Forage field days feature forage rotations, research results

By Denise Schwab–Iowa State University Extension and Outreach

Forage field days highlight the various benefits of grazing summer annuals.

AMES, Iowa — Incorporating a summer annual into the crop rotation provides much needed summer slump grazing while utilizing minimal row crop acres. A winter annual/summer annual forage rotation disrupts the standard corn-soybean rotation, which provides several benefits, according to Denise Schwab, beef specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

“This rotation provides agronomic benefits such as reduced pest pressure, ability to rotate herbicides, and helps scavenge soil nutrients, and it provides whole farm enterprise flexibility,” she said. “It also provides feed during three critical seasons when perennial pasture production is limited.”

Schwab said several forage field days are planned that will demonstrate annual forage rotations and share the results of Iowa State research plots. There’s no cost to attend and preregistration is not required.

Two on-farm field days feature producers utilizing annual forage rotation, and one field day at Iowa State’s research and demonstration farms will feature annual forage plots as a part of the annual research farm field days.

On-farm field days in northeast Iowa are as follows:

Thursday, Sept. 2, 6 p.m. (Nathan Goedken’s farm at 1902 310th Ave., Dyersville). Goedken baled winter annual forages in June and then drilled a mix of summer annuals. He plans to graze with fall calving cows and stockpile late season growth for winter grazing.

Sept. 7, 5:30 p.m. (Jason Wells farm, 14658 252nd St., Milton). Wells grazes a mix of summer annuals.

Demonstration and research farm field day:

Friday, Aug. 27, 1 p.m. (Northeast Research Farm, 3321 290th St., Nashua). One of the stops will highlight the annual forage plots at this farm, which includes four summer annuals with two nitrogen treatments following winter annual forages.

Plan to attend one or more of these field days to learn about the selection, production, and economics of an annual forage rotation to determine whether it might work for your operation. For more information, contact Schwab at [email protected] or 319-721-6343.