Low Stress Cattle Handling Workshop rescheduled for April 12 in Salina, Low Stress Ranch Tour set for May 3 at Olsburg

5 03 2014

The Salina workshop and Olsburg Ranch tour complete the grand finale of the Amazing Grazing Series of Educational Events. The rescheduled workshop will be offered April 12, 2014 at the Ramada Hotel & Conference Center, 1616 W. Crawford St. in Salina, KS. On May 3, two Olsburg ranches will highlight working facilities that utilize low stress methods to quietly and effectively process cattle, sheep, and goats.

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, back-grounding, stocker and feedlot operations.

Dr. Lynn Locatelli of Cattlexpressions is a student of renowned animal handling expert Bud Williams. Dr Locatelli 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.

Registration begins at 8:30 with a welcome at 9:00 AM, followed by “Understanding Cattle Behavior in Order to Modify Our Behavior and Effectively Communicate with Cattle,” then “Bud Williams Low Stress Cattle Handling Concepts and Techniques for Cattle Movement.”

“Managing Cattle Movement During Grazing” takes the group into lunch, which is followed by “Cow-Calf Production Event Management and Calf-Formative Behavior,” “Weaning, Acclimation and Transition Management, “Processing and Shipping Facilities Design, Trouble Shooting and Effective Use,” and Wrap-Up, Questions, and Evaluations at 4:00 PM.

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 and can be done by going to http://www.kansasgraziers.blogspot.com, or by downloading a registration form and mailing it to the address given. For questions, or for folks with no email to register, please call Mary Howell at 785-562-8726.

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.

Information is located at http://www.kansasgraziers.blogspot.com. Registration is $15.00, which includes lunch. Please register online or download a mail-in registration form. For questions, or for folks with no email to register, call Mary Howell at 785-562-8726.

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2014 Annual Winter Grazing Conference – “Grazing and Soil Health”

26 01 2014

SALINA, KS – This year marks the 15th anniversary of the Kansas Graziers Association (KGA) along with the 2014 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.

Presentations during the conference will focus on grazing thoughts during the uncertainty of drought, soil health demonstrations, the benefits of using cover crops for soil health, the benefits of grazing cover crops, and how to select cover crop species.

The conference will feature David Kraft, NRCS state rangeland management specialist; Chad Remley, NRCS state soil scientist; Candy Thomas, NRCS state agronomist; and Kris Etheridge, area resource conservationist. The conference will also feature producers sharing their experiences grazing cover crops.

A new feature of this year’s workshop is an invitation to participants to submit any “Good, Bad or Otherwise Ideas” that have been tried that other graziers can learn from. Conference organizer Mary Howell shares, “The beauty of KGA 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 or notebook-type fashion, or as a ‘short’ presentation to the group. If you have something to share, please contact Mary Howell at kfu.mary@gmail.com so she can organize the exchange. Howell adds, “Graziers have many great ideas and inventions to make our jobs easier. Let’s share what we know, this could be really fun! 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. For food planning, please note on your registration form if you plan to attend the social.

Pre-registration for the day is $50.00. At the door: $60.00. You can also register online at http://www.kansasgraziers.blogspot.com or 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, 785-823-1791.

Conference sponsors are the Kansas Graziers, Kansas Farmers Union, Kansas NRCS, Kansas SARE, Kansas Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Alternative Crops, Kansas Grazing Land Coalition, with funding from North Central Risk Management Education Center, USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.





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

26 01 2014

McPherson, KS– 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. Producers can register on the Amazing Grazing blog at www.kansasgraziers.blogspot.com to indicate the number of people and the day chosen to attend. Questions can go to kfu.mary@gmail.com or 785-562-8726.

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.





Jim Gerrish Grazing Workshops to Focus on Improved Productivity, Profitability and Personal Satisfaction

26 01 2014

McPherson, KS- Internationally known expert on forage livestock systems, Jim Gerrish of American GrazingLands Services LLC, is returning to Kansas for two 2-day workshops on grazing management as it applies to the livestock business from October 28-31, 2013.

Gerrish has 20 years of systems research and outreach experience as a faculty member at the University of Missouri, as well as many years of commercial cattle and sheep production. University of Missouri’s Forage Systems Research Center rose to national prominence as a result of Gerrish’s research and leadership. His research encompasses many aspects of plant-soil-animal interactions and provides a foundation for many of the basic principles of management intensive grazing.

When asked why livestock producers might wish to attend the workshop, Gerrish replied, “More than ever, you need to be in control of your operation. Cows are lousy business managers. Don’t leave the critical management decisions up to cows. They don’t care whether you make a dime or not. Your job is to create a ranch environment where the cow can be the best cow she can be.” Gerrish went on to say, “You need to manage the business side of the ranch and not try to do the cow’s job for her. If you don’t understand what that means, then you really need to attend this workshop.”

The workshops will be held October 28-29 at Ramada Hotel, Salina, KS from 9:00 AM-4:00 PM and October 30-31 at Pratt Community College, Pratt, KS from 9:00 AM-4:00 PM. Cost of the workshop is $80.00 which includes handouts and food. Attendees are responsible for their own lodging. These 2-day workshops are an extremely “sweet” deal as grazing workshops with experts typically cost much more.

Each two-day workshop will include information and discussion on the following topics: Grazing Basics 101 for Improved Plant Performance, Cattle Management 101, To Hay or Not to Hay, and Designing Grazing Systems including fencing and water development.

Mary Howell, conference organizer, highly recommends ranchers attend. “Producers will gain an understanding of plant growth, extending the grazing season, matching calving season and animal performance to available forage resources and the environment,” Howell said. “One afternoon will be spent on fencing and water development; the two most limiting factors in grazing possibilities. Jim shares with producers his abundant knowledge and experience he has gained from extensive travel working with ranchers everywhere.” Howell noted, “We are very fortunate to offer this opportunity for such an affordable price. Plan to attend, learn how plants, animals, and grazing all fit together; feel free bring your questions.”

Funding for the Gerrish workshops was provided by the North Central Risk Management Education Center, the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture,  His events are always well attended with producers leaving with a different way of looking at why they do things the way they do, and perhaps exploring ways they can reduce work and increase profits. Partners for the grant are Kansas Farmers Union, Kansas Graziers, NRCS, Kansas Grazing Land Coalition, and Kansas Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Alternative Crops.  For more information and registration visit: kansasgraziers.blogspot.com or contact Mary Howell at kfu.mary@gmail.com or 785-562-8726.





Hays Tour to Focus on Short Grass Prairie Grazing Research for Cattle Producers

26 01 2014
McPherson, KS– Kansas ranch managers and livestock producers are invited to the Short Grass Prairie Grazing Basics and Research Tour, September 17, 2013 at the K-State Western Kansas Agricultural Research Center, 1232 240th Ave. Hays, KS 67601.

Keith Harmoney, KSRE Range Research Scientist, and John Jaeger, KSRE Beef Cattle Scientist, will be hosting the tour, which will show producers ways they can cope with two of their greatest challenges: drought and input costs. For producers who would like to have some early season grazing, but not annual cereal crop, the perennial cool-season grasses can fill that niche.

Grass production and persistence are two key traits to consider when making a decision on what grass to plant. For producers who want to feed less hay in the winter time, stockpiled native grass for winter grazing can help reduce winter feed costs. How to measure the stockpiled grass to estimate how many days of grazing are available from a winter pasture will be demonstrated.

Because of the long drought that has been prevalent in the western and southwestern part of the state, many producers are interested in the effects of early weaning. Recent rains have provided some relief, but most areas of western Kansas are still well below average rainfall for this growing season, not to mention still coping with the deficits from the prior two growing seasons.

“This field day will help producers see what they might expect from implementing early weaning in their operation and how young calves respond to early removal from the cow. Early weaning is one of the most practical ways to lighten the pressure on native pastures that need to gain some vigor,” said Keith Harmoney.

To learn about grazing in the Central Kansas Short Grass Prairie area, producers are invited meet at the auditorium. Registration starts at 8:30 A.M. with the Field Day running 9:00 a.m. thru mid afternoon. Cost for the day is $20.00 which includes lunch and handouts. For more information, and to register, visit kansasgraziers.blogspot.com. For questions contact Mary Howell at kfu.mary@gmail.com or call 785-562-8726.

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





Livestock Water and Fencing Workshop Set for September 10

26 01 2014

McPherson, KS – Mark Green, NRCS Specialist, from Missouri will return to Kansas to offer his popular workshop on electric fencing and livestock watering options September 10, 2013 in Abilene, KS. The workshop will be held at the Abilene Civic Center, 201 NW 2nd Street. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. and program lasts until 4:00 p.m. utilizing an indoor classroom and outdoor fencing demonstrations.

Water availability is the number one limiting factor for grazing possibilities. The addition of electric fencing will increase grazing options that can in turn benefit range health, the soil, as well as improve production and profitability.

At the September 10 workshop, Mark Green will demonstrate the latest in electric fence products, the pros and cons of various materials used in electric fence construction and installation techniques. Green will also cover livestock watering topics: water distribution for improved grazing distribution, permanent and portable tanks, above and below ground pipeline, and water sources-wells, streams, springs and ponds. Producers always enjoy his cowboy humor and expertise from years of experience. Mark states “I believe that folks in my line of work should gather information that works and pass it on to the ranchers I work with. What makes me different is that I am not selling anything; I am sharing the ideas I have seen visiting many ranches. Even little things can make a big difference. I will relay what works; as well as things to avoid in water and fencing.”

Mark Green has been with USDA NRCS since 1981. He currently is an instructor and regional coordinator for the SW Missouri Regional Management Intensive Grazing Schools, and has worked with grazing management in SW Missouri for 32 years. He is a member of the American Forage and Grassland Council and is a board member for Missouri Forage and Grassland Council.

Cost for the workshop is $20.00, and includes lunch and two publications on fencing and water development. Please RSVP reservations to: kansasgraziers.blogspot.com or for questions contact Mary Howell at kfu.mary@gmail.com or call 785-562-8726.

Sponsors are the Kansas Graziers, Kansas Farmers Union, Kansas SARE, Kansas Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Alternative Crops, with funding from North Central Risk Management Education Center and USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.