Each block of instruction is approximately three hours and includes specific information for each topic. Participants will receive a copy of the materials of each section in a LA Master Cattleman notebook.

A summary of each topic is listed below, along with the research or extension faculty member assigned to present the material. Other faculty may provide instruction if the assigned member is not available.


Glen T. Gentry


This section will provide attendees with the basic biology of both the cow and bull. Physiological stages of female reproduction and the development of replacement heifers will also be covered. Attendees will also be introduced to managing reproductive efficiency using a variety of methods, including but not limited to, natural cover and artificial insemination. The practical use of Breeding Soundness Exams and the general reproductive management of the bull will be presented. Finally, the effect of calving difficulty on subsequent reproductive performance will be introduced, as well as methods that can be utilized to reduce dystocia within the cow herd. Following this module, the participant will have a general understanding what reproductive efficiency is and what tools can be utilized to increase overall reproductive performance within their herd.

Animal Health

Christine Navarre


The animal health session will provide information to help prevent the most common health problems seen in beef cow-calf herds. Topics include calving, calf health, parasite control, bio-security, and preventive medicine, including how nutrition, stress and genetics all contribute to beef cattle health.

Beef Quality Assurance (BQA)

Christine Navarre

Navarre_Christine2010DSCF6560jpgProducers who
participate in Master Cattleman will become BQA Certified. Beef
Quality Assurance is a nationally coordinated, state implemented program that provides systematic information to U.S. beef producers and beef consumers of
how common sense husbandry techniques can be coupled with accepted scientific
knowledge to raise cattle under optimum management and environmental conditions. BQA guidelines are designed to make certain all beef consumers can take pride in what they purchase – and can trust and have confidence in the entire beef industry.


Guillermo Scaglia


Nutrition represents approximately 65% of the cost of maintaining a cow-calf operation. In this class we will describe the ruminant animal and its digestive system. Understanding the nutritional requirements of different classes of cattle as well as on different physiological stages has major implications in the efficiency of production. We will discuss the importance of all major nutrients like water, protein, energy, minerals, and vitamins. The impact of nutrition on reproduction and the use of body condition score as an indicator of energy status . Important concepts such as nutritive value of forages and other feeds, supplementation and dry matter intake will also be presented.

Breeding and Selection

Gary M. Hay


This sections covers concepts of animal breeding including basic principles and terminology of animal genetics as well as practical applications of selection in a beef cattle herd. These concepts include basic genetics terminology, such as phenotypic and genetic variation, heritability of specific traits and genetic correlations among important traits in beef cattle. The program also covers important technologies such as Expected Progeny Differences (EPD’s), genetic markers, selection indices for multiple trait selection and mating systems such as crossbreeding. Practical applications also include establishing objectives and goals for improving phenotypic performance in a beef herd through animal breeding and selection.

​Animal Handling

Jason Holmes


Safe and effective cattle handling has always been important. Over the past decade there has been a move toward what has been called low-stress handling or as we prefer to call it, a return to sound, effective stockmanship. The animal industries cannot afford to allow any form of abusive behavior or handling of livestock. The culture of handling on any operation originates from upper management and is expressed by the workers on the ground. Most cattle handlers learned by watching someone else work stock. Everyone thinks they know how to “work cattle” because they have always been able to get the job done. The moment you admit you do not know everything is the moment you can start to get better.

​Pasture Agronomy

Ed Twidwell


Pasture agronomy covers the selection, production and management of forage grass and legume species that are adapted to Louisiana. Major topic areas discussed include plant growth and development, hay production, soil fertility and grazing management. The important role that forages play in successful beef cattle operations is emphasized.

​Weed Management

Ron Strahan


The Master Cattleman weed science lecture will instruct students on the biology and ecology of weeds, weed management techniques and methodologies, factors affecting chemical weed control, and the influence of environmental conditions associated with weed management. Additionally, students will receive the latest information concerning the identification and control of the most common weeds infesting forages in Louisiana.

​Economics and Marketing

Kurt Guidry

Kurt Guidry 2017jpg

This session covers several of the most influential factors impacting the management and economic performance and profitability of beef cattle operations. Topics covered can be categorized into two broad categories: Financial Management and Marketing. Financial management discussions are focused on basic production and financial record keeping along with developing production and financial indicators and benchmarks to monitor the performance of the operation over time. Marketing discussions are focused on identifying those major supply and demand factors that influence beef and cattle prices throughout the marketing channel.

End Product

Tim Page


This unit of the Master Cattleman Program brings together all aspects of today’s beef cattle industry for the producer. The story begins with the importance of proper genetics and selection, proper and humane handling of cattle, advantageously marketing the beef product being produced, ethical and humane harvesting of cattle, and the correct processing procedures in order to reach the ‘End Product’ that is sold attractively and wholesomely at the consumer retail level.

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The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture