The 2009 Missouri Beef Tour, Aug. 29, will provide an opportunity to see a broad range of cattle operations in south-central Missouri, said Justin Sexten, chair of the tour and beef nutritionist with University of Missouri Extension’s Commercial Agriculture Program.
The tour begins at 12:30 p.m. and will visit operations in Dent, Phelps and Crawford counties. Stops along the tour include a Hereford seedstock operation, a high stock-density operation, a managed intensive grazing system, a backgrounding operation and a silvopasture facility. The tour is free, and advance registration is not required.
All of the owner/operators represent multiple generations of farm families, with most still farming on the original property. Owners will talk about the history of their farms and how their operating methods have evolved. An industry specialist will give a presentation on related subjects at each stop.
The first stop will be in Dent County at Oak Knoll Ranch, 1465 County Road 2090, Salem. Leon and Helen Kreisler, who established the ranch in 1985, fall-calve their 123-head commercial Angus-based herd on 480 acres. They winter half the herd entirely on pasture while supplementing the other half with 1,500 to 2,000 pounds of hay for two months in winter.
George Barnitz and his son, Frank, operate the 142-year-old Barnitz Farms. They manage a 450-head herd of commercial black and red Angus, calving in spring and fall. Barnitz Farms custom-backgrounds calves for South Ozarks Premier Beef Marketers. The Barnitzes and SOPBM recently participated in MU distillers grains experiments in their backgrounding operation. A highlight of the farm is a huge, red barn built in 1868, still in full use and maintained in its original condition.
Robert and Gretchen Thompson breed registered Herefords at Glengrove Farm, in Phelps County at 12905 County Road 4010, Rolla. “I’m a third-generation farmer on this property. My grandfather moved to our present farm location along with my father, who was 9 years old at the time, in 1903,” Robert Thompson said. “We take our responsibilities very seriously-to breed the best.” He said he knows every one of his cattle by name and pedigree.
The Thompsons keep 40-plus cows and calves and about a half-dozen registered performance-tested bulls on 160 acres. They herd calves in the spring and fall.
The oldest family farm on the tour, originally known as Parry Polled Herefords, was established by Mary Beth Parry Pogue’s family in the early 1800s. Mary Beth and Denny Pogue, who have full-time jobs outside the farm, run a crossbred Angus herd of about 100 fall-calving cows. The herd grazes pasture 50 weeks a year.
Last year, Denny Pogue experimented with grazing at high stock density on one-acre paddocks and found it cost-efficient. “We needed less fertilizer as the waste was spread evenly, and the herd required less hay,” he said.
The Pogues’ goals are to keep one cow per three acres in the grazing system without feeding very much hay, eliminate fertilizer supplements and sell 70 to 75 calves each year. They plan to fence the exterior boundaries and install free-ranging goats for brush management.
The tour will end at MU’s Wurdack Farm in Crawford County. There will be a tour of the managed grazing and silvopasture systems at the facility and a beef dinner for those who registered at tour stops during the day.
For more information, call Rex Ricketts at 573-882-4553 or Justin Sexten at 573-882-8154.