Hill Farm Research Station Profile

William Owens, Pitman, William D., Nipper, W. Allen, Blazier, Michael  |  5/7/2010 12:21:47 AM

Researcher feeding beef cattle

Dr. Pitman speaking on clover forages at the Hill Farm Research Station field day

Dr. Blazier near switchgrass and pine tree plots at the Hill farm Research Station.

You may access a PDF version of the Hill Farm Research Station Profile below.

Research: Focus / Highlights / Significance / Facts / Future Plans / Office Information

Hill Farm Research Focus is to enhance research in:


Research Highlights:

Beef Cattle

The Hill Farm Research Station has a long history of conducting research to support the Louisiana beef cattle industry. Past research has involved various aspects of beef cattle management and breeding to enhance productivity and profitability of cow-calf enterprises in pasture-based production systems. Parasite control programs and grazing strategies for stocker cattle programs and replacement heifer development have also been studied. Continuing research will include studies evaluating feed efficiency and diets in stocker cattle, impacts of feed efficiency on cow/calf production, and nutritional impacts on fertility. The goals of these studies are to identify evaluation of opportunities to reduce inputs and increase production efficiency to maintain profitability of beef cattle production.



Forage research at the Hill Farm Research Station has provided improved varieties, fertilizer recommendations and weed control approaches for highly productive Bermuda grass pasture and hay production. Recommendations for use of poultry litter as a pasture fertilizer, while maintaining quality of runoff water, are also important contributions of past forage research at the Hill Farm. Current forage research involves assessment of approaches for using various additional forage species, including legumes, to complement forage systems based on the warm-season perennial grasses Bermuda grass and Bahia grass.



The current forestry program at the Hill Farm Research Station involves both research and extension components, which are expanding on a base of long-term research supporting production of pulpwood, timber, and agroforestry grazing. Research on planting, harvesting, fertility improvement, and agroforestry practices for loblolly pine and upland hardwood plantations and agroforests is ongoing to enhance profitability and environmental benefits of forestlands of Louisiana.




Bovine mastitis research has been conducted at the Hill Farm Research Station for more than 50 years and continues to serve the dairy producers of Louisiana and the nation. Research on antimicrobial susceptibility of mastitis pathogens, therapeutic products and efficacy of teat dips are current topics of interest. The Louisiana Mycoplasma Mastitis Control Program is evaluating milk samples for the presence of this important and contagious mastitis pathogen.



A new area of research and extension activity at the Hill Farm supports the poultry industry. Two broiler demonstration houses evaluate new poultry production techniques. The initial evaluations compared tube heat with radiant brooders. Temperature sensors, ammonia sensors, humidity sensors and feed scales were used to evaluate the two heat methods. Comparisons were made between the two methods for bird production, bird health and cost of production. In addition, microbiological samples were collected from birds and litter. Organisms are being compared with similar strains from beef, humans and the environment for antimicrobial susceptibility.

A recent NRCS CIG grant is funding evaluations of poultry BMPs including windrowing, and stacking of poultry litter. In addition, fan dust is being evaluated for its impact on water quality. The grant will fund training of extension agents and poultry producers on BMPs and provide opportunities for producers to participate in the Louisiana Master Farmer Program.


Water Quality

Because agricultural practices have the potential to affect water and soil quality, scientists at the Hill Farm Research Station are studying these practices to ensure the continued safety of our water supplies and the food we eat. Guidelines called best management practices are used by dairy, poultry, forestry and beef producers to ensure that agriculture does not negatively affect the environment. Research is being conducted at the Hill Farm Research Station to determine which of these management practices work best. The impact of poultry fan dust is currently being evaluated by collecting water runoff samples near fans to determine the impact of fan dust on runoff water.


Significance of Research

  • Results of long-term research programs in beef cattle, pastures and forestry continue to contribute to profitability and competitiveness of these industries in north Louisiana.
  • Along with the extensive contributions from mastitis research over the years, the recent Louisiana Mycoplasma Mastitis Program has provided particularly timely and effective support of the dairy industry throughout Louisiana through identification of cows and herds with the highly contagious mycoplasma form of mastitis.
  • Evaluation of best management practices for beef, forestry and poultry contributes to selection of appropriate management practices for these enterprises.
  • Bermuda grass varieties and management programs from past research at the station contribute to productivity and sustainability of hay production across the region.
  • Evaluation of poultry BMPs, equipment and management techniques will help poultry producers make decisions to increase their profitability.


2014 Industry Facts

  • Forestry in Louisiana contributed $2.5 billion to the state economy and involved 150,000 landowners on 14 million acres.
  • Poultry in Louisiana contributed $1.01 billion to the state economy and involved 1,261 producers providing 900 million pounds of meat and 255 million eggs.
  • Beef cattle in Louisiana contributed $590 million to the state economy and involved 10,900 producers with 622,000 head of cattle and calves.
  • Hay production in Louisiana contributed $155 million to the state economy and involved 3,440 producers on 353,800 acres producing 1.1 million tons along with additional hay produced for on-farm use.
  • Dairy production in Louisiana contributed $50 million to the state economy and involved 125 dairy herds producing 203 million pounds of milk.


Data from the Louisiana Ag Summary
Website: http://www2.lsuagcenter.com/agsummary/

Future Plans

  • Forestry research projects are in development to better understand forest establishment and development under drier climate conditions and to develop upland hardwood plantations that can aid in meeting hardwood demands for conventional forest products and pellets.
  • Recent and continuing biomass production research is providing an information base for landowners in the region to share in anticipated opportunities for new sources of income from forests and grasslands.
  • Contributions from developing collaborative research and demonstration efforts from the Hill Farm Research Station, LSU AgCenter Extension programs and the poultry industry are expected to provide opportunities for improved economic efficiency and profitability in local broiler production.
  • New directions in beef cattle research will provide insights for increasing efficiency of production from pasture-based management strategies.


Other Goals:

  • Continue to help dairy producers with mastitis problem herds.
  • Evaluate dairy bulk-milk samples quarterly for mycoplasma mastitis.
  • Screen poultry and beef cattle for high-interest human pathogens and determine antimicrobial susceptibility of these organisms.
  • Continue long-term forestry research assessing alternatives for enhanced profitability of forestlands with an increasing emphasis on opportunities presented by demands for biomass-derived fuels and on effects of drier climate on forest establishment and development.
  • Provide information on beef cattle management options to increase production efficiency of enterprises based on forages.
  • Identify forage plants and pasture management approaches which can decrease cost of production of beef cattle in Louisiana.

Hill Farm Research Station Office

Address: 11959 Hwy 9
Homer, LA 71040

Location: From I-20 : Take the Arcadia/Homer exit (#67), Turn north on Louisiana Highway 9, station office is approximately 16 miles on the right.

Phone: 318-927-2578
Fax: 318-927-9505
Office Hours: 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Email: Hiillfarm@agcenter.lsu.edu
Web site: www.LSUAgCenter.com/HillFarm

Dr. Patrick Colyer
Research Coordinator/Professor/Regional Director



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