MU Wurdack Center to host free grass-fed beef production, marketing school

The University of Missouri Wurdack Extension and Education Center, in Cook Station, will host a free Beginners Grass-Fed Beef Production and Marketing School on May 31. “This is an introductory course for small-scale producers interested in switching to grass-fed beef to sell directly to consumers,” said Gatlin Bunton, director of Wurdack Center.

Sunn hemp can boost summer pastures

Frequent droughts in Missouri have livestock producers discussing more adaptable summer pasture options. “With tall fescue as the dominant Missouri forage, there are few options to enhance those fescue fields to graze through a long, hot, dry spell,” said Tim Schnakenberg, University of Missouri Extension agronomy field specialist.

Strong market results in strong bull sale in Springfield

STOCKTON, Mo. – There was a strong showing at the Southwest Missouri All Breeds Performance Test Bull Sale on March 25 at the Springfield Livestock Marketing Center in Springfield, says Patrick Davis, University of Missouri Extension livestock field specialist.

Can high cattle prices pay for mistakes?

SALEM, Mo. – With cattle prices at record high levels and many forecasts projecting relatively high prices for the next couple of years, some producers feel they can do no wrong. In times like these, even less-productive cows and mismanaged calves are likely to make a profit.

Use heifer pre-breeding exams as a culling tool and to prepare for breeding season

STOCKTON, Mo. – “As cattle producers rebuild their cattle herds, the focus may be to retain heifers as replacements,” says Patrick Davis, University of Missouri Extension livestock field specialist. Breeding season will soon be upon us, and it is important to retain heifers that are good breeding prospects.

2024 Missouri Grazing Schools start April 16

Missouri cattle producers can capture great value for their operations by attending grazing schools offered by University of Missouri Extension and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, says Tim Schnakenberg, MU Extension agronomy field specialist. Classes are scheduled throughout 2024, starting in mid-April. Over several days, each school will show producers how to increase profitability while protecting the land,…

Saving the herd with milo grazing

GREEN RIDGE, Mo. – Missouri cattle producer John Chamberlin didn’t want to sell his cows when drought lingered and hay supplies and forages dwindled last year. With more than 600 head of Angus cows, Chamberlin looked to the internet for ideas. A University of Missouri Extension video on the benefits of grazing standing milo intrigued him.

Plans for weaned fall-born calves

SEDALIA, Mo. – While spring calving and spring bull sales may dominate the producer’s current thought process, planning for weaned fall calves might slip through the cracks. Two items to pay close attention to for weaned calves is value of gain and cost per pound of gain. Having an idea of these two calculations can provide some guidance on how weaned calves should be managed.

MU livestock specialists on new MDA exhibition rules

New exhibition rules issued by the Missouri Department of Agriculture late last year for showing cattle and swine at county fairs and exhibitions go into effect this year. University of Missouri Extension specialists say the changes encourage healthy animals.

Show-Me-Plus: A DNA option for Show-Me-Select

COLUMBIA, Mo. – University of Missouri Extension’s Show-Me-Select Replacement Heifer Program offers a DNA option for participants called Show-Me-Plus.

What to do if you're short on hay this winter

COLUMBIA, Mo. – The recent cold snap increased hay needs for beef cows and is putting the squeeze on tight hay inventory. And without a wet winter to overcome soil moisture deficits, it is possible that grass growth rate will be delayed/slowed this spring.

What to feed when there's nothing to feed

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Many Missouri beef producers found themselves trying to pull a rabbit out of the hat as they rang in 2024 with low hay supplies, says University of Missouri Extension beef nutrition specialist Eric Bailey. Bailey says post-drought feeding woes leave producers challenged with “what to feed when there is no feed.”

MU Show-Me-Select program had successful 2023

University of Missouri Extension’s Show-Me-Select Replacement Heifer Program had a successful year in 2023 for both buyers and sellers, even with some impact on fall sales from drought. The fall 2023 sale season wrapped up with 928 Show-Me-Select heifers marketed through six sanctioned sale locations with gross sales of $2,544,825.

10 tips to bulletproof your beef operation

KIRKSVILLE, Mo. – Beef producers can use a window of profitability to make their farm business more bulletproof. University of Missouri Extension agricultural economist Joe Horner says successful beef producers can make small changes in three areas to make their farm less vulnerable to risks: plants, animals and business. Being good in just one of those three areas is not enough.

Pick Up Your Redbook

Recordkeeping is important to make management decisions for optimum cattle operation productivity and profitability.  Therefore, cattle producers should consider purchasing the 2024 shirt pocket size record book called the “Redbook” to aid in their record keeping practices.  These books are available at your local MU Extension Center for $7 per book. 

Utilizing corn stalks in beef cow rations

The spring grass hay crop was extremely poor across many regions of the state. Beef cattle producers are turning to alternative feeds in order to find winter forage for their herds. Baled corn stalks are going to be one of the more available forage sources for many producers. A discussion of their quality and use is certainly appropriate.

Management strategies to be successful in heifer development

Drought has led to historic declines in cattle numbers in Missouri.  As weather and cattle price become favorable for cattle herds to rebuild, add value to a cattle operation through heifer development.  This article will discuss cattle management strategies of the Missouri Show-Me-Select (SMS) Replacement Heifer Program that will help cattle producers be successful in heifer development and adding value to their operation.

Missouri Steer Feedout

Are you a cattle producer that has a small number of cattle but wants to experience feeding cattle in the feedyard, evaluate your cattle’s feedyard performance, and determine whether your cattle meet certain targets at slaughter that influence their profitability?  Then consider enrolling steers in the Missouri Steer Feedout.  This program is a cooperation between MU Extension, Southwest Missouri Cattlemen’s Association, Missouri…

Bull development and management for optimum breeding season performance

STOCKTON, Mo. - Bull development and management is important to promote optimum breeding season performance.  Optimum breeding season performance promotes optimum herd pregnancy rates which is important to cattle herd productivity and profitability.  Therefore, this article will provide tips in selection, development, and management of bulls for optimum breeding season performance. 

A No. 2 pencil is a beef producer's best tool

COLUMBIA, Mo. – One of the most important tools for livestock producers is a sharp No. 2 pencil.The pencil and some basic arithmetic can help take the emotion out of desperate measures to find feed. When you do the math, buying grain or other alternative feeds may be the best bang for the buck, says University of Missouri Extension agricultural business specialist Wesley Tucker.

MU Extension offers Direct Marketing Beef School

UNION, Mo. – Cattle producers are invited to the first-of-its-kind Direct Marketing Beef School, offered Aug. 17-18 in Union, Mo., by University of Missouri Extension livestock specialists.The two-day training follows four successful Beef Feedlot Schools over the past two years, said MU Extension state beef specialist Eric Bailey.

Early weaning calves to reduce nutrient needs during drought

STOCKTON, Mo. – “Early wean calves to reduce cow herd nutrient needs to match drought-limited feed resources,” says Patrick Davis, University of Missouri Extension livestock field specialist. In addition, early weaning can improve calf performance because calves are put on a more nutritious diet following weaning.Davis discusses strategies to help cattle producers be successful in early weaning calves:

Things to consider as you feed your way through the drought

“Cattle producers are dealing with varying degrees of drought and forage resources,” says Patrick Davis MU Extension livestock field specialist. Some cattle producers have received adequate rain and are recovering from the 2022 drought through rebuilding forage and cattle resources. Other cattle producers have received limited rain and are continuing to deal with drought conditions from 2022 with less resources in 2023.

It's time to remove fescue seed heads to reduce toxins

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Missouri forage producers should begin removing seed heads from tall fescue grass pastures soon to reduce toxic endophytes that thwart herd health and profits, says University of Missouri Extension state forage specialist Craig Roberts.

Time to scout for ergot

COLUMBIA, Mo. – University of Missouri Extension state forage specialist Craig Roberts says now is the time to check for ergot in the seed heads of grasses. Ergot can cause severe illness in livestock, especially cattle and horses. One early sign is yellow syrup drops called honeydew in flowering seed heads. Honeydew hardens and turns into dark ergot bodies, which look like mouse droppings and are up to 10 times the size of the grain.