MU Extension to showcase warm season grasses

University of Missouri Extension will hold a farm tour to highlight three successful farm operations that use warm season grasses in their forage program.

The tours will occur in Barry County starting at 4 p.m. on June 17.

Gene Cowherd, of Purdy, and Rex and Jaron Myers, of Purdy, have very successful native warm season grass stands that are being used in their hay operations. Their stands are dominated with big bluestem and Indiangrass.

Heat- and drought-tolerant warm season native grasses provide forage for cattle, especially during the summer slump when temperatures rise, rainfall diminishes and cool-season pastures wane.

They also can be outstanding options for high yielding hay, requiring less fertilizer than other forages and harvested at drier times of the year than when fescue should be harvested.

Mike and Janan Meier, of Monett, have been using improved varieties of crabgrass for their former dairy operation and now their beef operation. They have many years of experience using crabgrass as a summer grazing tool.

During the tour, Tim Schnakenberg, field specialist in agronomy with MU Extension, and the producers will discuss how to convert to warm-season grasses and how to manage them once established. They’ll cover other benefits such as nutrient needs, reduced endophyte exposure, and improved summer grazing and hay production.

A meal will be provided compliments of the MU & MDC Native Grass Group. Other sponsors of this event include NRCS and the Barry County Soil & Water Conservation District.

To register for the tour, get directions and reserve a meal, please pre-register by June 12 by calling the Barry County Extension Center at 417-847-3161, or emailing barryco@ People may also register online at

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