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JA slide show
Track 3 - Grass-Based Systems

Program - Sponsors - Registration - Lodging - Rideshare

Track Sponsor

CBF  MDgrazerslogo_beef


To bring healthy and delicious grass-based meats and dairy products to market, farmers must focus on both soil and animal health as they relate to grazing.  What grazing and pasture management practices improve soil health – which ones are most harmful?   What are key indicators for determining soil health needs in a pasture?  How can you keep your grazing animals most healthy without using conventional wormers and medicines?  What are early indications of health problems in your herd, and what are alternative methods to deal with animal illnesses? And as always, we will look at the latest ideas of innovative, cutting-edge grazers.

Friday, January 17

SESSION I - 2:30 – 3:45 pm

Animal Nutrition

Guy Jodarski, Neillsville, WI - Organic Valley 

This will be a basic introduction to cattle nutrition on pasture and how pasture management enables the producer to meet the nutritional requirements of the animal in a cost effective manner. Guy Jodarski will speak about dairy cattle and Ed Rayburn will speak about small ruminants and beef cattle.

Ed Rayburn, Morgantown, WV - WVU Extension




SESSION II - 4:00 - 5:15 pm

Genetics in Pasture-Based Dairy and Grass-Fed Beef Production



John Comerford, University Park, PA - Penn State

A presentation will be made covering research on genetics and reproduction in pasture-based beef cattle and organic dairy production systems, as well as the economic targets and management issues that influence genetic selection in the grass-fed enterprise. Participants will better understand basic principles of genetic selection and reproductive management within pasture-based dairy production systems, as well as the economic targets that drive genetic selection decisions. Concepts of using pure breeds and/or crossbreeding in herds will be discussed. Current and prospective new beef cattle and dairy graziers will also gain basic information to allow them to effectively formulate strategies and breeding plans for managing genetics and reproduction that are most appropriate for their own herds and allow for profitability.

Steve Washburn, Raleigh, NC - NC State University

Saturday, January 18

SESSION III - 8:30 - 9:45 am

High-Density vs. Managed Intensive Grazing



 Jeff Semler (moderator)  Ed Rayburn  Ron Holter  Tim Fritz
 Boonsboro, MD  Morgantown, WV   Jefferson, MD   Ronks, PA 
 UMD College of Agriculture
& Natural Resources
 WVU Extension  Holterholm Farms  King's Agriseeds


A panel will compare and contrast holistic high density grazing, also called "MOB" grazing with New Zealand-style management intensive grazing, often called "MIG" grazing. The panel has extensive hands-on experience in how each practice impacts or benefits your pasture and animal health.

SESSION IV - 10:00 - 11:15 am

Multi-Species Grazing/Pricing and Profit of Livestock Enterprises

Forrest Pritchard, Berryville, VA - Smith Meadows Farm
Dale Johnson, Keedysville, MD - UMD College of Agriculture & Natural Resources


Forrest Pritchard is a seventh-generation farmer and has been raising cattle, pigs, sheep and chickens on his family's farm since 1996, along with his wife Nancy and sister Betsy. The animals are raised entirely on pasture which is never treated with chemical fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides. Pritchard will discuss his rotational grazing methods, including management of grasses, legumes and wild forbs in the pasture.



Dale Johnson, a farm management specialist in the UMD College of Agriculture & Natural Resources, will discuss the importance of understanding the costs of producing livestock in order to price them for a profit. Participants will learn how to calculate unit costs of production, return per hour of labor, as well as to  compare the economics of various livestock enterprises and develop a whole farm economic analysis.



SESSION V - 3:30 - 4:45 pm

Forage Quality, Mineral Supplements and Grazing: Promoting Healthy Animals and Healthy People

Guy Jodarski, Neillsville, WI - Organic Valley

This session will cover basic forage analysis for nutrients, emphasizing analysis of mineral content. Forage mineral content determines supplemental mineral needs. Strategies for mineral supplementation will be discussed. In addition, the positive nutritional benefits of grazing for both animals and people consuming their products (meat and milk) will be presented. The role of healthy fats (Omega-3 and CLA) from grazing will also be reviewed.