Did you miss our webinar last week with Rob Davis of the Whiterock Conservancy? We experienced technical difficulties on the day of the webinar; however, our archived version of the webinar includes better quality audio and some video of our presenter. Watch the webinar here!
Whiterock Conservancy is a non-profit land trust of 5,500 acres located near Coon Rapids along the Middle Raccoon River. Most people may not realize that Whiterock is Iowa’s third largest recreation area in the state. In addition to its conventional cropping and pasture systems, visitors to Whiterock can explore prairies, pasture, woodlands and savannas through a network of trails.
Whiterock incorporates recreation into its pasture system by offering campgrounds and trails that are suited for hiking, mountain biking and equestrian use. They also host guided walks, tractor rides and Sunday drives through pastures with gators and ATVs.
For its 395 acres of permanent pasture land and 125 acres of savanna, Whiterock uses a variety of approaches to management including rotational grazing, management intensive grazing and conservation grazing.
Whiterock has also sectioned the pasture into 640 feet wide fencing alleyways, added filter strips around the ponds and installed a water line with a stub outs every 150 feet. Rob even considers cattle as a “tool” that can help control and trample dominant and invasive species like thistle.
One interesting approach Rob has tried is diversifying Whiterock’s pasture by mixing both warm- and cool-season species.
“We do have a couple demonstration areas where we’ve done a warm-season prairie seeding on a couple of our pastures. Most of those were flops. Those were seeded in 2009 and for whatever reason, whatever was seeded in 2009 on a couple of different seedings did not turn out well. But, when we grazed that in the end of May 2014, grazed that cool-season nearly to the ground, left two inch stubble, the warm-season community popped, even five years after that original seeding.”
Rob says that although he gets some funny looks when he pitched the idea of warm- and cool season pastures, he’s found a way to manage it at Whiterock. He uses small-scale prescribed burns, overseeds the warm-season in February or March and then encourages the warm-season community to grow by allowing high-density grazing over a period of days.
Learn about how Rob Davis manages his pasture in this webinar – there are many other unique things that Whiterock is doing that may be of interest to your operation. Better yet, head out to Whiterock to see it for yoursef! Watch the archived version of the webinar here.