Northeast Iowa pasture walk focuses on fence and water improvement


Closeup of black cow in pasture.


DECORAH, Iowa – It can be daunting to think about improving a grazing system for your farm, let alone starting one. Yet, Decorah-area producer Rob Jewell took on the challenge and, over time, has developed a managed system that continues to provide success – and challenges. What's his secret?

"Keep trying new things, start small, and take risks. Confusion is the first stage of learning so accept that it won't be easy and learn from your mistakes," he said. "If your plan fails, mix it up and try doing it another way. It's all those failures that will turn your hard work into a success and make it that much more rewarding.”

Jewell's managed grazing system includes over 10,000 feet of buried water lines with quick couple attachments, water tanks on skids, subdivision fences with high tensile wire, and some silvopastures. He has moved cows on about a daily basis for over three years now. Jewell and his dad farm together, and they have seeded some cover crops on grain fields for additional fall or early spring grazing.

He will share his experiences at a pasture walk on his property on June 25, beginning at 6 p.m. Some of the grazing practices to be highlighted are buried water lines to each paddock, pasture subdivision layout, division fencing, and the equipment used to make moving cows easier. 

Jewell will be joined by presenters from the Natural Resources Conservation Service and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Jacob Hawes, northeast area grassland specialist with NRCS, will speak on cost-share opportunities to improve pastures and soil health, and Iowa State extension beef specialist Denise Schwab will talk about grazing efficiency.

To assist with meal preparation and notification in the event of weather-related changes, please by June 18 either online or by contacting the Winneshiek County Extension office by email at or phone at 563-382-2949.

The pasture is located at 2278 Madison Rd, Decorah. Enter the drive and watch for signs directing you to park on a hay field. Attendees will ride hay racks for the tour, then travel in their personal vehicles to Jewell's home place at 2139 Pole Line Rd, Decorah for supper and additional conversation. The Winneshiek County Cattlemen’s group will be grilling supper will be at the seed shop there.

This event is cosponsored by Allamakee County Extension, Winneshiek County Extension, the Iowa Beef Center, and the Winneshiek County Cattlemen. For more information, please contact Schwab by phone at 319-472-4739 or email at See the event flyer for more information.



The Iowa Beef Center at Iowa State University was established in 1996 with the goal of supporting the growth and vitality of the state’s beef cattle industry. It comprises faculty and staff from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and College of Veterinary Medicine, and works to develop and deliver the latest research-based information regarding the beef cattle industry. For more information about IBC, visit

Denise Schwab, ISU Extension and Outreach beef specialist, 319-721-9624,


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