Pasture evaluation, recovery workshops set for April

WHITING‑Cattlemen across much of Kansas are in a quandary. As grass managers, they are asking themselves how many cattle their ranges and pastures will support after 20-30 months of drought. What steps can be taken to protect the grazing resources while maintaining enough cattle numbers to be financially viable? Will we get enough runoff to fill the ponds?

The Kansas Rural Center and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service have teamed up to lead producers on four “pasture walks” during the first week of April to help grass managers evaluate the impacts drought has had on pasture conditions and to plan grazing strategies for the coming season.

A NRCS rangeland management specialist will lead the sessions that all begin at 1:30 p.m.

Tim Miller will lead the first session April 1 in Pottawatomie County with Dennis Schwant as host. From Blaine, travel 2.8 miles east on state Highway 16 and 1.8 miles south on Clear Creek Road.

The final session, April 4, will be in Coffey County at David and Jan Kraft’s ranch located two miles west of Gridley. David Kraft, NRCS state rangeland management specialist, will be the session leader.

Other sessions will be April 2 in Reno County and April 3 in McPherson County.

Evaluation of plant composition and vigor will be a focus of each session along with soil moisture analysis for planning grazing strategies through the 2013 growing season. Alternate forages and condition of livestock water supplies will also be discussed.

Kraft emphasizes to producers that “the beginning of the growing season in early April is one of the critical dates to make stocking adjustments that will maintain or improve your native pastures during the ongoing stress of drought conditions.”

He advises that participants should be prepared to be in the field for hands-on exercises.

For more information, contact Dale Kirkham at 620-344-0202, email [email protected], the KRC office at 785-873-343, or visit the KRC website www.kansasruralcenter.org.

Submitted by Osage County Conservation District.

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