Monday, 20 August 2012

Grazinglands Research Station - 15/8/12

Leah and I left the Noble Foundation and travelled to El Reno, Oklahoma to the Grazinglands Research Laboratory. This research laboratory mission is to develop and deliver improved technologies and management planning systems for integrated crop, forage, and livestock systems under variable climate, energy and market conditions. 

Dr David von Tungeln, the Veterinary Medical Officer (Forage and Livestock Production Research Department) at the research lab gave us a tour of the grounds and where they conduct research across a broad range of topics of special interest to livestock producers in the Great Plains. The research focuses on solving problems in two topical areas: genetic improvement and management of forages, which requires scientific expertise in agronomy and plant genetics; and livestock production, which requires expertise in animal nutrition and genetics.

The Research Station practice a holistic grazing system with a similar 32 inch annual rainfall.   Most of the cattle producers in America mate their maiden heifers at 14 months of age, with them calving out at around 24 months of age.    They have brangus based cows at the facility where they cross them either with a red angus, bland angus or a charolais bull on a 60 day mating period.  I was quite surprised to learn that wheat forage compared to forage sorghum had better weight gains per day.  (e.g.  cattle that were flash grazed on wheat pastures were putting on 3 pounds and over a day and cattle flash grazing on forage sorghum were putting on 2 to 2 1/2 pounds per day).  The Research Station are also conducting trials planting legumes into pastures to increase soil fertility.

Dr David von Tungeln and his wife Mary Beth had dinner with us where his knowledge on beef cattle and pastures was endless.   We would like to thank all the staff at the Research Station for their knowledge and time spent with Leah and I.

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