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.

Kentucky bluegrass: Too much of a good thing?

Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis) is a good, productive grass to include in forage mixtures in the Ozarks region, but having too much of this grass can limit production. Monitoring the amount of Kentucky bluegrass in the forage stand can be helpful to producers. This perennial cool-season grass is identified by the narrow, V-shaped leaf blades. The leaf tips are said to be boat- or canoe-shaped. The leaves are typically 1 to 7 inches…

Use summer annual forages to build your grazing forage base

STOCKTON, Mo. – “Summer annuals are a good way to add diversity and build pasture stands for the upcoming grazing season,” says Patrick Davis, University of Missouri Extension livestock field specialist. Summer annuals are a tool to improve thin pastures stands, help begin the renovations process and add forage diversity to improve cattle productivity. Davis will discuss some summer annuals that can help improve cattle grazing pastures…

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,…

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.

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.”

40th Annual Southwest Missouri Spring Forage Conference

The 40th SW MO Spring Forage Conference will be held Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024, at the Oasis Hotel and Convention Center, 2546 N. Glenstone Ave., Springfield, Missouri.

MU climatologist talks about drought impact on 2024 crops

COLUMBIA, Mo. – The annual University of Missouri Crop Management Conference, Dec. 6-7, will offer insight into how the 2023 drought will affect crops in the year ahead.MU Extension state climatologist Zack Leasor will give an update on weather and climate conditions that led to the onset and persistence of the 2023 drought across Missouri.

Cattle producers urged to watch for prussic acid poisoning

COLUMBIA, Mo. – University of Missouri Extension specialists urge producers to closely watch cattle grazing pastures with Johnson grass and other sorghum species.Cattle producers in several drought-stressed parts of Missouri have recently reported cattle deaths from suspected prussic acid or hydrocyanic acid (cyanide) poisoning, says Tim Evans, an MU Extension state specialist in animal health and veterinary toxicology.

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.

Cover Crop Decision Tool provides choices for grazing

TROY, Mo. – Row crop farmers have a Cover Crop Decision Tool to help them decide which cover crop will work best on their farms for potential fall/winter grazing.The free online tool simplifies decision-making and reduce risks for those wanting to plant cover crops, says University of Missouri Extension specialist Charles Ellis.The Cover Crop Decision Tool is an initiative of the Midwest Cover Crops Council. Ellis serves on the council…

MU Extension to hold crop and forage chat in Palmyra

PALMYRA, Mo. - Producers in northeastern Missouri can hear crop and forage updates from University of Missouri Extension specialists at a free event in August.The MU Extension Crop and Forage Chat will be 9-11 a.m. Friday, Aug. 11, at the Shawn Kiefaber/Kenny Lovelace Farm, 1 mile west of Palmyra, off U.S. 61 on County Road 318. In the event of rain, the event will move to the fairgrounds livestock barn at Flower City Park, 1000 W. New…

If you still have grass, grow now, graze later

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Small pockets of Missouri pastures may have gone unscathed by 2023 drought. Those lucky enough to have grass should consider stockpiling tall fescue, says University of Missouri Extension state forage specialist Craig Roberts.

Now is time for 911 emergency forages

This is part of an MU Extension series to help row crop and livestock producers manage drought. BOONVILLE, Mo. – Forage producers searching for options amid sustained drought should consider emergency forages, says Todd Lorenz, University of Missouri Extension agronomy specialist.The drought is not going away and producers need to find a way to fill feed gaps, he says. Three years of back-to-back drought leave producers searching for…

Drought meetings offered in SW Missouri Aug. 4

GALENA, Mo. – Poor forage stands carried over from last year’s drought, lower hay yields, less fertilizer used and a drought again for 2023 have created major uncertainty in the Missouri beef industry.These challenges will affect livestock producers preparing to feed cattle this winter with little forage and hay on hand, says Tim Schnakenberg, a University of Missouri Extension agronomy specialist based in Galena.

Seed for an 'annual pasture within a perennial pasture'

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Producers looking for ways to grow forages during drought might consider planting an “annual pasture within a perennial pasture,” says University of Missouri Extension state forage specialist Harley Naumann.Naumann says this is a good year to add cool-season annual grass seed to perennial pastures. Cool-season grasses can extend the growing season, provide excellent nutritive value and complement thin pastures.

Don't waste precious hay during drought

TROY, Mo. – Drought has pushed livestock producers to hunt for emergency hay.“If you are lucky enough to have hay, take special care to reduce waste this year,” says University of Missouri Extension specialist Charlie Ellis. “This is a good year to pinch pennies and plan on doing some extra labor.”Proper feeding reduces waste and lowers costs with a bonus of improving animal behavior and performance, says Ellis.

Top 5 livestock forage actions to take during drought

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Most of Missouri is experiencing drought conditions, which have extended almost a full year, putting enormous pressure on cattle producers. University of Missouri Extension specialists have five top action items for producers to do now:

Ammoniation stretches hay supplies during drought

This is part of an MU Extension series to help row crop and livestock producers manage drought. For more articles, go to, Mo. – As hay supplies dwindle, University of Missouri Extension agronomist Rusty Lee is showing forage producers how to use a simple, inexpensive treatment to stretch feed supplies during drought.

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.

What is the cost of baling wheat straw?

This is part of an MU Extension series to help row crop and livestock producers with drought.COLUMBIA, Mo. – With Missouri forage supplies in short supply due to drought, some livestock producers are looking at wheat straw as feedstuff, despite its poor nutrient quality.

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.”