Multiple years of drought have taken a toll on the grazing lands and the cow herds of western Kansas.
On Aug. 15, the Kansas Livestock Association and Kansas State University will team up for a Ranch Management Field Day near Scott City and grazing land management during drought conditions will be a featured topic.
The event will be held at the Fairleigh Ranch Corp., which includes a commercial cow-calf herd, and yearling feeder grazing as well as fall calf-starter operations.
Range management specialist Robert Gillen, director of K-State's Western Agricultural Research Centers, will talk about the critical grazing and stocking decisions ranchers should consider during extended dry periods.
He will address options for grazing land managers and explain why appropriate stocking rates and the length of the grazing season have long-term implications.
Justin Waggoner, K-State beef specialist, will talk about the benefits of early weaning during drought conditions. In recent years, cowherd owners have faced deteriorating grass in the latter part of the growing season.
One strategy to reduce a beef cow's nutritional needs and forage intake is to wean calves earlier than the conventional fall time period.
Waggoner specifically will summarize K-State research conducted over the past several years on the performance of early-weaned beef calves and how this management practice may fit into many cow-calf operations.
In a second part of the day's program, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's field supervisor Heather Whitlaw will discuss the issue of adding the lesser prairie chicken to the federal list of endangered and threatened wildlife.
Several voluntary efforts are already being undertaken to prevent the need for a federal listing and financial incentives may be available for owners of grasslands where the species may be found.
A final item on the agenda is an overview of proposed trichomoniasis regulation that would require testing of bulls changing ownership within the borders of Kansas and new restrictions for importing open cows into the state. He also will update attendees on prevalence of the disease in Kansas.
Justin Smith, deputy animal health commissioner for the Kansas Department of Agriculture Division of Animal Health, will give that presentation.
The Scott City field day will begin with registration at 3:30 p.m. and conclude with a free beef dinner at 6:30 p.m. All livestock producers and others involved in the business are invited to attend.