This intensive workshop (part presentation, part field tour) will address soil formation, grass productivity, and livestock performance using innovative grazing, soil management and cover crop strategies. Grazier Abe Collins, operator and founder of Collins Grazing, and UVM’s Sid Bosworth, Ph.D. will share the stage with farmers Rich and Cynthia Larson. Richard & Cynthia Larson have lived and farmed in Wells since 1977 and produce milk, grass-fed beef and pasture-raised eggs. Please bring boots for the pasture walk and dress properly for the weather. Bring a bagged lunch.
Sid Bosworth, Associate Professor of Agronomy with UVM's Dept. of Plant and Soil science, will discuss plant physiology and how plants respond to grazing.
Abe Collins will present on: Addressing Limiting Factors to Soil Formation to Achieve Increased Forage Production and Livestock Performance
While a straightforward way of achieving livestock performance is to keep abundant, high-quality feed in front of livestock in a low-stress environment, another angle which may offer unexpected advantages is to ask and methodically answer this question: "By attending to the needs of plants, soil organisms and the whole-soil organism, can we achieve improved animal performance, per-acre production and continual improvement of soil health?" A number of mental checklists for addressing limiting physical, chemical and biological conditions to photosynthesis and humification will be covered in detail. We'll review the basics of the physiology and needs of forage plants and soil organisms and how farm management can meet those needs. We'll look at grazing, cropping and soil treatments that producers around the world are succeeding with, including cocktail cover-cropping and mob grazing, and we'll look into the working example of the Larson's farm. Different monitoring tools will be used to contribute to our ability to read the land, including soil chemical and biology analysis, forage tests, the penetrometer, infiltrometer and refractometer and the human eyes and nose.
Presenter Bio: Abe Collins is a grazer and the president of Collins Grazing, LLC. Abe has herded sheep in Arizona and milked cows and finished beef cattle in Vermont. Abe is a student of the regenerative agriculture movement. His first-hand experience and belief is that topsoil is a renewable resource. Collins Grazing builds farms from the soil up and helps clients to achieve increased agricultural production and environmental security through improvement of topsoil health and the use of advanced soil monitoring tools.
Workshop level: All levels
Directions: Located at 69 South Street in Wells, Vermont, a half mile south of the village center.
Heading South on Route 30, Turn left onto South Street. Go 0.5 miles- the farm will be on the left.
Heading North on Route 30, Turn right onto N. Pawlett Rd. (this will turn into South Street). Go 1.7 miles- the farm will be on the right. Parking wil lbe flagged.
Will this be handicap accessible? The presentation in the barn will be easily accessible, though navigating the fields will be difficult.
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