Thursday, May 07, 2009

Can't Miss Field Days

**This post comes a few hours late courtesy of more fence building on the farm. Hopefully we are done for a couple days.**

The 2009 Practical Farmers of Iowa Field Days are up on their website right now and the schedule should be in the mail soon to all the members, but I had to go and check them out. It looks like another great set of events that should be a help to all of those that take the time to attend. I know that I won't be able to make it to all of the field days that I want to attend, but below are the ones that I'm going to try and work into my schedule:
  • Getting Started Grass-Feeding Beef (June 1st): This event takes place near Keystone, IA at the Wallace Farm. It is a 160 acre farm that has been converted from commodity crops to a diverse pasture based system. There will also be a woman from ISU talking about the cost of production.
  • Making $ense of Meat Marketing (June 22nd): Mike Lorentz of Lorentz meats will be there along with a few other Iowa farmers discussing pricing, distribution, and placement among other things. Hopefully I will be able to make this one!
  • Rise and Shine Farm Tour (July 11th): Taking place at the Tjelmeland farm this field day will cover their egg business, transition to organic row crops, and some discussion of prairie reconstruction. The bonus is that it also includes an egg breakfast.
  • Strip Tillage, Living Mulches & Pasture Walk (July 29th): On the surface this one might not have as much interest to me because of our farm goals. But, I am interested in the pasture walk and I especially want to attend because the Abels family who is hosting the event attended the first church I worked at!
  • Completing the Cycle - Soil Health to Finished Animal (August 21st): This one seems interesting because their will be a pasture walk, a look at cattle mob grazing, and a herd dog demonstration. I know there are people on either side of the herd dog discussion, but it is something I'm interested in learning more about.
  • Water, Cattle & Organic Transition (August 29th): At the Grice Family Farms field day it sounds like there will be some interesting stuff to learn about cattle paddock systems and water systems. Plus, I'm always interested to hear about the ideas behind organic transitions.
  • High-Density Grazing & Transitioning to Pasture Profitably (September 10th): Holistic management, high-density grazing, transitioning row crops to pasture, grazing recordkeeping, and multi-species grazing. This sounds like a can't miss! Hopefully it works into my schedule.
If you would like to check out all of the field days that are available this year just head of to the PFI website (link above). Hopefully some of you get a chance to get out to one of these great events or at least to a field day near you.

1 comment:

Rich said...

There are a lot of subjects that look pretty interesting in most of those Field Days, I haven't found anything similar to these types of field days locally.(I need to start looking harder) Personally, I would like to see a mob grazing operation firsthand so I could figure out all the little details that always seem to be left out of most explanations.

The grazing warm-season annuals (sorghum, sudangrass) discussion in the Getting Started Grass-Feeding Beef (June 1st) also looks pretty interesting. You can grow an awful lot of sorghum during a hot summer, but grazing it without worrying about killing half the cattle is the part I'm interested in.

Did you notice that the High-Density Grazing & Transitioning to Pasture Profitably(September 10th) has an organic pasture-based hog operation in the description of the farm (I wonder if it is included in the Field Day discussions)?

I'm looking forward to reading your accounts of the field days you attend.

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