LSU AgCenter field day addresses variety of topics

Sidney M. Derouen, Van Osdell, Mary Ann, Whitmire, Johnnie G., Nipper, W. Allen, Owens, William E., Blazier, Michael  |  5/1/2008 1:31:12 AM

LSU AgCenter researcher Buddy Pitman said white clover needs a moist site, and cattle like it better than crimson clover. (Photo by Mary Ann Van Osdell) (Click on photo to download larger image.)

News Release Distributed 05/01/08

While producers have thought of ill-tempered or difficult-to-handle cattle as an inconvenience or potential health hazard, LSU AgCenter research has shown that cattle with excitable temperament tend to have negative effects on carcass quality.

Speaking at the LSU AgCenter’s Hill Farm Research Station during a field day on April 24, beef cattle project leader Dr. Sid DeRouen said results from this study indicate some important associations between temperament and growth and reproductive performances of beef heifers.

The field day attracted 150 people to hear and see the latest research on cattle, poultry, forestry and water quality.

DeRouen said Angus-sired heifers generally were more docile than Brahman-Hereford heifers. He based his findings on what he described as “chute scores” and “chute exit velocities.”

Chute scores are subjective, he said with a five given for “berserk” behavior and a one for an animal standing still. Exit velocity is measured by using a laser.

DeRouen concluded heifers with lower chute exit velocities had greater post-weaning gains. Brahman-Hereford heifers that became pregnant at their first breeding had lower chute scores and lower chute exit velocities than heifers that failed to conceive.

LSU AgCenter researcher Dr. Bill Owens said the station still does mastitis research, although it no longer had a dairy herd.

Owens also is studying water quality to evaluate the effectiveness of recommended agricultural procedures on cattle and forestry for buffer zones, restricted pond access and stream management zones.

The researcher is evaluating the effects of buffer strips on surface water quality following poultry litter application on test plots. Results thus far suggest no differences for phosphorous, nitrate, total nitrogen and total coliforms, he said.

Mixed stands of pine and hardwood trees can provide landowners with an economically and ecologically favorable mixture of forest products and environmental services, said Dr. Mike Blazier, assistant professor of forestry, addressing pasture replacement. He said the optimum mix and planting densities for retired pastures have not been well defined.

“Pines and oaks can really get along well together. They don’t slow each other down,” Blazier said. “Sweet gum and pine don’t co-exist very well together. Both are aggressive at growing upward and compete for the same amount of light.”

Johnnie Whitmire, assistant extension agent for poultry, gave a presentation at the new poultry demonstration facility, which consists of two poultry houses.

She said one building will be outfitted with tube heat and the other will have radiant brooders. Meters on the propane tanks serving each house will record daily fuel use, she said.

Temperature, ammonia and humidity sensors and feed scales will be used and recorded daily, she said.

Web cameras and an Internet site will be installed when the facility is opened, she said.

Jack Dillard, (Shreveport) Times agriculture columnist, opened the program with a talk on “Changing Agriculture in North Louisiana and Evolving Programs at the Hill Farm Research Station to Support the Region’s Agriculture.”

Dillard said he visited Hill Farm for the first time in 1959.

“This station was friendly then. It’s friendly now. I don’t know anybody on this station who gripes about things,” Dillard said. “Our people are interested in educating people in knowledge.”

Dillard said poultry, timber, beef cattle and agronomy are here to stay.

“4-H is here to stay. That may be our salvation. Use our youth and do a good job with them,” he said.

Dr. David Boethel, vice chancellor of the LSU AgCenter, said cattle represent a major commitment, with herds at eight of the AgCenter’s research stations.

Dr. Allen Nipper, LSU AgCenter regional director, said. “You don’t have to wait for a field day to visit with the researchers.”



Dr. Sid DeRouen at (318) 927-2578 or
Dr. Bill Owens at (318) 927-2578 or
Dr. Michael Blazier at (318) 927-2578 or
Johnnie Whitmire at (318) 927-2578 or
Dr. David Boethel at (225) 578-4181 or 
Dr. Allen Nipper, at (318) 927-2578 or

Writer: Mary Ann Van Osdell at (318) 741-7430, ext. 1104, or

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