Wednesday, December 8, 2010

2010 Prescribed Grazing Pasture Walk

Despite the cold 29 degree air and brisk breeze, area high country cattleman bundled up to attend the 2010 Prescribed Grazing Pasture Walk. In attendance were representatives from NRCS, SWCD, NCCES, NCDA, along with cattle producers from two counties. On the agenda was Dr. Jim Green, Grassland & Forage Agronomist with the Department of Crop Science at NCSU.  Dr. Green discussed the advantages of grazing stockpiled forages over conventional hay feeding by placing an emphasis on economics of farming in the high country.

It is estimated that producing hay costs approximately $80/ton, including equipment and fertilization. Hay quality is also a very unpredictable factor that must be considered in the traditional hay feeding regime. Lower quality hay must be supplemented and high quality hay is often times difficult to produce in the mountains. The premise behind stockpiled forages is to reduce the amount of stored feed that a farmer must have on hand.

The recent Prescribed Grazing Pasture Walk illustrated that the concept certainly has merit in this area. With high quality stockpiled fescue under foot (and under snow), one local farmer was able to winter 20+ cow/calf pairs by strip grazing his pastures. Only when the snow turned to ice was he forced to feed stored hay. Even then, he only fed 18 rolls of hay for the entire winter, selling the remainder to other area farmers.

More pasture walks are scheduled for January. Stayed tuned for updates on this ongoing project right here in Alleghany County.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

New Ag Extension Agent

The staff of Alleghany County Cooperative Extension would like to welcome our new Agriculture Extension Agent, Teresa Herman, who joined us on Wednesday, December 1st. 

Teresa began work at Upper Mountain Research Station (UMRS) as a freshman in  college & did everything from breeding cows,  shearing Christmas trees and sheep,  to hoeing and harvesting burley tobacco.   After graduating from NCSU in Animal Science in 1995,  she became the livestock Extension Agent in Forsyth County.  Teresa later returned to NCDA/UMRS as the Livestock Research Technician & worked in various roles ranging from livetock research and husbandry to community supported  gardens.   She remained in that position until offered a position with NCDA/Meat & Poultry Inspection (MPID).  With MPID, she served as an Area Inspector covering roughly 16 counties in northwestern North Carolina. 

Welcome Teresa!