Whether a big operation or a small family farm, any tips on how to better run a farm is welcome advice in the farming community.
That sharing of advice is the idea behind the Coulee Graziers, a group of farmers from the Coulee Region who visit and tour other farms and talk with other farmers about grazing dairy farms.
The Graziers offer the opportunity to network and learn through farmer-led discussion to improve profitability with environmentally-sound farming practices.
Around 25 people joined the most recent event at the Kling farm in Taylor, Wis. with representatives from some small- to medium-sized farms and even some who were just looking to start their own farm.
Nate Kling, who runs the farm with his wife, gave a short tour of his land and some of the practices he uses when grazing cattle and how to manage them properly.
This isn’t his first walk with the Coulee Graziers though, he said he’s been involved in the group for about 12 or 13 years.
“It’s kind of an honor just to be able to have people who want to come and see what you’re doing,” Kling said.
It wasn’t just Kling giving advice though, as all the farmers in attendance shared ideas with each other.
At one point, Kling asked the group their thoughts on if he should try switching to a different type of grass in a certain pasture for grazing which sparked a lively discussion on the pros and cons.
Other talking points throughout the day were grazing patterns, what sort of fencing to use and similar topics.
“They can learn from me as much as I can learn from them,” Kling said. “The discussion among the group always creates ideas for everyone that’s here.”
One unique idea that perked a lot of ears was buying and using old rubber conveyor belts as walking lanes for the cows as opposed to concrete ones that lead from barns to grazing pastures.
The rubber belts would be just as sturdy, but they would also be easier to clean and much more portable if a farmer ever wanted to change the pattern.
Kling said events like this are good to just get like-minded people together to talk about their work and share ideas, sometimes they will get bigger industry people in and work with the UW-Extension, but it is all about sharing ideas.
“Hopefully people can glean some ideas here and learn from it, that’s what it’s all about,” Kling said.
For more information on the next Graziers event contact Jackson County UW-Extension to find out more.