Western Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education
(SARE) Farm Internship Curriculum and Handbook
|Tom and Maud Powell and Michael Moss, Sustainable Farmers, Jackson County, OR.
Technical advisor: Tim Franklin, Jacksonville, OR.
Curriculum advisor: Peter O’Connell, Jacksonville, OR.
Web advisor: National Center for Appropriate Technology, Butte, MT.
The learner will:
- Understand the ecology of pastures and key biological attributes of pasture plants.
- Learn to identify important pasture species.
- Become familiar with grazing systems that build or maintain soil fertility and pasture diversity.
- Learn how to calculate and manage forage production.
- Learn strategies for extended season grazing and winter feeding.
- Learn how to manage hay fields as part of the pasture rotation.
- Biotic diversity
- Functional roles of different plant groups
- Grasses fine, fibrous roots hold and build soil
- Legumes fix nitrogen
- Other plants (chicory) have deep taproots to keep soil open deeper down
- Plant that scavenge and accumulate certain minerals or compounds are important to the health of livestock and wildlife
- Below ground productivity, diversity (more livestock below than above) greater than in annual cropping systems
- Grassland plants and herbivory
- Establishment vs. Improving existing pastures
- Establishment expensive and takes time: tilling, seeding, weed management, no grazing until plants well established
- Drilling or broadcasting / harrowing into existing pastures
- Seasonal growth curve
- How to calculate forage production using small plots
- Warm season vs. cool season species
- Pasture mixes: legumes, grasses, and “weeds”
- Rotational Grazing Systems
Management Intensive Grazing (MIG)
- Some History: Andre Voisin, Allan Savory, Joel Salatin
- Stubble Height: no less than 3-4″
- Rest periods: depend on season
- Labor requirements
- Root production and die-off plays key role in maintaining fertility
- Nutrient cycling:
- Livestock return most nutrients to the soil:
- 70% of what goes in comes out again
- Phosphorous and minerals returned through manure
- Nitrogen and potassium returned through urine
- Manure / compost / compost tea applications
- Timing important
- Good to know what’s in manure or compost
- Recycle winter feed if possible
- Tea cost effective way to cover lots of ground
- Mineral may be required
- Avoid dolomite lime
- Gypsum good for this area (helps increase Ca:Mg ratio)
- Other mineral sources
- Hay production from pastures (spring cutting)
- Hay vs. silage
- Feeding facilities/areas: considerations
- Describe forage plants you would hope to find in a healthy perennial pasture.
- How do you measure forage production?
- Describe nutrient cycling in pastures.
- What is Management Intensive Grazing?
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