Noble Research Institute Project Yields Cutting-Edge Insight into Better Forage-Based Cattle SystemsTue, 03 Jul 2018 10:10:29 CDT
Dr. Billy Cook is senior vice president and director of the agricultural division of the Noble Research Institute. One of the projects Cook has been involved with is the research that’s been going on for several years now with GrowSafe Systems - a Calgary-based technology company that has put the Institute on the cutting-edge of measuring what’s going on with forage-based cattle systems. He explained the work that has been going on there in Ardmore related to this project in an interview recently with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays.
“We deployed, initially, technology in a confined feeding situation to get an idea of body weight on a more frequent basis, but also the concept of understanding actual intake,” Cook said. “With that experience, we’ve evolved some of that technology on to a forage-based situation in the pasture.”
While Noble researchers do not have the capability to actually measure daily intake of cattle on pasture - something of a holy grail in the research world - Cook says the capacity is there to get daily body weight on pasture and he adds how confident he is in their ability to do that. With that knowledge and continuing research being done to strengthen what they already know, Cook says they have at least half of the equation figured out when it comes to understanding efficiency in the pasture.
“When you look at the whole concept of forage efficiency, it probably lets you do a couple of things,” he said. “One is, if I have 100 cattle and 10 percent are more efficient than what I had in the past… then maybe I can run 10 percent more cattle on the same acreage.”
The other thing, says Cook, is that forage resources are always impacted by so many variables that affect how producers should manage them. The more we understand them, he says, the better we can utilize them and thusly, return more dollars back to the producer’s hand. Cook described what his vision is at the end of the day for this type of research and how it can be applied to improve a producer’s operation.
“I think my vision would be to accurately understand the interplay between our soils and how that’s directly impacting the forages we’re producing,” he said, “and then how we efficiently use those with our animals for the long-term economic good of the producer as well as the long-term ecological benefit of that system.”
Listen to Cook and Hays discuss the research being done at Noble to improve producers’ grazing systems, on today’s Beef Buzz.
The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network and is a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today's show and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.
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