Southwest Center Field Day set for Sept. 12

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Field Day at University of Missouri's Southwest Center near Mt. Vernon is Sept. 12 and will feature tours of research on forages, dairy, beef, horticulture, and a special tour on growing grapes in southern Missouri.

"We've planted a new vineyard with over 700 grape vines," said Rich Crawford, superintendent. "We'll evaluate the varieties best suited for our region." MU researchers will also compare irrigation methods.

On the traditional horticulture tour, Andrew Thomas, MU assistant research professor, Mt. Vernon, will show research plots of flowers, fruits and vegetables near the headquarters building. Other topics include garden soil improvement and vegetables for the home garden.

On the beef tour, Monty Kerley, MU beef nutritionist, Columbia, will show a new feeding building on the north farm. Researchers can monitor residual feed intake (RFI) with GrowSafe bunks that weigh feed eaten by each calf. Heifers that have been measured for feed efficiency will then be grazed on new paddocks built near the beef barns.

Eldon Cole, MU Extension regional livestock specialist, Mt. Vernon, will talk about how to save on mineral supplements in the face of higher phosphorus costs.

The forage tour, led by Rob Kallenbach, MU Extension forage agronomist, Columbia, will look at "How does RFI affect pasture stocking management?"

Tim Schnakenberg, MU Extension regional agronomist, Galena, will give tips on inter-seeding legumes into grass pastures. Legumes that fix nitrogen are becoming more important as the price of fertilizer increases.

The impact of rising costs will also be discussed at the grazing dairy tour. Barry Steevens, MU Extension dairy specialist, Columbia, will talk on "How are pasture-based dairies coping with high grain prices?"

Wayne Prewitt, MU Extension agricultural business specialist, Nevada, will describe economic models for pasture-based dairies.

MU veterinarian Tessa Marshall, Columbia, will describe health issues in dairy heifers.

On the grazing paddocks of the dairy farm, Stacey Hamilton, MU regional dairy specialist, Greenfield, will tell how they "measure, monitor and manage forages."

Wagon and bus tours start at 9 a.m., with free registration prior to tours. Lunch tickets will be given to the first 1,000 to register.

Southwest Center is four miles west of Mt. Vernon on Hwy H. For more information, call 417-466-2148.

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