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MU FSRC adds drought topics to Sept. 25 field day

Dry weather has changed the tour topics, but there will be an MU field day, Sept. 25 at the Forage Systems Research Center in Linn County, Mo.

“It seems everyone has changed their talks,” says Dave Davis, superintendent of the University of Missouri farm northwest of Brookfield, Mo.

The program starts at 9 a.m. and includes a free beef lunch. There will be two wagon tours and one walking tour, Davis says.

Rob Kallenbach, MU Extension forage specialist, will describe dangers from high nitrate levels in many summer annual grasses. He will tell how to test for and alleviate those dangers.

“From early testing, it appears about 80 percent of forages will be usable,” Kallenbach says. “However, about 15 percent can be deadly.”

In a year of short forage supplies, Justin Sexten, MU Extension beef nutritionist, will tell feeding strategies. Farmers can extend winter feed supplies by cutting waste and using better ration formulation.

Craig Roberts, MU Extension forage specialist, will tell of new novel-endophyte tall fescue varieties. The cultivars can replace drought-stressed pastures of toxic Kentucky 31 fescue.

Kevin Bradley, MU weed specialist, will tell of his research on removing pasture weeds to improve yields in pastures and hayfields.

John Lory, nutrient management specialist with the MU Commercial Agriculture program, will talk about residual nitrogen management after a drought. Lory also conducts research at FSRC on hay feeding that helps spread nutrients evenly across pastures.

Wayne Bailey, MU Extension entomologist, will describe a two-year survey for dung beetles at FSRC. “I’m not sure what we will find this year, since it has been so dry,” Bailey says. “In a good year, 18 species of dung beetles can be found in Missouri.”

Two specialists from the Missouri Department of Conservation will discuss quail habitat improvement on the MU research center. They are Max Alleger, grassland bird coordinator, Clinton, Mo., and Brent Vandeloecht, private lands conservationist, Brookfield, Mo. They will explain programs available to landowners.

Jim Humphrey, MU Extension regional livestock specialist, Savannah, will show high-tech tools for measuring pastures. He will go beyond the measuring stick and rising-plate meter. Now, dry-matter yield per acre can be measured from a four-wheeler.

The man of the season will be climatologist Pat Guinan with the MU Commercial Agriculture program. He will tell how hot and dry it was, plus give a peek ahead. Visitors can come check his forecast for rain on the field day.

Not all stops are drought-related. Dusty Walter, MU forester, will demonstrate chainsaw handling and safety. Woodland owners will want to see this, Davis says. A portable sawmill will also be set up on the grounds.

Area vendors will exhibit forage and grazing equipment around the headquarters building.

FSRC is at 21262 Genoa Road, Linneus. To reach the center, go west from Brookfield on U.S. Highway 36, then north 6 miles on Highway FF to Genoa Road. Go west 1.5 miles to the headquarters.

From Linneus, on Missouri Highway 5, go east two miles on Highway P to the Finn Road exit, located on a sharp curve. Go south 1.75 miles to Genoa Road and turn east to the office.

FSRC is part of the Agricultural Experiment Station of the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, Columbia.

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