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Beef Producers Learn Grazing Management

29 July 2011

US - Beef producers will discuss how grazing-management strategies can improve efficiency and help the environment on 11 August at a Purdue Veterinary Medicine field day.

The Integrated Resource Management, or IRM, Program event will be held from two till six pm at the Powell farm, 8745 W. Terre Haute Road, in Jasonville.

"Beef cows can be like young children and pick what tastes good instead of what's good for them," said W. Mark Hilton, clinical associate professor of beef production medicine and IRM coordinator.

"But we don't want the cows to be in charge of grazing – the beef producer should be."

Management-intensive grazing ensures that there is always plant matter growing in the pasture. Mr Hilton said this system is better for the environment because live roots absorb water and reduce surface runoff. It also doesn't require much extra labor or time, he said.

Farm owner David Powell will discuss his management strategy for rotating a beef herd through different pastures.

"Mr Powell has much to share with producers who want to improve their operations," Mr Hilton said.

"He's been making small improvements on his farm for the last 20 years. This is a great chance to learn from someone that has improved the forage component of his farm tremendously. He has also upgraded his handling facilities and will discuss the pros and cons of that system."

Other speakers are Tammy Swihart and Vic Shelton of the US Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service. There also will be discussion about applying for the NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives programme, or EQIP, which the government funds to help producers implement environmentally sustainable improvements on the farm.

The day is primarily for beef producers, but Mr Hilton said producers who graze sheep, goats and other livestock might find the clinic helpful.

"As farmers, the end goal is raising healthy, profitable animals," he said. "Feed is a huge part of the finances in raising a beef cow or other animal. By properly managing pastureland, beef owners can provide nutrients throughout the spring, summer, and fall."

The IRM field day is free, but the catered meal costs $10.

Advance reservations are required by the fifth of August and can be made by calling the Purdue Large Animal Hospital at 765-494-8548.

Participants attending the meal should have a credit card ready for the receptionist to take payment upon registration.

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