(05/04/23) HOMER, La. — The skies, though gloomy, did not deter a large crowd of beef cattle and hay producers from attending the LSU AgCenter’s beef and forage field day on April 27.
From market updates to drones for weed control to laboratory-grown beef, participants received a wealth of information about the current state of the beef industry.
AgCenter livestock agent Lee Faulk opened the meeting by introducing Corbitt Wall, the guest speaker.
Wall, a fourth-generation cattleman from Texas, market analyst for DV Auctions and producer of the Feeder Flash daily cattle market report, gave a mixture of good and bad news to the attendees concerning the cattle markets and the industry.
Cattle markets have improved considerably in the past few months, but persistently high input prices have negated some of the increases in cattle prices.
His advice to producers is to not continue doing the same thing. He told them to consider switching to a fall calving season, a practice that can enable producers to market their calves during a time of the year when prices are traditionally higher.
“In the U.S., 75% of the beef calves are born in the first half of the year, which leaves only 25% born during the second half of the year,” he said.
Other speakers on the program focused on information relevant to Louisiana beef cattle and hay operations.
Ron Strahan, AgCenter Northwest Region director and turf specialist, discussed pasture weed control, including the “hack and squirt” method for controlling unwanted trees.
The method uses a hatchet to break the bark and squirt herbicide into the opening to kill the tree.
Strahan said another way to control unwanted trees is to spray a combination of diesel and Remedy herbicide on the bark and leaves.
“This is a very effective method, but it is also a very messy operation,” he said. “You’d want to use a cheap sprayer because of the smell, and the diesel could damage your sprayer.”
Ashley Edwards, AgCenter beef specialist, discussed new regulations for antibiotics in beef cattle.
“Beginning this summer, the new regulation will go into effect, which will require a prescription for some antibiotics that are currently over the counter,” she said. “So you’ll need to get with your veterinarian in order to purchase commonly used antibiotics.”
Edwards said this is due to an increase in antibiotic resistance. Where some producers in the past could get by with one spray, now it’s taking two to three applications, she said.
Faulk reminded everyone to avoid building resistance in parasite population that plague Louisiana’s cattle herds.
“Producers need to rotate the active ingredients in products they use for internal and external parasite control,” he said. “Rotating active ingredients helps to mitigate resistance amongst parasites, which lowers efficacy levels of the products.”
AgCenter forage specialists Wink Alison and Buddy Pitman presented information on the limitations of some clovers in the pasture setting and the opportunities beef producers may be missing by getting rid of native grasses.
Alison said with ryegrass, there is no real reason to add something like crimson clover because these plants grow during the same time. Ryegrass is an excellent forage on its own, he said.
Pitman said native grasses have a place in the beef operation, but they are not an all-year forage.
“Native grasses offer a small window from spring through early summer where we can get earlier growth from them than from bermudagrass and bahiagrass pastures,” he said.
Following a sponsored lunch, Kyle Foret, owner of AgAir, LLC, gave a demonstration on how a drone can be used for pasture weed control.
Corbitt Wall, a fourth-generation cattleman from Texas, market analyst for DV Auctions and producer of the Feeder Flash daily cattle market report, gave a mixture of good and bad news to attendees at the LSU AgCenter beef and forage field day in Homer on April 27. Photo by Johnny Morgan/LSU AgCenter
Onlookers watch a drone demonstration for spraying a pasture during the LSU AgCenter beef and forge field day in Homer on April 27. Photo by Johnny Morgan/LSU AgCenter
Beef cattle at the LSU AgCenter Hill Farm Research Station in Homer. Photo by Johnny Morgan/LSU AgCenter