Feb. 20, 2013 -- The UW-River Falls Department of Animal and Food Science, St. Croix Valley Bull Test, and UW-Extension will be hosting an educational program and open house on Saturday, March 16. The open house will allow producers to preview the bulls for the sale as well as provide a short educational program addressing current topics for cow/calf producers.
The open house, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., will be held at the UWRF Dairy Learning Center, on the Mann Valley Farm, located 2.5 miles northwest of River Falls at 129 South Glover Road.
The beef cattle industry has faced many challenges in the past few years. Input costs, especially feed costs, have increased significantly and farmers are seeking ways to better utilize forages for their herd. The open house will feature Grant Crawford, director of Beef Technical Services at Form-A-Feed Inc., who will discuss how to better utilize forages.
Feeder calf prices, on the other hand, have witnessed record highs and with another decrease to the U.S. beef herd this year, the demand for feeder calves should remain strong into the near future. Many farmers are considering retaining more heifers, but it can be expensive. Patrick Gunn, beef cow/calf extension specialist from Iowa State University, will address how to raise heifers more cost effectively.
The value of genetics should not be underestimated in management of herd efficiency. Amy Radunz, assistant professor of Animal & Food Science at UW-River Falls, will discuss the use of feed efficiency in bull selection. The St. Croix Valley Bull Test is measuring individual feed intake on bulls to evaluate feed efficiency this year. An overview will also be provided on how farmers can use genomics and performance data in selection of herd bulls.
Registration for the program will begin at 9:30 a.m. There is no charge for the program. The UWRF Beef Management Team will offer a lunch for $6/person. Pre-register by contacting the St. Croix County Extension Office at 715-531-1930.