Grazing school to address production challenges

Feb 19, 2010
by WLJ

Too little rain, too much rain, high fertilizer prices and a volatile cattle market—both inexperienced and veteran beef producers will learn strategies to deal with all these scenarios at the Pasture and Livestock Management Workshop set for March 30-April 1.

The grazing school is now accepting enrollment for the workshop, which will take place at the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Overton, TX. Center facilities include classrooms and hundreds of acres of research pastures.

The 2010 course will be the 10th year the grazing school courses have been held at Overton. In the past, attendance has not been limited to Texas, also drawing students from Alaska, California, Arizona and foreign countries.

For the first time, the program will include a wildlife segment. Billy Higginbotham will talk about a variety of wildlife issues: pond management, white-tailed deer and feral hogs.

The instructors are scientists and educators with AgriLife Research, Texas AgriLife Extension Service and Texas A&M.

Enrollment for the threeday course is $350 and includes all meals, coffee breaks, refreshments, a workshop handbook, and individual access to all the instructors. Students will earn three continuing education units in the general category toward their Texas Department of Agriculture pesticide applicator’s licenses.

“Because the course includes quite a bit of one-onone interaction with the instructors, we limit enrollment to 50 people per session,” said Monte Rouquette, AgriLife Research scientist and one of the course instructors.

Instruction will be divided among the classroom, the field, and hands-on activities, Rouquette said. In-field demonstrations will cover all aspects of running a beef operation, from establishing and maintaining high-quality forages to calibrating sprayers, taking soil samples, castrating and vaccinating cattle, and dehorning calves.

Also included will be training on writing a business plan for a ranch, keeping proper records, choosing the appropriate forage species for different soils, understanding soil fertility, establishing forage systems that minimize winter feeding costs, setting correct stocking rates, choosing the right cattle breeds, promoting good animal health, marketing cattle, and the use of remote sensing cameras in wildlife management, according to Rouquette.

The course was originally intended for those just beginning a beef cattle operation, but the comprehensive nature of the course attracted those with more experience in the business.

A full agenda can be found at grazingschool.htm.

To register or for more information, contact Jennifer Lloyd at 903/834-6191 or

Lloyd will have information on class openings, local accommodations, and driving directions to the center, Rouquette said. — WLJ