Sponsored By
Wallaces Farmer

Learn what’s new at Iowa Forage and Grassland Conference

From virtual fencing to corn residue grazing, a host of topics are set for Feb. 6 event.

Rod Swoboda

January 24, 2024

2 Min Read
cattle grazing
TIME TO LEARN: Experts will discuss forages, grazing of crop residue, water improvement, conservation and more at the 2024 Iowa Forage and Grasslands conferenceIowa State University

The Iowa Forage and Grassland Council’s 2024 conference will be Feb. 6 in Ames. The event returns to Reiman Gardens, 1407 University Blvd., just southwest of Jack Trice Stadium. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m., with a welcome and introduction at 10 a.m.

Two presentations are on tap for the morning session, including experts from Iowa State University Extension. Lunch at noon is followed by the council’s annual meeting. Two afternoon presentations will run from 1 to 3 p.m., followed by brief closing remarks.

Conference topics and speakers follow:

A tool for the grazing revolution: Virtual fencing. Meghan Filbert, representing the Nofence company, is an advocate of grazing and pasture-based livestock systems. She helps farmers integrate livestock on the land through grazing cover crops and virtual fencing.

Nofence, a Norwegian virtual fencing company, is spearheading the adoption of virtual fence technology in the United States. Filbert has experience using goats and sheep to reclaim native oak savannas using physical and virtual fences. Nofence makes GPS collars for farm animals that discourage them from crossing virtual fences. The idea of virtual fencing, as an alternative to fixed electric fencing, has been worked on since the 1990s. Nofence was incorporated in 2011.

Corn residue grazing: Current recommendations and adjustments based on new data. Mary Drewnoski, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, is a beef systems specialist. Her research and Extension work focuses on using crop residue and cover crop forage for backgrounding calves and feeding beef cows. She also serves on an interdisciplinary team evaluating economical systems for integrating crop and livestock production.

Cultivating resilience: Exploring traits and tactics with warm-season annual forage. Shelby Gruss, Iowa State University Extension forage specialist, grew up on a farm and earned her bachelor’s and master’s at the University of Illinois. Gruss earned her doctorate at Purdue University, and then moved to Michigan State University as a post-doc research associate, studying how forages can increase resilience in ag production systems. She joined the ISU agronomy staff in November.

Livestock water improvement ideas from the drought. Jeff Matthias is the grazing specialist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Iowa. He grew up on a crop and cattle farm in the Loess Hills of western Iowa, where the family had a 50-head cow herd and fed out the calves.

The conference is open to the public for $45. IFGC members pay $30, and those who have not yet paid dues can do so during the online registration process. Preregistration is encouraged to allow for an adequate meal count. See the agenda, registration form and map to Reiman gardens on the conference website.

Anyone interested in forage and grassland production and management is welcome to attend. All attendees can enter a drawing for door prizes, courtesy of the show sponsors.

About the Author(s)

Rod Swoboda

Rod Swoboda is a former editor of Wallaces Farmer and is now retired.

Subscribe to receive top agriculture news
Be informed daily with these free e-newsletters

You May Also Like