Poultry, biofuels, beef cattle among topics at Sept. 15 Hill Farm Field Day

News Release Distributed 09/06/11

HOMER, La. – LSU AgCenter scientists will present the latest information on the two new poultry demonstration houses, managing switchgrass in pine forests for the biofuels market, and beef cattle and forage management at the Hill Farm Field Day on Sept. 15.

Registration is at 11 a.m., lunch will be served at noon, and the event starts at 1 p.m.

Bill Owens, LSU AgCenter professor, will give a summary of the evaluation of tube heaters versus brooder type heaters in the poultry houses and the amount of money saved. Preliminary information indicates tube heaters cost $824 less to operate per house per year, he said.

Future plans for the poultry houses include a Web page online in the fall, litter barn construction in the winter of 2012 and new studies on the antimicrobial susceptibility of poultry organisms, darkling beetle control and optimum air speed through the houses to cool the birds.

Research is under way at the Hill Farm Research Station to explore ways in which switchgrass, a plant identified by decades of research as a model bioenergy crop, can be cultivated between rows of the abundant pine trees of Louisiana, said Mike Blazier, LSU AgCenter forester.

Managing switchgrass among pine trees reduces the risks of entering the new biofuels market by diversifying the biofuel crop with revenues from traditional forest products, he said. This study has shown that the switchgrass can benefit from trees because moderate shading reduces weeds without reducing switchgrass growth.

Ryon Walker, LSU AgCenter beef cattle researcher, will discuss evaluating efficiency and performance of beef cows fed a liquid-base protein supplement or dried distillers grains plus solubles during the winter.

He will also give a presentation on cow size and its effects on feed, fertility and production efficiency in beef production systems in Louisiana. “Increases in cow size can negatively affect returns,” he said.

Identifying and using tools to evaluate those relationships will be critical to keeping a beef producer’s costs manageable, Walker said.

For more information on field day, people can call the station at (318) 927-9654. The station is located south of Homer at the junction of U.S. 79 and Louisiana 9.

Continuing Education Credits will be available for veterinarians (3.5 CEU) and for Certified Crop Advisers, Owens said.

Mary Ann Van Osdell
9/7/2011 3:13:32 AM
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