Wintering Livestock | March 4, 2017 | Verndale, Minn.
SFA hosted another edition of its short course on Wintering Livestock on March 4 at Seven Pines Farm, 18618 County Rd. 23, Verndale.
At the workshop, SFA Livestock & Grazing Specialist Kent Solberg led a farm tour reviewing low-cost wintering techniques for layers, hogs and cattle. Attendees toured hoophouse structures for layers, a deep-straw system for hogs, low-cost housing for sows, outwintering via bale grazing for cattle, windbreak options and cold weather watering systems, and more.
Grazing Management Workshop | Dec. 8, 2016 | Bagley, Minn.
SFA Livestock & Grazing Specialist Kent Solberg spoke at a free grazing management workshop hosted by Clearwater County SWCD Dec. 8 at the American Legion in Bagley.
Kent’s presentation focused on innovative forage and pasture management that has helped Minnesota farmers increase farm productivity and profitability: soil health, pasture renovation, forage management, cover crops, livestock integration, and more.
Soil Health & Grazing Field Day | Sept. 29, 2016 | Pine City, Minn.
Fencing, percolation testing, and forage measurement was among the topics covered during a free Soil Health & Grazing Field Day on Sept. 29 at Pinederosa Farm in Pine City as part of SFA’s Soil Health Network event series.
Wright County Extension’s Rod Greder, who hosted the event with support from NRCS and Pine County SWCD, said the 35 attendees learned other grazing management best practices like using hogs to renovate pasture, the results of soil microbe additive trials, SWCD no-till drill availability and EQIP program details. Kent Solberg, SFA Livestock & Grazing Specialist, and John Zinn of NRCS (above) helped lead the demonstrations.
NEFGC Summer Tour | Sept. 8, 2016 | Meadowlands, Minn
As part of SFA’s Soil Health Network event series, Carlton County Extension hosted its Northeast Minnesota Forage and Grassland Council summer tour on Sept. 8 at the Bob Durovec farm in Meadowlands, Minn.
According to SFA Livestock & Grazing Specialist Kent Solberg, who attended: “Bob runs a low-input grazing and forage-based dairy. He milks 160 cows in a low-cost swing parlor. All stored forages are put up as baleage. He supplements pasture or baleage with approximately 17 pounds/cow/day of purchased grain. He utilizes a number of annual and perennial forages for grazing and baleage that he has found to work well on his farm including Italian ryegrass, sorghum x sudangrass, grazing corn, purple top turnips, and Winfred hybrid turnip in addition to permanent pastures. With this system he has been able to maintain profitability while other dairies have been struggling with recent low milk prices.”
Dirt Rich: Building Soil Health Experts | Aug. 16-17, 2016 | Redwood Falls & Marshall, Minn.
SFA hosted a two-day event featuring Dr. Allen Williams, “Dirt Rich: Building Soil Health Experts,” Aug. 16 in Redwood Falls and Aug. 17 in Marshall, where attendees spent time with soil health experts digging deeper into soil health opportunities, challenges, and monitoring.
The Aug. 16 program included a trip to the award-winning Grant and Dawn Breitkreutz farm to view implementation of a complex cover crop blend and integration of livestock into a cropping system, as well as reviewing soil health monitoring tools and complex cover crop blend seeding.
The Aug. 17 program included a trip to the Allen Deutz farm reviewing his work with cover crops and livestock integration, as well as innovative fencing techniques to provide livestock access to crop land.
The event was sponsored by The Pasture Project and NCR-SARE as well as Prairie Creek Seed and Albert Lea Seed.
‘Three Crops in Two Years Field Day’ | Aug. 10, 2016 | Corcoran
A winter rye application at Daryl and Lori Patnode’s dairy farm was in focus at the recent “Three Crops in Two Years” field day, held Aug. 10 at Patnode Dairy in Corcoran as part of SFA’s Soil Health Network event series.
A crowd of nearly 30 farmers and ag professionals heard Daryl and son Andrew Patnode discuss their experiences with winter rye and the forage it had produced for their dairy herd.
Also, Glen Borgerding and James Schroepfer of Ag Resource Consulting led a conversation about how the right cover cropping system can lead to increased farm profitability, while event organizer Karl Hakanson of U. of M. Extension discussed his observations about the Patnode cropping project.
To download a PowerPoint file with photos and details tracking the Patnode’s winter rye planting, click here.
Organic Dairy Day | Aug. 9, 2016 | Morris, Minn.
Around 60 people attended the recent Organic Dairy Day, held Aug. 9 in Morris as part of SFA’s Soil Health Network event series.
At the event, Dr. Bradley Heins of the U. of M. West Central Research and Outreach Center and Guy Jodarski discussed integrating livestock and cover crops, as well as dairy cattle health. They detailed a project that grazed winter wheat and rye, and discussed the results.
“People were very interested in the idea of grazing winter wheat/rye in early spring and using cover crops for grazing and for improving soil health,” Heins said.
One attendee wondered why the project planted winter wheat and winter rye instead of triticale, which is known to lignify slower than winter wheat and winter rye; it was then discussed that winter wheat and winter rye are the most available cover crops for seed in the Midwest and have the best overwinter survivability. Further, rye has great survivability and highest tonnage when compared to triticale and spelt, but one risk is a narrow harvest window.
For more upcoming SFA Soil Health Network events, as well as other soil health resources, visit our Soil Health Portal.
Forage Council Tour and Podcast | July 14, 2016 | Wadena, Minn.
Nearly 100 people attended the Crow Wing River Basin Forage Council’s summer tour July 14 at Ivan and Dayle Reinke’s Cloverleaf Grass Farm in Wadena. According to Ivan, the rain stopped just in time for the presentations, which included forage and cow/calf pair management, improving stand densities, how livestock control weeds, temporary electric fences, and more.
Also, Jeff Duchene of NRCS used a rainfall simulator to illustrate runoff, erosion, and water infiltration in different crop and pasture land uses.
“There were plenty of questions asked and talked about during the tour,” Ivan said. “During the meal there was a lot of knowledge sharing and fellowship in the crowd.”
To hear a podcast including Ivan Reinke and SFA Executive Director John Mesko, click here.
The Forage Council is an SFA Networking Group. For more information, visit its homepage.
Big Stone County Buffer Meeting | June 1, 2016 | Clinton, Minn.
Sixty people attended Big Stone County SWCD’s SFA Soil Health Network event on June 1 in Clinton that focused on soil health and Minnesota’s upcoming buffer law.
Blayne Johnson, of NRCS of Ortonville, organized the meeting and said he was very happy with the high attendance.
“Several producers took the time to sit and visit with us reviewing their properties as it pertains to the new buffer map,” he said. “We discussed their farming operation goals and what options the SWCD can provide including CRP, haying and grazing, etc. They were very interested to know their options and what they can and can’t do in order to comply with the new law.”
Advanced Grazing Workshop with Dr. Allen Williams | May 26-27, 2016 | Menagha, Minn.
By Kent Solberg • SFA Livestock & Grazing Specialist
Thirty-five producers and two agency personnel attended SFA’s two-day Advanced Grazing Workshop in May 2016 with Dr. Allen Williams in Wolf Lake, Minn. Participants learned about how grazing influences soil health, the advantages of well-managed ruminant livestock on soil health, and adaptive high-stock-density grazing. The workshop consisted of classroom instruction coupled with field demonstrations on how to apply the knowledge to their farm operations.
Dr. Williams, a two-time speaker at our Midwest Soil Health Summit, is a champion of the grass-fed beef industry as well as a leader in cutting edge grazing methodology.
SFA Cover Crop Design Workshop | March 25, 2016 | Perham, Minn.
A full house of 20 people attended this free workshop for livestock, dairy and crop producers interested in integrating cover crops and livestock into their operations at Lakes Cafe, 136 W Main St, Perham. This event discussed designing cover crop blends to improve soil health and produce livestock feed.
Registrants brought a field photo or map of one field in which to integrate cover crops, cropping and herbicide records for the past four seasons for that field, and a wi-fi enabled laptop or tablet computer so that experts could coach attendees through designing a custom cover crop blend.
Deep Roots Short Course: Wintering Livestock | March 5, 2016 | Verndale, Minn
There are volumes of information on pasture rearing livestock. However, what do we do with these critters when winter comes to Minnesota?
SFA Deep Roots Farmer Development Program addressed this issue during a new short course, “Wintering Livestock, on March 5 at Seven Pines Farm, 18618 County Rd 23, Verndale, Minn.
SFA Livestock & Grazing Specialist Kent Solberg led a field tour covering cattle outwintering, windbreaks, hoop structures for chickens and hogs, and principles of low-cost livestock wintering on his farm.
Past Soil Health Event Archives
- 2015 – Redwood Falls, Mankato, Blue Earth, Marshall, Verndale
- 2014 – Bale grazing at Sturgeon Lake with video; 30-inch roots in Verndale
- 2013 – Winter Grazing at Breitkreutz & Reinke farms