The Herald, Sharon, Pa.


June 26, 2014

2 local farms on grazing tour

MERCER COUNTY — Penn Soil RC&D Executive Director Wes Ramsey announced  that a Northwest Pennsylvania Project: Grass Grazing Field Day and Tour will be held July 17, featuring two farms in Mercer County.

The day will start at Van De Jerseys, near Transfer. The farm is owned and operated by John and Amy Vanderstappen. The Vanderstappens use 185 acres of intensively managed pasture to complement a TMR (Total Mixed Ration) for 250 Jersey cows and 75 replacement heifers.

The dairy cows are grazed up to one-half mile from the barn and use stabilized walkways for access. There will be a wagon tour of the farm.

The second stop will be at the nearby Ryan and Ken Miller farms. The Millers graze 40 head of Angus brood cows on two different grazing systems nearby.

They market feeders and are interested in using cover crops to extend the grazing season on nearby crop fields. Several examples of well and spring-fed watering systems with pressurized and gravity fed troughs will be shown.

Joel Hunter, agronomist with Penn State Extension Service will discuss the benefits of using cover crops and incorporating them into a grazing system. Soil quality and its impact on farm economics and sustainability will be demonstrated and discussed using a rainfall simulator.

Project Grass supporters include the Mercer County Conservation District, Penn State Cooperative Extension, Pa. Project Grass, Penn Soil RC&D Council and USDA-NRCS.

A brief Northwest Project Grass meeting will be open to all who attend during lunch. Info: 724-662-2242 or 814-226-8160, ext. 125.

Registration and lunch fee of $8 should be sent by July 11 to: Penn Soil RC&D Council, 210 North Drive Suite E, Warren, PA 16365; or call 814-726-1441.

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