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Pastured Heifers Averaged 1,500 More Lbs. of Milk

By cptp | 2:30 PM, 01/05/2015

Wisconsin graziers and agency staff recently attended CPTP's Economics of Grazing Heifers workshop at the Brown County UW Extension office in Green Bay. The workshop featured grazing dairy farmer Wayne Craig, who discussed high density rotational grazing with dairy heifers and UW Extension specialist Rhonda Gildersleeve, who talked about developing dairy heifers using pasture-based feeding strategies.

Craig noted that pastured heifers averaged greater than 1,500 more lbs. of milk in first lactation and showed a 50% reduction in D.A’s. He then highlighted the latest tools and techniques and practical management tips that first-time and experienced graziers can use to be successful. Craig and his wife Kay manage an 80 cow organic dairy near New Holstein in Calumet County. They have 300 acres in managed pasture and have grazed their cows, bred heifers and calves for more than 20 years.

Gildersleeve covered the relevant research on the benefits and economics of incorporating well-managed pastures in dairy heifer development systems in her talk on Developing Dairy Heifers Using Pasture-based Feeding Strategies. She has worked with agricultural producers in California and Wisconsin on profitable and environmentally sound grazing-based production systems for beef, sheep, and dairy cattle. A native of Grant County, she also manages a pasture-based dairy farm near Boscobel, WI.

We were pleased to be part of this workshop, said Kirsten Jurcek, Grazing Education Specialist, Glacierland RC&D. “We encourage dairy farmers to decrease feed costs; and increase heifer health and fertility rates through grazing.”

Kevin Erb, UW Extension Specialist added, "Attendees included a mix of veteran graziers, those just getting up and running with grazing, and even some who were considering adding grazing to their livestock operation." He said all were able to share their experience and exchange information during the December 10 afternoon gathering.

Support for this workshop came from Glacierland RC&D/NRCS Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and the WI DATCP Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative Program (GLCI) funding, Brown County UW Extension and the Conservation Professional Training Program.

For more information, contact Kirsten Jurcek at (920) 342-9504 or kjurcek1@centurytel.net.
Look for future CPTP grazing courses in 2015!