Cattle Forage Producers Hear Latest Research Results At Field Day

William Pitman, Sanson, David W., Chaney, John A., Stevens, Jr., J. Cheston, Boethel, David J.  |  5/16/2005 11:51:55 PM

LSU AgCenter animal scientist Dr. David Sanson explains the research being conducted on 250 animals at the Rosepine Research Station. The steer calves in the background are in a rotational grazing study and will be shipped to a feed lot when they graze these pastures down.

LSU AgCenter county agents Tommy Shields (on the all-terrain vehicle) and Allen Hogan (at left), explain the procedures for calibrating a sprayer to apply pesticides according to the label directions during an educational session at the Beef and Forage Field Day at the Rosepine Research Station.

The two Red Angus bulls are being used as examples of how to use Expected Progeny Differences (EPD) records to compare genetically transmitted traits to offspring. The demonstration was made for a group of producers attending the LSU AgCenter Beef and Forage Field Day.

News Release Distributed 05/16/05

ROSEPINE – Cattle and forage producers learned about the latest techniques to manage their operations and remain competitive during a Beef and Forage Field Day May 5 at the LSU AgCenter’s Rosepine Research Station.

"Cattle research is being conducted at eight research stations in the state," explained Dr. David Boethel, the LSU AgCenter’s vice chancellor and director of research.

Boethel said the wealth of topics involved in that research includes grazing cow/calf and stocker cattle, nutrition, cull-cow management, genetics to improve carcass and tenderness traits of Brahman cattle and a number of studies on reproductive technology.

"It is important for the research information to be disseminated through county agents to cattle producers in the state," said Boethel of the ways the LSU AgCenter attempts to get research information out to the people who need it.

During this field day, LSU AgCenter faculty members conducted two tours at the Rosepine Research Station – one tour featured forage and the other beef cattle research.

During the forage tour, producers learned about the variety trials being conducted on ryegrass and the importance of selecting varieties resistant to blast disease. They also saw demonstrations on soil testing, sprayer calibration and the how to use a global positioning system.

LSU AgCenter forage researcher Dr. Buddy Pitman said ryegrass producers were hit hard by blast and armyworms last season. That was especially true for producers who planted early, he said.

"It is important for producers to select a variety with some resistance to blast if they plant early," said Pitman, adding that the disease usually occurs following prolonged overcast skies and wet field conditions.

"This is a good field day," said Robert Hinckley, a cattle and forage producer from Opelousas, adding, "I came to learn about blast on ryegrass."

To be successful growing forages, producers should test their soil and follow the recommendations to replace soil nutrients removed by crop production and leaching, said LSU AgCenter soil specialist J. Cheston Stevens, who demonstrated the procedure for collecting a soil sample by using a soil probe and a shovel.

"A routine soil test costs $7 and will give producers recommendations for adding nutrients for the crop they wish to grow," said Stevens, adding, "A soil sample should be taken every three years."

Cattle need many of the nutrients in the soil for normal growth, and they can get them through good forage or by supplementation, he said.

At the same time as the forage tour, a beef cattle tour was conducted. In that tour on the Rosepine Station, participants learned how to use progeny records to select replacement breeding animals to enter the herd. They also learned about how the 250 cattle on the station were used for research to study supplements, forage grazing, insecticide resistance and electronic animal identification.

"The steers in the rotational grazing project will be moved to another paddock until they graze all the ryegrass down," said LSU AgCenter animal scientist Dr. David Sanson, adding, "It is more cost effective to add weight to the steers with ryegrass than in the feedlot, since the cost of developing the pastures has been spent."

The steer calves will be shipped to the feedlot when the grass is gone, he said.

To further develop the National Premise Identification program in the state, Dr. Martha Littlefield, assistant state veterinarian with the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, was at the field day to explain the program and register the farms and other premises in the electronic national animal identification system.

Other topics discussed at the field day included sprayer calibration, the use of global positioning systems, facility planning and cattle handling.

Last year the beef cattle industry contributed $365 million to the economy of the state, according to the Louisiana Summary of Agriculture and Forestry published by the LSU AgCenter.

In addition to the other field day activities, the Beauregard Cattlemen’s Association sponsored an industry trade show and Beef Quality Assurance program at the site.

The trade show was provided to stimulate economic development among cattle producers and industry suppliers in the area, officials said.

For more information on the production of cattle, forage or other agricultural products, contact any parish office of the LSU AgCenter or visit the Web site at


David Boethel at (225) 578-4181 or
William Pitman at (337) 463-7708 or
David Sanson at (337) 463-7708 or
J. Stevens at (318) 427-4424 or
John Chaney (318) 473-6589 or

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