MU Extension recruiting farmers for grassland improvement project

COLUMBIA, Mo. – University of Missouri Extension is recruiting farmers for a project aimed at improving the productivity of forage-based operations in areas dominated by tall fescue grass.

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,…

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, MDA give online listings of hay for sale

COLUMBIA, Mo. – University of Missouri Extension and the Missouri Department of Agriculture are helping livestock producers find hay.Their websites are seeing increased interest from buyers and sellers post-drought, says Tony Hancock, MDA market news manager.

Cornstalks can fill forage gaps during drought

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Grazing cornstalks or drought-stricken corn can fill feed gaps during drought, says University of Missouri Extension beef nutritionist Eric Bailey.There are some nutritional concerns, and producers must commit to moving cattle to new pastures to successfully use cornstalks as feedstuff, but there are benefits.

Native warm-season grasses help feed livestock through drought

The drought in Missouri has taken a toll on cool-season grasses, diminishing forage for cattle and other livestock.“Native warm-season grasses are the ideal forage for summer during the production slump of cool-season grasses due to heat, especially in a drought,” said Rusty Lee, University of Missouri Extension agronomy field specialist.

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.

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.

Use spray-wait-spray to renovate drought-stricken pastures

This is part of an MU Extension series to help row crop and livestock producers manage drought. For more articles, go to COLUMBIA, Mo. – Forage producers can convert tall fescue pastures to nontoxic novel-endophyte fescue without incurring the main expense usually associated with pasture renovation through mid-July.

MU Extension specialists report thin pasture stands, low yields

COLUMBIA, Mo. – University of Missouri Extension agronomists are reporting thin pasture stands and low yields statewide in the wake of re-emerging dry conditions.“Most barns are empty. Most fence rows are empty,” says Terry Halleran, an agronomist in Hickory County in southwestern Missouri. “Farmers are getting nervous.”

Save money on fertilizer with soil tests

CLEVER, Mo. – A soil test can help forage producers avoid the costly guessing game of how much fertilizer to buy and apply, says University of Missouri Extension agronomist Tim Schnakenberg. He recommends testing every three or four years.“If you’re not soil testing, you’re already behind,” he said March 7 at the Christian County Livestock and Forage Conference in Clever, Missouri. Know what you need when you order fertilizer to avoid…

MU agronomist gives post-drought pasture renovation tips

CLEVER, Mo. – While fall is the best time to consider pasture renovation, spring is the second-best time, so there is still time to help pastures get back in shape for the next season, says University of Missouri Extension agronomist Tim Schnakenberg.First, evaluate stand issues. Look at density of desired forages and undesired forages such as weeds. Before you start spraying weeds, look at poor management practices such as incorrect…

Proper hay storage, feeding methods reduce waste

CLEVER, Mo. –Due to poor storage and feeding methods, only about half of Missouri hay reaches the cow’s mouth, says University of Missouri Extension livestock specialist Andy McCorkill.This leads to waste and reduced profits, especially as producers reset their herds post-drought. “Make sure your high-value hay gets in the mouth of an animal,” says McCorkill.

'Sacrifice pastures' spare best cattle grazing pastures

STOCKTON, Mo. – So-called “sacrifice pastures” might be needed to help promote forage production the rest of this cattle grazing season, according to Patrick Davis, a University of Missouri Extension livestock specialist based in Stockton.“Cattle producers welcome the rain, but it leads to muddy pastures, and with limited forage resources following the drought, proper management is needed for optimum grazing the rest of the year,” says…

Get back to the basics on post-drought pastures

CLEVER, Mo. – Recurring drought calls for forage producers to get back to the basics of farming, says University of Missouri Extension agronomist Terry Halleran.“Practice standard farming practices to rebuild pastures following drought,” he says. Halleran spoke March 7 at the Christian County Livestock and Forage Conference in Clever, Missouri. Southwestern Missouri livestock producers have been especially hard hit from drought in…

Be ready to manage spring flush

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Get a head start on pastures for the year with good management of spring flush, says University of Missouri Extension state forage specialist Harley Naumann.Early decisions determine pasture health for the rest of the season, Naumann says.

Registration open for fescue workshop

MOUNT VERNON, Mo. – Registration remains open for the March 23 Alliance for Grassland Renewal workshop at the University of Missouri Southwest Research Center in Mount Vernon.The one-day workshop brings nationally known experts on toxic tall fescue to Missouri. They will tell how to renovate toxic tall fescue pastures and integrate novel fescue varieties into grazing systems, says Gene Schmitz, MU Extension field specialist in…

SW Missouri forage conference is Feb. 21 in Springfield

The 39th annual Southwest Missouri Spring Forage Conference is set for Tuesday, Feb. 21, at the Oasis Hotel and Convention Center, 2546 N. Glenstone Ave., Springfield.“As farmers and livestock grazers continue to deal with drought conditions and high input costs, the conference planning committee has themed the 2023 conference ‘Doing More With Less,’” said Patrick Davis, a University of Missouri Extension livestock specialist Patrick…

Workshop tells how and why to renovate tall fescue pastures

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Forage and beef producers can learn from world-renowned forage experts the how and why of renovating toxic tall fescue pastures at a March 23 workshop in Mount Vernon, Missouri.

Forage expert gives 4 top reasons to frost seed legumes

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Early February is the time to frost seed legumes into most Missouri pastures, says University of Missouri Extension state forage specialist Craig Roberts. Frost seeding, a method of broadcasting seeds onto frozen pastures, improves poor pastures at a low cost, Roberts says.

Boost profits by frost seeding legumes now

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Add legumes to fescue and other cool-season pastures at the right time to add pounds and profits to cattle. The right time is when pastures are frozen and snow-covered, says University of Missouri Extension state forage specialist Craig Roberts. Snow makes the seeds easier to see. Seeding on frozen ground also lessens the chance of rutting or compacting soils.

Winter is time to plan to beat the Summer Slump

KIRKSVILLE, Mo. – Winter is the time for livestock producers to prepare pastures for drought, says University of Missouri Extension state forage specialist Harley Naumann.Drought is now the rule rather than the exception in Missouri, Naumann says. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, somewhere in the state experienced drought every year but one since 2000.

How you feed hay this winter is more important than ever

GALENA, Mo. – With a shortage of standing forage for cattle and the low availability of hay, it is more important than ever this winter to reduce waste when feeding hay.Hay waste is normal, but it can be controlled and minimized, said University of Missouri Extension agronomy specialist Tim Schnakenberg.

Pastures, goats benefit from grazing an invasive species

GRAVOIS MILLS, Mo. – Cattle don’t like eating sericea lespedeza, an invasive species in Missouri pastures. But goats do, according to research at the University of Missouri’s Land of the Osages Research Farm in central Missouri.MU Extension forage specialist Harley Naumann found that goats are also getting a health benefit from sericea lespedeza.