UT beef heifer development school set for May 4

Friday, April 14, 2017
UT Ag Extension Agent Matthew Webb is preparing to host cattle producers from across the state during an educational field day at UT’s Experiment Station in Lewisburg May 4.
Photo by Jay Langston

The cattle industry in Marshall County has a long history, and resourceful area farmers often seek ways to improve their herds... and their bottom lines.

“The state’s cow herd was the smallest (last year) since 1950,” University of Tennessee Agriculture Extension Agent Matthew Webb said. “The 2007 and 2012 droughts hit us hard.” Tennessee is typically in the top 10 in cow/calf production in the US, as well as being in the top two or three states east of the Mississippi River.

As beef prices soar at the grocery store, and more full-time and part-time farmers get into beef production, learning the latest science makes good business sense.

The University of Tennessee Extension in Marshall County is providing an educational opportunity for beef producers to become more educated on how to produce quality, productive replacement beef heifers. The Beef Heifer Development School will be held May 4, 2017.

The Beef Heifer Development School will begin at 10 a.m. at the Dairy Research and Education Center located at 1070 New Lake Road in Lewisburg, TN.

This event will dive into the topics of economics, health, reproduction, nutrition and forage systems specific to developing beef heifers. UT specialists and agents will be providing presentations and hands-on demonstrations. All aspects of rearing cows is important, but nutrition is the biggest cost, Webb added, with 50 to 70 percent of the cost of raising a cow going into its food.

The cost of this program is $25 per participant and includes lunch, snacks and program materials. Deadline to apply is April 28, 2017.

“With the recent downturn in beef prices, developing quality beef replacements is even more critical. Input costs are still a challenge, so producers still need to find ways to improve beef heifer quality so that the future beef herd will be more productive and profitable” Webb said. “It’s one thing to increase a cow herd, compared to increasing the quality of a cow herd.” This approach is the most logical, owing to the idea that it typically takes 30 months to get a financial return on a brood cow.

This event will take place at the UT Beef Heifer Development Unit located at the Dairy Research and Education Center at 1070 New Lake Rd in Lewisburg, TN. The UT Beef Heifer Development Unit was organized as a partnership between University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, Tennessee Department of Agriculture and Tennessee Farmer’s Cooperative. Currently, the unit is in its second year and provides beef producers an excellent visual of sound practices that can be used to develop heifers.

For more information or to register for this event, contact the UT Extension Marshall County Office at (931) 359-1929, or email Webb at dwebb15@utk.edu. Fees and registration forms may be mailed to UT Extension Marshall County 230 College Street Suite 130 Lewisburg, TN 37091.