by Jason Johnson
Public Affairs Specialist, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Des Moines
Before Allamakee County livestock producer Ryan Collins purchased his own farm in 2011, he knew USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) could help him plan a rotational grazing system through previous experiences with the agency on land his family rented.
So, one of his first calls was to the NRCS office in Waukon when he decided to implement a similar grazing system for his herd of cow/calf pairs on his newly-acquired 170-acre farm near Harpers Ferry.
A rotational grazing system - also referred to as prescribed grazing - means dividing pastures into four or more small paddocks with fencing. The animals move from paddock to paddock on a prearranged schedule based on forage availability and livestock nutrition needs.