Grazing Environmentally Sensitive Areas Pasture Walk
A pasture walk will be held Tuesday, July 8, from 6-8 p.m. at the Dirk and Jessica Heidemann Farm, N1243 Rangeline Road, Merrill.
Dirk and Jessica, with their son Tavin and daughter Brynlee, operate a 50-animal beef herd consisting of 20 cow/calf pair with stockers and heifers. Currently they sell stockers at the local cattle auction barns and some finished beef through direct marketing.
In 2009, the Heidemann’s purchased three Black Angus heifers. Then in 2010, they fenced 45 acres, installed a summer watering system and a year-round watering facility. In 2012 an additional 21 acres were fenced and summer water added to accommodate their growing herd. They have been successful at converting sloping cropland and continuously grazed pastures to permanent rotationally grazed pastures. Before and after aerial photos show how perennial sod has stabilized the banks of the stream running through their property. The stream banks have narrowed and the channel has deepened. The Heidemann’s are conscious of agricultural impacts on water quality and fish habitat and plan to continue maintaining their stream corridor with rotational grazing.
David Vetrano, a retired WI-DNR fisheries biologist with more than 32 years of cold water stream management, will be present to share management techniques to improve cold water fisheries. He firmly believes, and has demonstrated, the benefits of grazing on and near trout streams in southwestern Wisconsin.