MANHATTAN, Kan. – Researchers and extension specialists at Kansas State University and the University of Nebraska are hosting a series of three meetings in December aimed at helping cattle producers maintain their herds on limited perennial pastures. Topics include confined cow feeding, using corn residue, cover crops and annual forage systems.

“Agricultural land usage in the central plains region has been changing over the past decade and as such cattle producers need to be inventive about management practices so that they can maintain cattle numbers for their livelihood,” said Jaymelynn Farney, beef systems specialist with K-State Research and Extension. “Perennial pastures are one of the diminishing resources for cattle operations as often these pasture lands are being converted into cropland or used in urban living.”To address these issues, three meetings are scheduled:

— 6:30 p.m. Dec. 12 at the Helvering Center in Marysville, Kansas (111 S. 8th Street). RSVP to Anastasia Johnson, anastasia@ksu.edu;

— 6:30 p.m. Dec. 13 at the Blue Hill Community Center in Blue Hill, Nebraska (555 W. Gage Street). RSVP to Brad Schick, brad.schick@unl.edu or 402-746-3417;

— 6:30 p.m. Dec. 14 at the Gateway Civic Center in Oberlin, Kansas (1 Morgan Drive). RSVP to Alyssa Rippe, slyssar@ksu.edu or 785-475-8121.

There is no cost to attend, but interested persons are asked to RSVP to the appropriate contact by Dec. 8 so organizers can provide an accurate meal count.

The speakers for each meeting include:

Mary Drewnoski, beef specialist with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, “Thinking outside the box: economical forage options for the area.”

Jaymelynn Farney, beef systems specialist with Kansas State University, “The do’s and don’ts of cover crop (annual forages) grazing – from a livestock perspective.”

Karla Jenkins, cow-calf specialist with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, “Confinement cow feeding – the science and the art.”

Drewnoski is part of an interdisciplinary team evaluating economical systems for integrated crop and livestock production in Nebraska. Her current research and extension program is focused on utilizing crop residues and cover crop forage for backgrounding calves and feeding beef cows.

Farney is working on research and outreach for practical cattle management. Her primary areas of emphasis include cover crop/annual forage usage, supplementation for growing cattle, and cow-calf management.

Jenkins’ research includes finding more efficient and economical ways to produce beef cattle while sustaining the range resource. Since 2009, she has been studying limit feeding energy dense by-products mixed with crop residues to maintain beef cows in confinement to provide grazing deferment for range, maintain a core herd from liquidation, or as part of a system to reduce dependency on pasture.

Additionally, she evaluates annual forage crops and alternative uses for crops such as field peas or sugar beets as components in beef cattle diets to improve sustainability and efficiency of cattle operations in western Nebraska. Her extension program involves working with producers to explain and implement practices found to be beneficial through research.

The overarching content at each meeting will be the same, but management adaptations for the region where the meeting will be held will be emphasized. Interested persons are encouraged to attend one of the three meetings to learn more.