Here it is already July. It has been a busy summer and I haven’t been able to write as much as I would like to have, in all reality I haven’t been able to write at all. I have been doing quite a bit of traveling and will be doing some more in the next few weeks. In June I was up in Duboise, WY for a training and had the bright idea that I would like to go canoeing. To tell you the truth, it was not as fun of an experience as I would have hoped, and I am pretty sure I will not be doing it again unless the temperature of both the water and the air are warmer.
This year in my neck of Wyoming we saw an abundance of spring moisture and you know what that means– you got it– grass! There seems to be grass everywhere and the grass fields that are being cut for hay are producing record numbers of bales. There are likely two reasons for this. One is of course, the spring moisture falling at exactly the correct time for optimum plant growth. The other is the cool temperatures we have experienced this spring. The 90 degree temperatures that are common in Eastern Wyoming did not hit us until early July. Many of our grasses in this area are cool season grasses. This means they only grow when temperatures are cool and go dormant during the heat of the summer. Check out this YouTube video that explains this phenomenon:
Early in June I had the opportunity to teach a workshop with Jim Gerrish and some other Extension Educators at the 3rd Annual University of Wyoming Extension Grazing Management School. During this school participants learn about using Management-intensive Grazing (MiG) techniques to enhance their forage production on irrigated or sub-irrigated pastures. Each time I work with Jim I learn something new and I am sure most producers feel the same way.
MiG actually involves more intense management rather than more intense grazing. Cows intensively graze by nature, only people can intensively manage. When we use MiG techniques we are actually making business decisions so that our business meets are needs rather than the livestock’s’ needs. Science defines MiG as a “flexible approach to rotational grazing management whereby animal nutrient demand through the grazing season is balanced with forage supply and available forage is allocated based on animal requirements.” This definition emphasizes flexibility, animal nutrient demand changes, pasture growth rates, and how much forage is available at any given time. MiG can be accomplished with any species of grazing animal and has been proven to improve pasture condition, land use efficiency, environment, and profitability. Check out this video that talks a bit about MiG and shows it in action.
June was quite a month and I have high hopes for July. Stay tune for a look at Extension happenings throughout the seasons. And if you get the chance to go canoeing, do it! It may not be your cup of tea, but you will never know until you try it.