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Rain or not, start planning this fall, experts say

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service personnel will conduct a training, “Rebuilding the Beef Herd: Planning to capture opportunities,” Nov. 19.

Whether East Texas has a dry or wet fall and good or poor pasture conditions, this fall is the time to have a beef herd expansion plan in place, said Aaron Low, AgriLife Extension agent for Cherokee County.

“Those with serious intent to enter, rebuild or expand their beef operation can’t wait until rains come and pastures are completely healed to develop a plan,” said Ron Gill, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension livestock specialist, College Station. “A plan must be in place when opportunity presents itself.”

Held at the Norman Activity Center, 526 E. Commerce St., Jacksonville, registration is $40 per person, includes lunch, and must be paid in advance by Nov. 15, he said. To register, go to or call 979-845-2604.

There are pros and cons to rebuilding a herd now, Low said. One of the cons is the uncertainly about weather patterns. Another is the high cost of replacement cows.

“The January 2012 Texas beef cow inventory was 660,000 cows smaller than it was just a year before, due largely to the drought,” said Rick Machen, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension livestock specialist, Uvalde.

“But those same factors mean market prices are charting record highs,” Machen said. “The smaller cow inventory combined with high input costs, competing uses for land, prices of competing meats and radical changes—both domestic and export—in grain use are reshaping the beef business.”

Speakers will include Gill; Vanessa Corriher-Olson, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension forage specialist, Overton; and Jason Banta, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension beef cattle specialist, Overton.

The general session will start at 8:30 a.m., with the presentation, “Beef, Better—and Different—Times Ahead,” followed by “Forage Recovery and Pasture Restocking.”

“This discussion will focus on the art and science of balancing grazing pressure and forage supply,” Corriher said. “When it rains, drought-stricken warm-season forages must be allowed to rebound either from root reserves or seed while resource managers begin to restock with cattle.”

A talk will be given at 10:30 a.m. on “Evaluating Replacement Options.”

“What type of cow best fits the new production paradigms?” Gill said. “In this review of critical considerations like mature size, environmental adaptability and market acceptance, cattlemen may find answers to questions such as: ‘What might I buy? Can I find them?’ and ‘How concerned should I be about health issues?’”

After lunch, the discussions will include “Flexibility in Resource Use;” and “Leased Grazing—What, Why and How;” and “Can a $2,500 Cow Break Even?”

The training will adjourn at 4:30 p.m.

For more information, call Low at 979-845-2604 or Banta at 903-834-6191.

The training is jointly sponsored by AgriLife Extension offices in Smith, Henderson, Rusk, Anderson, Houston, Angelina and Nacogdoches counties. Contact information for all AgriLife Extension county offices can be found at

Date: 10/7/2013


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