Thompson Research Center, where beef breeding trials started in northern Missouri, will host a field day Sept. 15. The University of Missouri research center is located at the end of Highway C west of Spickard, Mo., off of Highway 65.
The theme is "Management Strategies to Improve Beef Cattle Production." Rod Geisert is superintendent and MU professor in reproductive physiology, Columbia,
Talks and tours start after registration at 8:30 a.m. Exhibits and lunch will be provided.
Research at the farm led to nationwide adoption of artificial insemination (AI) protocols to breed all cows in a herd on one day. This brings uniform calf crops with less labor at calving time.
At the same time, genetics for quality beef were added to gain premium prices at harvest. Now Thompson Farm steers fed out grade USDA choice and prime. Packers consistently pay highest prices for prime grade beef.
At the field day the next step will be explained on using genomics to predict a calf's genetic merit at birth. A calf's DNA can be collected from drops of blood. The genome is a map of an animal's genes, which determine growth, performance and other traits.
Beef cattle in the herd were genotyped the last two years. The DNA tests will be matched with performance records of the calves. This helps test accuracy of genomic predictions.
Jared Decker, MU Extension beef geneticist, will tell of "Genetic testing of heifers." After lunch he will show "Genomic prediction in practice."
Dave Patterson, MU Extension beef specialist, will start the day with his new research, "Enhancing pregnancy rates with split-time AI."
Nutrition news for this year will be given by Shawn Deering, MU Extension specialist, Albany, Mo. His topic: "Forage quality and hay options." Allison Meyer, MU ruminant nutritionist, will follow with "Nutritional management after a wet summer."
Both speakers address problems with the large amount of low-quality hay baled this summer. Winter feeding will require ration supplements.
MU Extension veterinarian Craig Payne will tell "Antibiotic label changes: What you need to know."
Scott Brown, MU livestock economist, will talk on "Price risk management in face of more cattle."
During lunch MU forester Dusty Walter will explain "Getting the most value from your timber sale." He will tell prices received on tree sales this year from Thompson Farm.
After lunch, Walters will demonstrate a controlled burn and fire safety.
Groups of cows and calves from the beef herd will be seen. Geneticist Decker will discuss the groupings.
Producers can try to identify which cows are best as shown by genomics. The best-looking cows might not be most profitable cows in the herd.
The field day is of interest statewide and to nearby states, not just northern Missouri, Geisert says.
The Thompson Farm is part of the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, Columbia.
Press Release by Duane Dailey.