Grassland management–improving habitat for grazing cattle and wildlife (birds and insects) was the theme of a June 23 field day co-sponsored by Iowa Learning Farms and the multi-state Restoration Ecology in Working Landscape project (http://www.nrem.iastate.edu/research/patchburn/index.html).
Project personnel from Iowa State University, Oklahoma State University, and the University of Illinois-Champaign led a pasture walk on a Saturday morning that was unusually cool, cloudy, and drizzly. Local landowners and cattle producers learned about bird-grassland relationships from University of Illinois graduate student Tim Lyons; meanwhile, Oklahoma State University graduate student Derek Scasta deftly identified grass and forb species thriving in the patch-burn grazing management system used at the site near Kellerton in Ringgold County.
Ringgold County, which borders Missouri in south-central Iowa, has a long tradition of thriving grasslands and pastures supporting cow-calf herds. South-central Iowa’s landscape is well-suited to grassland habitat, and the Restoration Ecology in Working Landscape project highlights the interwoven benefits of working grasslands, thriving farms and small towns, and biodiversity of plants, birds, and insects.