The Southwest Wisconsin Grazing Network is hosting two beef-focused pasture walks, the first on Saturday, July 27 at 10:30 a.m. at Studnicka Cattle Company, 1435 Blue River Road, Muscoda, and the second on Tuesday, Aug. 6 at 1 p.m. at Mike and Matt Mueller’s farm, 748 Enloe Road, Rewey.

Ryan Studnicka is a member of Wisconsin Meadows Grassfed Beef Cooperative and is learning the grazing skills necessary to produce grass finished beef. After a 2018 pasture walk and with input from other grazers, Studnicka decided to divide each of his existing paddocks to create shorter occupancy periods improving utilization and keep nutrition on a higher level.

In 2019, he converted some crops acres to grazing and is establishing pastures by broadcasting and interseeding a cover crop and pasture mix into growing corn at the V4 stage. This will be an opportunity to look at impact of a shorter grazing occupancy period, check in on his progress on grass finishing cattle and evaluate an innovative method for establishing grazing on crop acres.

Mike and Matt Mueller have purebred Normande and Shorthorn cattle, as well as commercial crossbreds. Their farm is on some the highest quality soil in southwest Wisconsin and because local pasture is hard to come by, they had to be creative in order to support their 400 beef cows. They work with multiple contract grazers around the region to take in and manage some of their herd for the grazing season.

Their biggest decision was seeding the entire farm down to pasture and dividing it into multiple paddocks, even though their quality soils would likely steer other farmers into simply choosing to grow corn. Discussion will focus on whether grazing offers at better return than corn on high quality land and the sharing of ideas on how farmers are dealing with spring mud.