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Forgey's Grazing Articles

Dave has been very active over the years writing articles on Rotational Grazing for many fine publications such as Hoard’s Dairyman, www.hoards.com  and Graze Magazine. www.grazeonline.com   Some of those articles can be found below as reprints (with permission) from the publishers.  Please remember that these articles were published and if you use the information from these articles, please provide the appropriate credits. You can subscribe for either of these magazines at the web sites listed above. There have also been articles written about Forgey’s River-View Farm in Successful Farming Magazine. You can view one of these articles here.

Over the course of the years, we have learned a lot.  As time has passed, some of our opinions have changed and some of the information in these articles may no longer apply to our farm today.  However, remember that what works for us may not work for you and what did not work or no longer works for us, may be just what you need.  These articles are for your information in the hopes that you can benefit from our learning process.  We make no guarantees that the information contained will work for you.  Everyone must find their own way, but hopefully we can learn from the mistakes of others.

  • The Forgey Files:  Articles written by Dave Forgey.  Especially beneficial to beginning graziers.  (Pastures, fencing, calf raising, watering systems, managing drought, baleage)

  • Why would I want to graze dairy cows?  Ideas on finding more profitable ways to dairy.

  • Low Cull RateOne of the benefits of a pasture system is less stress on the cows. We’re now in our eleventh season of grazing and our eight season of seasonal production. We’re beginning to see a pattern developing that makes our seasonal pasture system even better than I had realized.

  • Calving Strategies 2001:  Our start fresh date goal is March 1 each year.  We’re always pushing the envelope a little as we get anxious when we see cows in heat a few days before our planned first breeding date.

  • Adding a New Parcel of Land:  2001 was a challenging year because we finally reached maximum capacity for milking cows and replacement stock on 240 acres of grazeable land.

  • Alice White CloverPerhaps our most exciting new forage is Alice White Clover.

  • Complacency:  A good dairy year in 2001 and perhaps a few new plans for 2002 got me thinking abut other things besides getting the herd bred this past spring.

  • Controlling ThistlesJoel asked the question of how we control thistles, and then mentioned that he has done little more than chase them around his farm by hacking and whacking.

  • Corn Stalk Grazing:  We have returned to a slightly forgotten art of corn stalk grazing for our bred heifers as well as our dry cows.

  • Genetic Progress Over 10 Years:  In 1995, after lots of discussion with many graziers, we chose to use Friesian bulls from Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC) in New Zealand as our only source of semen.

  • Feeding Experiments:  Since beginning grazing in 1992 we have experimented with many systems of supplemental feeding our cows on pasture.

  • Adapting New Technologies:  One of the common theories of conventional dairymen is that the grass farmers abandon new technology.

  • Grazing Group:  I haven’t been fortunate enough to have a very large number of graziers farming close to me.  Therefore a local grazing group has never been formed.

  • Making Legumes Work:  No doubt most graziers know that I am a strong proponent of legumes in my pasture stands. Maybe that comes from many years of watching my legumes produce high-quality forage back during my conventional years of dairy farming.

  • Sharemilking:  Scott came to work for Forgey’s River-View Farm right out of high school in 1990.  He had very little farming background although his grandfather did farm.

  • Parlor Expansion:  One of the problems in our dairy operation had been the time spent milking the cows.

  • Out of Pocket Expenses:  One of the reasons we have been successful to this point in our transition to grazing is that we have worked very hard at keeping our costs low.

  • Solar Energy:  I recently attended a seminar hosted by my local Ag bank featuring a leading Agricultural Consultant. (Dr. Jay Lehr). Since nearly every other farmer attending was a grain producer his topics were geared towards that faction of agriculture. He proposed the future of agriculture being in the energy making business using Corn and Soya products. However, he made a statement that I feel missed the true potential of agriculture.

  • Stay On Schedule:  Now that the cows are out there grazing it's time to consider the rest of the nutritional requirements of the livestock.

  • Keep It Simple:  This is a concept that works very well with rotational grazing.

  • Legumes and Annuals:  No doubt most graziers know that I am a strong proponent of legumes in my pasture stand. Maybe that comes from many years of watching my legumes produce high quality forage back during my conventional years of dairy farming.