapter. I don' think you could call Southern Iowa "Warm-Temperate" or "Subtropical" unless you were comparing it to Northern Iowa!

But, there was still plenty of information for me in this chapter. One of the more interesting things that had me thinking was the section of this chapter that discussed the profitability of a seasonal dairy. This was interesting not because I'm interested in starting a seasonal dairy, but because the article that I linked to a few days ago about the farmer quitting mentioned that in order to survive you will need to have a year round dairy. Now, Allan Nation was speaking of seasonal dairies in the south and the author of the previous article was in the north, but it is still an interesting counterpoint. Most pastured dairy information I have read focused on the benefits and profitability of a seasonal dairy. I think the biggest problem with the farmer that was having to shut down is that he took himself so far into debt to get his operation up and running quickly. Maybe if he had taken more steps his end would not have come.

Much of the rest of the chapter deals with different pasture forages that can be used in the south for year round grazing, but it does emphasize that you will still need to have mechanically harvested forages even in the south. Even though the weather is warmer down there you still will have a fall slump before the winter cool season forages get going.

I am thoroughly enjoying this book mostly because it is increasing my knowledge (little by little) and it is giving me a sense of what is possible on a farm ... specifically on a smaller farm. I think there are great opportunities in Iowa for someone who is willing to study their pastures and and really become grass farmers instead of the old standard row crop farmers!

The next chapter is on pasture irrigation. It will be interesting to see what that is all about, but what I'm really looking forward to is chapter 7 about Management Intensive Grazing. Stay tuned!

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