Mount Grace and UMass Extension host pasture management workshop series

  • Doe Valley Farm in Petersham is the setting for the April 9 workshop on pasture management. Contributed photo

Staff Report
Published: 3/21/2022 2:09:48 PM
Modified: 3/21/2022 2:08:59 PM

Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust in collaboration with UMass Extension invite the public to a two-part pasture management workshop series with soil science expert Dr. Masoud Hashemi. The first session will be held on Saturday, April 9, from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Doe Valley Farm in Petersham, and the second session will be held on Saturday, April 23, from 1 to 3 p.m. at Red Apple Farm in Phillipston.

As Dr. Hashemi explains: “Well-managed pastures contribute significantly to the sustainability of animal operations and the environment’s quality; however, testing soil is crucial to greener pastures and is considered the first step in pasture management.” The first session will focus on assessing soil fertility and grazing management — the manipulation of grazing animals and pasture plants to reach a desired result. Participants will learn how to take soil samples for meaningful results, read the soil test results provided by the testing lab, and interpret the results. Additionally, Dr. Hashemi will cover key topics such as pasture resting period and frequency of animal rotation.

Second session

The second session will touch on “sacrifice” lots, reseeding and overseeding. “When your pasture is not ready for grazing, you sacrifice a small area of your land and keep your animals in there to save the remaining pastureland from overgrazing,” explains Dr. Hashemi. Sacrifice area is a major component in pasture management. Participants will learn about the appropriate size and several options of footing materials for sacrifice lots. In the reseeding part, participants will learn about the time, species selection, and early management for successful pasture establishment. Both sessions will include a 20-to-30-minute outdoor activity, so dress appropriately for the weather.

“I am happy to host educational workshops on my farm, “Doe Valley Farm” as I like to call it, and I am grateful Mount Grace is helping me conserve my land so that it will always be available for this type of activity,” says host of the April 9 session, Don Flye. “It is exciting to organize this workshop series after hearing the very positive feedback from attendees of last year’s workshops,” adds Mount Grace Farm Conservation Program Manager Rocio Lalanda.

Register

These events are open to the public, and free to all participants. Pasture and hayfield managers and landowners are encouraged to attend. Advanced registration is required, as space is limited, and can be done at mountgrace.org or by calling Rocio at 978-541-1772.


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