Forage Systems Research Center Field Day tackles drought issues

FSRC Field Day

Drought was the main topic of interest during the annual Forage Systems Research Center field day, which took place on Tuesday, Sept. 11.

The event featured eight speakers, the majority of whom were focused on showcasing ways farmers and producers could deal with the drought-like conditions across a good portion of Missouri. Not only did farmers and producers from Missouri and surrounding states attend the event, five Linn County high schools also spent the morning at the Center.

“It was a great event, and I appreciate everyone taking a moment to come out and see what we’re researching at the Forage Systems Research Center,” Superintendent David Davis said. “The weather was just about perfect and our tour wagons were full throughout the morning.”

The field day had two wagon tours and a walking tour. Dusty Walter, director of natural resources with CAFNR’s Agricultural Research Centers, discussed managing timber resources during drought. State Climatologist Pat Guinan filled attendees in on how they can participate in the drought assessment process.

“Dusty and Pat have been regulars at our field day for years,” Davis said. “They do a great job with our attendees and provide important information to everyone who stops by.”

Eric Bailey, Joe Horner, and Blake Conrad were grouped together on one wagon tour. Bailey, a state beef Extension specialist, shared winter feeding options to help cow-calf producers through drought-induced feed shortages. Horner, a dairy and beef Extension specialist, presented on the economic impact of drought on livestock operations. Conrad, a Linn County Farm Service Agent, discussed the USDA programs available to help farmers through the drought.

“The drought has had a major effect on the cattle in our area,” Davis said. “We thought it was important to highlight what livestock farmers can do when dealing with the drought-like conditions.”

Gatlin Bunton, Josh Tooley, and Valerie Tate highlighted the second wagon tour. Bunton, a graduate student in weed science at MU, shared his results from evaluating the forage nutritive values of common pasture weeds. Tooley, a Mizzou graduate student studying forage physiology, talked about his sunn hemp/tall fescue research project. Tate, a Linn County Extension specialist, gave an update on stretching winter stockpile resources.

“We have some great students doing some really important research at FSRC,” Davis said. “Valerie plays a key role in Linn County, helping farmers all over the county.”