CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Identifying options to improve, supplement and extend the grazing season will be the major overarching focus on the 2021 Northwest Illinois Grazing Conference. “Reinvigorating Pastures and Expanding Grazing” will be the theme of the University of Illinois Extension hosted virtual conference.
The presentation will be delivered via the Zoom platform over four consecutive Wednesday evenings in March starting March 3 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. There will be a $15 fee for all four sessions or a $5 fee per session if you do not want to register for all sessions. Pre-registration is required to receive the Zoom link to participate. To register or for more information visit us online at go.illinois.edu/jsw or call us at 815-858-2273.
While a look out the window may not bring pasture management to mind, winter is a good time to start planning for a successful grazing season. Laying out a management plan now can help you utilize existing pasture efficiently, identify potential forage shortfalls, and develop alternatives to address the shortfalls.
“Thinking creatively early is the first step to insuring adequate pasture throughout the season” comments Stanley Solomon. Grazers often struggle with sufficient forage during the “summer slump” and run out of grazable forage during the fall. “Planning puts you in control of the options rather than becoming reactionary during these situations,” adds the University of Illinois Extension Educator.
“Summer annuals and fall cover crops are good options for filling these gaps, but it requires planning to have these available when the need arises,” says Solomon. There are some non-traditional options that should be included this such as grazing small ruminants under solar developments and in managed timber areas.
The conference presentations will be “Am I a Regenerative Grazer?”, Laura Paine, UW-Extension on March 3. “Be Creative – Identifying Alternative Grazing Opportunities”, Teresa Steckler, Illinois Extension on March 10. “Extending the Grazing Season”, Travis Meteer, Illinois Extension on March 17. “Encouraging Maximum Grazing and Weed Control – Putting the Pieces Together”, Gene Schriefer, UW-Extension on March 24.
— University of Illinois Extension
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