BarCo Soils and Crops Conference to focus on forage

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Annual event slated for Jan. 23 at Cassville’s First Christian Church

Livestock profitability, how to read hay and fertilizing strategies will be the topics for the 91st annual Barry County Soils and Crops Conference, slated for 6 p.m. on Jan. 23 in Cassville.

Reagan Bluel, conference organizer for the University of Missouri Extension, noted that an ongoing discussion among cattlemen for years has been whether or not it pays to sell cattle to a feed lot to reach finishing weight or to keep them on the farm and feed them locally to capture the highest price at market. With the cattle market changing, that topic will be addressed by long-time livestock specialist Eldon Cole, who will bring results from southwest Missouri producers who have sent their cattle to Iowa for finishing.

“There’s been a flux of local interest to determine if retained ownership will help them ‘retain profits.’” Bluel said. “Eldon has been invited to tell us about the years of experience working with southwest Missouri producers sending their cattle to Iowa, tracking the profits and losses of steers on feed. Producers will leave with data driven economic analysis on this important topic.”

In light of seasonal issues impacting the growing seasons for forage, Bluel will apply her knowledge as a ruminant nutritionist to hay samples. She will provide a simple math formula for calculating the needs of each producer's herd. Mike Hickinbothom, from Custom Labs, will be present to discuss "How to determine which commodity most affordably covers the herd's needs."

Custom Labs is offering a hay test covering basic information for $12. Producers are asked to bring a hay sample from the farm, along with a pencil for calculations.

The final speaker will be Peter Scharf, University of Missouri state soil specialist, who will adddress how to evaluate the benefits of potassium and sulfur in the fertility management program.

The conference will again be held at 6 p.m. on Jan. 23 at the First Christian Church, located at 905 Old Exeter Road in Cassville. John Sullivan is catering the meal.

Cost for the conference, including the meal, is $5 in advance or $10 the night of the event. Payment can be made at the Extension office in the second floor of the historic Barry County Courthouse or online at Click the links to "events" and "Barry County Soils and Crops."

The conference is sponsored by Arvest Bank, Barry County Co-op, Main Street Feeds, MFA, Purdy Farm Center and Security Bank.

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