Organic pasture management and soil health training
Teaching organic dairy farmers how to manage their pasture acreage can enhance their success and profitability. In 2018, CIAS developed and field tested training in organic pasture management and soil health for agency personnel who support conventional, transitioning and new organic dairy farmers.
In the autumn of 2018 and 2019, CIAS hosted four “train the trainer” events on organic, pasture-based dairy farms in Lancaster, Edgar, Random Lake and Rudolph, Wisconsin. The participants hailed from agencies including the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), county Land and Water Conservation Departments (LCDs), UW-Extension and organic certifiers. Surveys following these events showed a significant increase in participant knowledge of organic pasture management, managed grazing, soil health, organic inspection, dry matter calculation and extending the grazing season.
This work was supported by Organic Valley Farmers Advocating For Organics.
Training resources and videos are linked below.
- Jackson, RD, Isidore, B, and Cates, RL. “Are plant-soil dynamics different in pastures under organic management? A review.” Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 279 (2019) 53-57.
- Jackson, RD, Isidore, B, and Cates, RL. “How does organic management on dairy farms affect pastures and soils?” August, 2019. Madison, WI: CIAS.
- Principles of Managed Grazing on Organic Dairy Farms. September 6, 2018. Lancaster
- Pasture Establishment and Renovation and Nutrient Inputs and Soil Health. October 4, 2018. Edgar
- Principles of Managed Grazing on Organic Dairy Farms. September 24, 2019. Random Lake
- Pasture Establishment, Nutrient Management and Soil Health on Organic Dairy Farms. October 8, 2019. Rudolph
List of resources
- Pasture Practice Standard: USDA National Organic Program (9/6/18)
- Pasture Establishment and Extending the Grazing Season (10/4/18)
- Feeding Dairy Cows on Pasture (3/20/19)
- Using Forage Testing for Pasture Management (1/31/19)
- Organic Pasture Management: Are You Getting the Dry Matter You Think You Are? (9/24/19)
- Pasture Establishment and Renovation (10/8/19)
- Milk Butterfat Content and Forage Characteristics (10/8/19)
- An Overview of Soil Health (10/8/19)
October 4, 2018 training at Peter Arnold’s Farm, Edgar, WI
Milk characteristics, pastures and soils
Observing pastures and soils
Overview of soil health on organic dairy farms
Pasture establishment and renovation on the Arnold farm
Pasture establishment and renovation, part 1
Pasture establishment and renovation, part 2
September 6, 2018 training at Kevin Jahnke’s Farm, Lancaster, WI
Panel: Maximizing dry matter intake from pasture, part 1
Panel: Maximizing dry matter intake from pasture, part 2
The organic pasture rule
Calculating pasture dry matter