In an effort to assist livestock producers maximize their forage production systems, The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation will host the 2009 Grazing School.

The three-day course will take place Tuesday, Sept. 29, through Thursday, Oct. 1, at the Noble Foundation's Ardmore campus. During the school, Noble Foundation agricultural consultants will cover various aspects of grazing from ecosystem processes and grass mechanics to matching forage and livestock resources, and prescribed burning.

“The grazing school offers invaluable education and information,” said Chuck Coffey, Noble Foundation pasture and range consultant. “It is designed to equip land managers with the necessary tools to utilize their forages and pastures effectively.”

On the first day of the school, participants will be introduced to the basics of grazing management, beginning with a discussion about the interaction between grazing management and the surrounding ecosystem. The morning sessions will conclude with discussions on soil fertility, soil type, and forage growth, production and quality. The afternoon of the first day will focus on meeting livestock nutritional demand with forages.

The second day of the school will begin with a field trip to the Noble Foundation's Coffey Ranch, which will showcase management strategies to enhance wildlife, plant succession and range management. In the classroom, participants will learn how animal behavior affects grazing management, strategies to stretch the grazing season in good and bad times, and the economics of grazing.

The first two days will conclude with field exercises. “This will provide participants an opportunity to apply classroom learning to a real-life scenario,” Coffey said. “This will solidify their understanding of the processes and practices they have been learning and help them translate this information to their existing operations." Organizers suggest participants wear comfortable attire and a hat for the field exercises.

The final day of the school will begin with a presentation on the Noble Foundation's forage research program and a field trip to the Noble Foundation's Pasture Demonstration Farm. During the tour, participants will see how the Noble Foundation uses grazing management in research and demonstration applications. In the afternoon, participants will learn to calculate reserve herd days and develop a personalized grazing management plan.

The 2009 Grazing School costs $200 per participant, which includes lunch and dinner each day, grazing stick, cap and notebook. For additional information or to register for the grazing school, please contact Tracy Cumbie by calling 580.224.6411 or e-mailing tlcumbie@noble.org. To register online, visit www.noble.org/AgEvents.