Oklahoma Beginning Farmer and Rancher Program
2012 Demonstration Sites
Both the horticulture and livestock tracks in the 2012 sessions had their own demonstration sites on the Kerr Ranch. For the horticulture track, the demonstration site was a section of one of the fields in the Cannon Horticulture Plots. The livestock track demonstration site was a separately-fenced portion of the 700-acre ranch.
While the entire Cannon Horticulture Plots serve as a demonstration of the concepts and practices discussed throughout the course, one section of Field A2 was given over specifically to an eight-field organic rotation of the short that might be undertaken by a beginning market gardener.
This figure shows the eight-field rotation...
(Click image to download pdf)
And this slideshow walks you through the plots as they stood in July 2012:
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The livestock programs on the Kerr Stewardship Ranch also use the same principles and practices taught in the course, so in that sense it too is a large demonstration. However, a separate 50-acre subsection of the ranch was used to provide beginning farmers with a model of a practical and affordable pasture management strategy that lowers costs while increasing pasture productivity.
The 2012 livestock interns played the role of the beginning farmers; it was their job to plan and implement a rotational grazing system. That included daily relocation of temporary electric fencing, and planning and routing water lines.
The livestock demonstration area rotated 31 beef cattle heifers (10 heritage-breed Pineywoods and 21 Angus-Senepol cross) and 40 pastured laying hens (a mix of Delaware and Wyandotte). The hens followed a few days behind the cattle, with the idea that the birds would forage in the cow manure for fly eggs and larvae.
The demonstration area operated under a microscope; information was collected on pasture composition, livestock weight gain, fly counts, and parasite numbers.
This figure shows a draft sketch of the pasture plan...
...and this slideshow gives an idea of what the demonstration site looked like:
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This project was supported by Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grant no. 2011-49400-30525 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
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