Three-day grazing school set
ROBERTS BURNS/Texas &M AgriLife Communications photo
Working cow dogs will be one of the more entertaining presentations at the livestock and pasture management school.
OVERTON -- “It’s been a long time since beef producers had this good of a chance of off-setting their production costs,” said Dr. Monte Rouquette, Texas A&M AgriLife Research forage scientist. But those new to the business can still find it a money pit if they don’t have the proper training, Rouquette said.
A three-day intensive class in East Texas on March 26-28 is designed to do just that: to give those new to the business the prerequisite training to be successful in the beef cattle business, he said.
Rouquette is optimistic about the chances of success for novice and experienced beef producers because of unusually high prices for weaned calves. Though production costs remain high, at current prices, it’s possible to gross $500 to $1,000 for a weaned calf, he said.
Returns vary so widely because lighter calves -- those in the 500-pound range -- are selling for as much as $1.40 to $1.50 per pound, while heavier calves may sell for $1.10 per pound.
Another reason is tied to fertilizer prices, Rouquette said. Though they remain high since a surge in prices from 2008 through 2010, they haven’t climbed much since, while calf prices have risen dramatically.
The school is split between the classroom and instruction in the field. Outdoor demonstrations cover all aspects of running a beef operation, from establishing and maintaining high-quality forages and calibrating sprayers to taking soil samples, castrating and vaccinating cattle, and de-horning calves.
Also included will be training on writing a business plan for a ranch, and keeping proper records.
Another subject, dealing with wild pigs, aka feral hogs, has become crucial to ranchers throughout Texas. There will be extensive instruction on trapping and other types of control by Dr. Billy Higginbotham, AgriLife Extension wildlife specialist, Overton, and a nationally recognized expert in the field.
Registration for the course is $350, and may be done online at http://overton.tamu.edu/grazing-school-2013/.
Alternately, students may reserve an opening by phone or email by contacting Jennifer Lloyd at 903-834-6191 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Robert Burns has nearly 30 years’ experience writing about agriculture and agricultural-related research. He writes about Texas AgriLife Research and Texas AgriLife Extension Service activities at the Overton Center and centers in Stephenville and Temple.