Grazing schools teach valuable lessons

Posted June 25, 2015 at 9:27 am

Grazing schools in Missouri conducted by University of Missouri Extension and the National Resource Conservation Service have been a huge success based on surveys and testimonials from those attending.

The two or three-day educational programs introduce attendees to a variety of soil, fertility, forage and economic considerations involved with planning grazing system.

A popular exercise is the pasture allotment session. Teams of students view a pasture and determine how much space will be needed to provide grazing for a certain number of cattle for the next 24 hours. They are provided with step-in posts, poly wire, and watering supplies.

Typically, the pasture is fescue. At the Mt. Vernon grazing school held in late April, the pasture was a novel endophyte fescue that was seeded in 2013. The test animals were five head of yearling

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    FB’s Cut to the Chase

    by Blake Hurst

    (Blake Hurst, a farmer from Westboro, is also president of Missouri Farm Bureau, the state’s largest farm organization.)

    The first pickup truck was a Model T, with a bed in the back. First sold in 1925, it would set you back $281. Henry Ford called it a Model T runabout with a “Pickup body.”

    My first pickup was a Ford. I was between my junior and senior years of high school, more than a year after my 16th birthday and no

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    ‘Triple whammy’ for Missouri farmers

    Missouri ranks ninth in planting progress among Midwestern soybean-growing states.

    “Missouri farmers face a triple whammy of prevented corn planting, delayed soybean planting, and poor crop vigor because of cloudy skies and wet soil,” says University of Missouri Extension soybean specialist Bill Wiebold.

    With heavy rains forecast for the next several days, that won’t change.

    “The weather forecast doesn’t bode well for Missouri farmers,” Wiebold says. As much as 5 inches of rain are predicted for the next several days. Then Tropical Storm Bill

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    Feed cows for better calf performance

    Recent information indicates gene expression of fetal calves can be manipulated by factors like the nutritional status of the cow. Randy Wiedmeier, livestock specialist with University of Missouri Extension, says this differs from what he has taught for several decades.

    “I was taught that farm animal production is controlled by two factors: the genetic code, and environmental factors like nutrition, climate, and health. I also understood that the genetic code was set in stone but apparently, it is a little more complicated than that,” said Wiedmeier.

    Researchers at

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    Free NRCS tool helps farmers determine economics of using crops

    By now most farmers have heard about cover crops and how incorporating them into rotations can increase yields and reduce input costs while providing other valuable benefits. But there still are many farmers who have not tried cover crops because they are unsure about the costs.

    To help answer that question, the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, or NRCS, has developed a simple digital tool. The Cover Crop Economic Decision Support Tool is a spreadsheet that helps farmers, landowners and others make informed decisions when considering whether to add cover crops to

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    Seed catalogs inspire gardners, cattlemen

    Shortly after New Year’s Day, seed catalogs started showing up in area mailboxes. Devoted gardeners get excited to see catalogs arrive and most will sit down and start their “wish list” on seeds for the coming season.

    Eldon Cole, a livestock specialist with University of Missouri Extension, says he got that same level of excitement when the first 2015 artificial insemination catalog arrived.

    “There’s a greater connection between those catalogs – the seed catalogs for gardeners and the AI catalogs for livestock producers – than you might first

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    The sky’s the limit for UAVs in ag

    The next generation of farmhands might be able to leap over barbed-wire fences and towering cornstalks in a single bound.

    Rules restrict use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) now, but the future holds promise for many agriculture uses, said University of Missouri Extension specialists Bill Wiebold and Kent Shannon.

    The remote-controlled devices can fly above fields and quickly send information from attached sensors and cameras back to farmers on the ground.

    Farmers can download, evaluate and react to data quickly. Dense rows of crops

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    New Missouri Farm Bill includes new programs for farmers

    The 2014 Farm Bill contains provisions that many southwest Missouri farmers – crop, livestock, and dairy – should consider to help manage their risk.

    The alphabet soup of farm program provisions replaces all of the direct payment crop programs with new risk management tools and offers new risk management tools to livestock and dairy producers.

    “The important thing that all producers need to know is, that in some cases, if they fail to visit their USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) office and sign up before the deadlines, they

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    Show-Me-Select bred heifers average $2889

    Joplin Regional Stockyards was packed to the brim with folks anxious to see and bid on the 521 Show-Me-Select, bred heifers offered for sale on Nov. 21.

    After only 2 hours and 10 minutes, the heifers were sold by auctioneer, Jackie Moore for an average of $2889.

    “When you do the math, the sale total was $1,505,150. This represents quite an added value for the 10 or 12 months during which the heifers were being developed under the SMS requirements,” said Eldon Cole, livestock specialist with University of

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    Prairie seed harvest boosts MDC’s grassland restoration

    A prairie seed harvest that began in spring and continued through summer swelter, sometimes by hand, ended recently on a cold winter day. Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) staff and volunteers mixed and bagged wildflower and grass seed at the Wah’Kon-Tah Prairie. The seed was harvested from surviving prairie remnants managed by MDC and will be used to restore natural grassland habitat on public lands.

    “I’m here because I want to see the prairie grow,” said Octavio Lorenzo, a volunteer from rural Raymore, who is a member of the Osage Trails Missouri

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