FEEDING AND GRAZING PRACTICES FOR MULTIPLE SPECIES IN ALASKA: PROBLEMS AND PRESPECTS
A BLUEPRINT FOR SUCCESSFUL GRAZING
THE WORKSHOP AT A GLANCE
The workshop will focus specifically on the practical considerations and logistics required for implementing the principles of holistic grazing management models for multiple species on Alaskan farms and ranches. Our plan is to use the Matanuska Experiment Farm as the venue to explore best grazing practices in combination with management and financial issues that producers face today. The specific intent is to create, discuss and evaluate alternative scenarios, all with an applied set of management goals that are linked to “real world” grazing issues and to working farm budgets situated in the day to day problems faced by Alaskan and other high latitude stock producers’.
The workshop will be interactive, and all participants are encouraged to think about, and to be prepared to work with, the problems and issues specific to your own farms. This includes but is not limited to both grazing system design and management issues. The broader agenda is to provide an interactive forum and the opportunity to pose questions that focus on issues specific to Alaska.
With respect to Holistic management principles as applied to grazing systems, we ask each producer to think about where you would like your grazing program to be in one year, in five years, in ten years. Holistic resource management provides a framework and context for objectives, actions, in season planning, short and long term management goals.
SOME QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT WHEN PREPARING FOR THE WORKSHOP
The following questions provide an important framework for holistic management planning and will help focus the discussion on Alaska issues.
(1) How large is your farm or ranch, what kind of livestock do you raise and what ‘on farm’ infrastructure do you have?
(2) How much pasture do you have and how much of it do you use?
(3) When is green up in your area and when do you start feeding hay in the fall? In most years, when does the first frost end or limit grazing?
(4) How much hay (measured in tons) can you produce on your farm, how much hay do you have to buy to carry your stock through the winter? Are your facilities adequate to store enough hay to cover what you need for the winter?
(5) Do you calve, lamb, kid or foal early in the spring, or wait until “green up? Do you calve on pasture?
If you had to pick one major problem or impediment holding back your grazing and livestock production program – what would it be?