Bio effective grazing workshop set

Ranchers and land managers will be shown how to manage grasslands with biologically effective grazing strategies that increase available soil mineral nitrogen and generate greater wealth from grazing land’s natural resources without depleting future production.Posted Nov. 22, 2013

A biologically effective pasture and harvested forage management workshop will be held Tuesday through Thursday, Jan. 7-9, 2014, at the North Dakota State University Dickinson Research Extension Center.

Traditionally managed grazing land pastures are chronically deficient in available mineral nitrogen, which causes lower production of grass herbage than the potential, even during years with adequate or above- normal precipitation.

“Most of the soil nitrogen is organic nitrogen and not available to plants,” said Lee Manske, NDSU DREC research professor. “This organic nitrogen must be mineralized by soil organisms. Unfortunately, the soil organism biomass in most pastures is less than half the amount needed. Grazing management that is coordinated with grass phenological growth stages can greatly increase the soil organism biomass.”

Ranchers and land managers will be shown during the workshop how to manage grasslands with biologically effective grazing strategies that increase available soil mineral nitrogen and generate greater wealth from grazing land’s natural resources without depleting future production.

The workshop will be held in the Red Office Building on the corner of State Avenue and Empire Road in Dickinson. The workshop will run from 1 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday. Dickinson is in the Mountain time zone.

The workshop instructors are Manske and Toby Stroh, Dickinson State University assistant professor and ArcGIS instructor.

The workshop will provide the knowledge for understanding the complex symbiotic partnership among perennial grass plants, soil organisms and large grazing animals. Each workshop participant will learn how to develop and properly operate a biologically effective management strategy using twice-over rotation grazing on summer pastures in conjunction with a complete 12-month complementary pasture and harvested forage sequence specific for his or her ranch.

To design pasture and harvested forage management strategies specific to individual ranches during the workshop, ArcGIS maps with each pasture and field for the entire land holdings, including owned and leased land, need to be made, and acreage of each soil type in each parcel of land needs to be calculated prior to the start of the workshop. Location descriptions of land holdings will need to be provided one month prior to the workshop to give specialists sufficient time to develop maps.

Lodging, transportation and most meals are the responsibility of the participants. There is a lab fee of $25 per person to cover the costs of supplies, refreshments and a working supper on the second day. A three-volume set of textbooks is available for $95. The ArcGIS map set will cost $75 for an average-sized ranch.

An option for professional development with 1 or 2 graduate credits for this continuing education course is available through NDSU at a cost of $50 per credit. Participants will supply their own calculators and notebooks.

Information related to the workshop material is available at www.GrazingHandbook.com.

For workshop information or to register, call Manske at (701) 456-1118 or email llewellyn.manske@ndsu.edu. To request ArcGIS maps to be developed for a ranch, contact Stroh at (701) 483-7771 or toby.stroh@dickinsonstate.edu before Dec. 6.