MDC and other agencies invite cattle producers to soil health workshop in Everton

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Using native grasses in a grazing set-up can benefit for both livestock and wildlife. In addition to these advantages, people can learn how proper grassland management also has benefits for the soil at a July 21 workshop being put on by the Missouri Department of Conservation and other agencies.

Having native-grass pastures that provide grazing benefits for livestock and habitat benefits for wildlife is about more than grassland management, it’s about soil management, too.

Cattle producers can learn how forage diversity and proper native grassland management can improve soil health at the “Foraging for Soil Health Workshop.”

This event will be 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m. on July 21 at a private farm in Dade County near Everton. The address is 249 Rout O. This workshop is a collaborative effort of the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the Greene County Soil and Water Conservation District, the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association, the Missouri Forage & Grassland Council, and MFA. Lunch will be provided at this event. People can register online at:

http://mfgc.regfox.com/foraging-for-soil-health-workshop

Registration is limited to 100 people. People wanting more information can contact MFA Conservation Grazing Specialist Landry Jones at 573-808-7094. Among the featured speakers at the July 21 event are:

• Dale Strickler, an agronomist for Green Cover Seed, which is the nation’s leading cover crop seed company

• Ray Archuleta, a conservation agronomist at the NRCS East National Technology Center in Greensboro, N.C. Archuleta provides instruction on soil health and agro-ecology at events throughout the country.

• Doug Peterson, NRCS Regional Soil Health Specialist for Missouri and Iowa. Peterson has been with NRCS since 1987 and previously served as Missouri’s soil health conservationist for three years.

These experts will explain how quality soils are at the foundations of native warm-season grass pastures. This event will also include in-field observations and discussions of how these principles are put to use on a working cattle farm.

An increasing number of cattle producers are rediscovering the benefits of native warm-season grasses. Adding warm-season grass areas to a grazing system that already features cool-season grass creates a forage system that allows livestock owners to keep their herds feeding on high quality forage for a longer period of time.

There are benefits for wildlife, too. Warm-season grasses begin growth later in the year and are not ready to be grazed or hayed until late summer. By then, most of the ground-nesting wildlife that need these plants for habitats have hatched their broods.

More information about using warm-season grasses in a livestock grazing operation can be found at mdc.mo.gov.