The Virginia Forage and Grassland Council, Inc. (VFGC) collaborates with producer members in different areas of the state, to demonstrate various forage and grazing management techniques. These demonstrations are one way to promote the utilization of forages to meet producer goals while highlighting grazing management practices that improve forage production, grazing efficiency and soil health.
VFGC is also the recipient of a Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) from USDA-NRCS. We encourage you to look at and follow the progress of the demonstration farms listed below as changes are implemented and their grazing systems improve.
Mr. Ronnie Nuckols is a producer member who partnered with VFGC to host a grazing demonstration site as part of this grant. Over the past several years Ronnie attended the VFGC beginning grazier school along with other field days and winter conference events. He worked extensively with the Monacan Soil and Water Conservation District to exclude all the surface water on the farm and develop a grazing system. Ronnie networked with other graziers as he made these changes and began to manage his grazing animals on the pasture. He works closely with the local Extension Agent and sought additional advice from the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). For more details on the background of this farm operation please open and read the 1-page Farm Background Sheet.
Since September 2014, Ronnie has planted several different annual forage mixtures to supplement his cool season, perennial pastures in an effort to extend the grazing season. His goal was to provide fresh and nutritious forage to his grazing livestock during transition seasons, earlier in the spring and later into the fall, while building soil health. See some of the photos posted below illustrating what he has accomplished so far.
Ronnie hosted the spring 2015 Forage and Soil Health field day where 200 participants attended to see and learn the forage and grazing management techniques he was employing to achieve his goals. This short video was developed to highlight the partnership of NRCS with producers and the forage industry to improve the function and productivity of pastures through the Soil Health Coalition. Look at the 3 minute video here Ronnie Nuckols Soil Health Video https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCe_p870zuROY9sM91f5JQXw/videos .
At this point Ronnie has learned a great deal, and generally benefitted from both the winter annual and summer annual mixtures used during this time period. A summary report of this case study demonstration is currently in draft and is scheduled to be posted in April 2016. For more information about his