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Kerr Center

Grazing Workshop Oct. 10: Get the Most Out of Your Pastures

Grazing Workshop Oct. 10: Get the Most Out of Your Pastures

Workshop registration is now closed.

“We could have 2,000 lbs. per acre of stockpiled forage.  How do we use it?  How do we get the most benefit from it?” asks  Kerr Center Cattle Manager Will Lathrop.

For the past two years, Lathrop has been conducting a grazing study to answer those questions. 

On Saturday, October 10, he’ll share results at the Fall Grazing Management workshop on the Kerr Ranch near Poteau.

Will Lathrop and Student string electric fence in Kerr pasture.

Will Lathrop and student string electric fence in Kerr pasture. Click for high-resolution image.

Lathrop and other Kerr Center livestock staff will lead this combined classroom/field workshop.  In addition to the grazing study, with its focus on forage stockpiling and utilization, it will cover a range of other topics, including grazing management and forage measurement.  All fit within the framework of the center’s holistic approach to cattle management.

Advance registration is due by October 2. Early registration is encouraged, as space is limited. Registration costs $20 ($10 for each additional family member), and includes lunch and snacks.  (Refunds are available for cancellations made by the due date.)

In the 1950s, Sen. Robert S. Kerr established the Kerrmac Ranch, which became well-known for its prize Angus breeding stock. President John F. Kennedy even visited the ranch and inspected the senator’s prize bulls when he came to Oklahoma to dedicate a highway in 1961.

Ever since then, the ranch has been used for beef cattle production, and since 1965, for research and demonstrations to help ranches in Oklahoma and the region beome more profitable and sustainable.

Lathrop’s grazing study is a good example of the center’s practical research.

He put four six-acre pastures through different combinations of stock density and forage utilization.  Two of them he grazed at low stock density, meaning the cattle had access to the entire pasture the whole time they were in it.  The other two were grazed at high stock density, using temporary electric fence to limit the herd’s access to a different portion of the pasture each day.

In addition to the stock density, Lathrop varied the utilization rate.  In two pastures, he only let the herd take 50% of the stockpiled forage.  In the other two, he kept them in until they’d eaten 70%. Each year, the cattle visit each pasture twice – once in late spring, and again in fall.

Before each round of grazing, Lathrop collects forage samples.  He’s expecting the high stock density pastures to show higher forage quality – but as always, the proof is in the data.

Lathrop is quick to relate the treatments in the study back to real-world situations on the ranch.  “The different treatments could be used for different seasons, different weather, or different cows: wet versus dry weather, yearling versus mature.  I avoid electric fence in winter; the ground turns to mush and is all weeds in spring.”

Download Agenda (pdf, 51 KB)

 

Electric fence dividing pastures on the Kerr Ranch.

Electric fence dividing pastures on the Kerr Ranch. Click for high-resolution image.

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