• By Todd Luck
  • Posted Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Improving Pastures Field Day Highlights Best Practices and Resources Available for Farmers

N.C. Cooperative Extension, Forsyth County Center and the Forsyth Soil and Water Conservation District highlighted pasture best management practices and pasture evaluation services that it offers local farmers at its Improving Pastures Field Day held at Beth Tucker’s Farm in Kernersville.

Tucker, a farmer who also serves as a Soil and Water Board Supervisor, decided she wanted to improve her pasture in 2018. She gave a soil sample to N.C. Cooperative Extension who sent it to the N.C. Department of Agriculture for testing. It was determined that the pasture was overstocked with cattle, which caused weeds to grow faster than the grass. The cattle were removed, allowing the pasture to rest. Herbicide and fertilizer was applied, but soil tests determined no lime was needed.

The results are a healthy pasture that attendees got to walk through as they looked for different types of grass needed for sustainable grazing.

N.C. Cooperative Extension offers research-based educational information and resources that can help farmers with their pastures. This includes soil testing, through the NC Department of Agriculture, to help determine if a pasture needs to be renovated, restored or revitalized.

“That’s something you need to do ASAP,” Soil & Water Conservationist Jerry Dorsett told the attending farmers because it takes time to see results.

N.C. Cooperative Extension also offers tools farmers can borrow like a soil probe for taking soil samples, a forage probe to take hay samples, an electric fence voltage meter and fault finder, and a grazing stick, which can be used to determine recommended heights to start and how much forage is available for grazing. NC State’s Amazing Grazing team also sales grazing sticks for $10. Farmers can contact April Bowman, Extension Agent for 4-H Youth Development, Livestock, and Forages, who can also acquire the grazing sticks for them.

The project at Beth Tucker's was paid for with a grant from the NC Foundation for Soil and Water Conservation as part of the Improving Pastures Management Program. The program’s goal is to improve pasture management on private lands to ensure pastures are more resilient to future environmental challenges.

Other Improving Pasture Management Program supporters and partners include NC Foundation for Soil and Water Conservation, NC Agriculture Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund, Golden LEAF Foundation, NC Cattlemen’s Association, NC Horse Council, NC State’s Amazing Grazing Program, N.C. Cooperative Extension, NC Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts, NC Farm Bureau, & USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

For more information on N.C. Cooperative Extension’s services for livestock and forage producers, call (336) 703-2855, or email April Bowman at awbowman@ncsu.edu.

Click here to see additional pictures from the event.

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