A workshop on grazing and forages will be offered by the PEI Certified Organic Producers Cooperative December 6 and 7 at the Farm Centre.
The session will be led by Sarah Flack, who is an author and consultant specializing in providing practical information on grass based and organic livestock production to farmers, organizations, institutions and individuals. She has a diverse background in sustainable agriculture, which includes both on-farm and academic experience. She is nationally known for her public speaking, workshops, books and numerous articles on a range of agricultural topics.
Sarah teaches workshops, writes articles and fact sheets and has produced videos and webinars. She is the author of The Art and Science of Grazing, Organic Dairy Production, and wrote the chapter on grazing management in The Organic Dairy Handbook – a comprehensive guide for the transition and beyond. She is also a co-author of Transitioning to Organic Dairy – a self assessment workbook, as well as many articles grass based and organic farming systems. When she is not traveling, Sarah lives in northern Vermont on her off-grid (photovoltaic) small farm.
The session will begin Friday at 5:30 p.m. with an introductory session covering such topics as best practice for pasture plants and soil management; maximizing pasture dry matter intake; improving animal performance and well-being; building soil health and ensuring sustained improvements in pasture quality and productivity.
The morning session on Saturday will focus on basic principles of good grazing management systems. Starting first from the plant’s perspective, the needs of perennial pasture plants will be examined. It will include such topics as fulfilling the needs of perennial pasture plants by following grazing guidelines; measurement of the amount of feed available in a pasture; calculation of paddock sizes; stocking densities and rates;. understanding the ideal number of acres for a flock or herd and perennial plant anatomy and physiology.
The afternoon session will focus on the pasture from the livestock perspective including: Techniques to meet livestock nutritional requirements; maximizing dry matter intake; providing low stress handling; providing correct supplemental feeds and minerals; introducing shade or shelter into the grazing system; techniques to monitor and assess the health of the pasture ecosystem and techniques to monitor and assess the performance and well-being of the livestock.