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Green Pastures Can Be Lifesaver for Farmers & the Environment

May 21, 2012

DES MOINES, Iowa - The Iowa countryside is dotted with rolling green pastures. Better management of those pastures is said to be key to increasing profit for farmers grazing beef and dairy cattle and to possibly solving an environmental problem.

This Wednesday (May 23) there will be a pasture walk at the farm of Greg Koether to show fellow cattle producers how to solve the challenges of rotational grazing. Practical Farmers of Iowa is sponsoring the event, in which producers can see how pastures can be divided into subdivisions where cattle are rotated in and out, and how Koether has solved the problem of watering animals in rough terrain.

He says this system has improved his bottom line and improves the environment.

"Stock a lot more cattle, get a lot more gain, and what it does for the environment is sequesters carbon into the soil, out of the atmosphere, at an astounding rate."

Koether says if farmers worldwide would adopt rotational grazing it would help solve one of our most pressing problems, carbon emissions.

"If a certain percentage of the grazing land throughout the world were managed like this, we would solve our CO2 problem within a matter of a decade or two."

Koether has multiple subdivided pastures with various clover-seeding improvements, along with an above-ground pipeline watering system and automatic gates that allows him to move cattle several times a day.

For questions or detailed directions to the farm location, contact Denise Schwab, Iowa State University Extension Beef Specialist, in the Benton County Extension office at (319) 472-4739

Dick Layman, Public News Service - IA