The University of Missouri (MU) Forage Systems Research Center at Linneus will hold its first field day in 10 years on Aug. 3.

“We want to give the public a better idea of our projects and research,” says Dave Davis, the center’s superintendent. “This is an opportunity for producers in the region to talk to MU specialists who are in high demand throughout the year.”

After registration at 8:30 a.m., the field-day program will highlight forage advancements, beef research and a walking tour led by forestry, weather and wildlife specialists.

Rob Kallenbach, MU Extension forage specialist, will tell why producers with fall-calving cow herds should wait to wean calves until summer.

“His research indicates that, instead of weaning fall-born calves in April, it could be to the producer’s advantage to use the spring flush of grass until June or July,” Davis says. “The numbers indicate that late weaning could boost profits.”

Fescue endophyte control will be discussed by Craig Roberts, Extension forage specialist. He will explain how the fescue fungus should be managed to protect herds.

“He’ll talk about the spring ‘fescue problem’ and discuss how to manage the toxins created by the endophyte,” says Davis. “If we just persuade a few growers to adopt what we are learning it will be worthwhile for years to come.”

Dale Blevins, plant scientist, will wrap up the forage tour with ways to mitigate grass tetany. Tetany, a condition in grass where nutrient uptake is limited, can cause serious problems, even death, in cattle, says Davis.

“When soil phosphorous is low, magnesium uptake drops in plants. This can lower blood magnesium levels, causing cows to become immobile. We had this occur at the farm a few years ago.” Blevins will tell what he learned about leaf sodium content after the Easter Freeze in 2007.

Topics on the beef tour range from storage of co-product feeds to efficient feeding and nutrition. Chris Zumbrunnen, Extension regional livestock specialist, will tell how to reduce problems in stored distillers grain. Bob Weaber, Extension beef geneticist, and Justin Sexten, beef nutritionist, will tell how to add value to calves by feeding and backgrounding.

Finally, during a walking tour of the center a wildlife specialist will tell of a nondestructive way to manage starlings. “Any time you feed livestock you have birds that can become pests. Through managed intensive grazing the pests are less apt to have nesting success,” says Davis. “Our research shows progress.”

The tours end with a lunch sponsored by agricultural vendors who will also have more than a dozen displays on-site. For more information on the center, go to