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Cattlemen's Boot Camp set


Northwest beef producers had a very rough ride in 2015. Unprecedented wildfires burned millions of acres of pasture, with the cost to Washington’s $5 billion beef industry still being counted. Volatile prices followed.

To help cattle producers recover and keep their businesses strong, WSU animal scientists and Extension researchers, in partnership with the American Angus Association, will share the latest science-based strategies at Cattlemen’s Boot Camp, April 15 and 16, at Kennewick’s Benton County Fairgrounds.

The first evening will educate farmers about the 2015 wildfires, which continue to have lingering impacts months after being extinguished. Topics include post-fire ecology and pasture management, irrigation and feeding techniques.

Burned forage,

emergency feeds

“Producers in burned areas are devastated,” said Frank Hendrix, a professor and beef expert in WSU Extension’s Agriculture and Natural Resources Program. “They’ve lost the grass in dryland pastures for at least two years. All their fences are gone. We can’t tell if the range grasses will recover until spring.”

Slated to speak at Boot Camp, Hendrix will share how producers can use irrigated pastures for higher production. As upland ranchers feel more pressure from fires and drought, Hendrix sees irrigated forage as a solution.

Since the fire, producers have had to rely on whatever feed they could find locally or have shipped in, said Don Llewellyn, an Extension livestock specialist. He will share tips for emergency and alternate feeds at the Boot Camp.

Looking ahead,

improving herds

Day two of the seminar will help producers improve their herds and put their businesses on stronger foundations. WSU and Extension researchers will share ideas on genetics, nutrition, beef quality and the economic outlook.

The seminar will end with a discussion of the latest Veterinary Feed Directive, which impacts how producers can use antibiotics. See a full agenda here:

With wildfire impacts remaining, and calving season and the spring greening of pastures ahead, this year’s Boot Camp is especially timely, says Mark Nelson, an Animal Sciences associate professor and long-standing organizer of the event.

Registration deadline for Cattlemen’s Boot Camp is March 1. Find registration materials and a schedule of events here:

WSU Extension programs are available to all without discrimination.  Evidence of noncompliance can be reported to your local WSU Extension office.

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