A panel including ranchers and a range scientist discussing the benefits and challenges of using grass traps for starting or wintering cattle will highlight the August 20 KLA/Kansas State University Ranch Management Field Day at Gilmore Creek Ranch near El Dorado. The commercial cow-calf and stocker operation located northwest of the El Dorado Reservoir in Butler County is under ownership of the Randy and Judy Mills family operation, known as Doyle Creek Land & Cattle Co. Inc. Randy and Judy’s son-in-law and daughter, Frank and Mary Harper, operate Gilmore Creek Ranch on a daily basis.
According to Frank Harper, during the drought of 2011, several improvements were made on the ranch, including a central grass trap/feedbunk system to help maintain cattle numbers and improve water distribution. Maintaining the integrity of the brome grass traps has required timely management, but has proven beneficial in allowing for multiple uses throughout the year. A number of stocker operators in Kansas have incorporated grass traps for starting and backgrounding calves as an alternative to dry lots, but the concept is somewhat new to cow-calf operations. Frank Harper will be joined on a panel by Emporia rancher Jaret Moyer and Natural Resources Conservation Service Rangeland Management Specialist David Kraft to discuss their experiences and recommendations for implementing grass traps in a cow-calf, heifer growing or stocker cattle program.
Another topic on the agenda will be a federal issues update from National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Executive Director of Legislative Affairs Kristina Butts. She will provide a timely report on how NCBA is addressing a variety of issues, including waters of the U.S. regulations, pending retaliatory tariffs resulting from mandatory U.S. country-of-origin labeling, the 2015 U.S. Dietary Guidelines and regulatory/legislative proposals to restrict the use of antibiotics in livestock production.
In addition, Charles Barden with the Kansas State University Forestry Service will be on hand to provide tips for the design and maintenance of live windbreaks. Barden will discuss tree species selection, spacing and planting guidelines. He also will give pointers on how to maintain a healthy and sustainable windbreak.
The Gilmore Creek field day will begin with registration at 4:00 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.
Gilmore Creek Ranch is located in north central Butler County. From Cassoday, go south on Highway 177. At the Highway 177-110th Road intersection, turn west and drive about 5 miles to Bluestem Road. From 110th and Bluestem, go south about 2 miles to the ranch headquarters. From El Dorado, go north on Highway 77 about 8 miles past the Kansas Turnpike overpass to 110th Road (also known as DeGraff Road). Turn east and drive 4 miles to Bluestem Road. Then go south 2 miles to the ranch headquarters. If traveling from east of El Dorado, go north on Highway 177 at the intersection of Highways 54 and 177. After about 8 miles, go west on NE 70th Road about 3 miles. (NE 70th curves north and becomes NE Chelsea Road.) Turn west onto NE 85th for ½ mile to Bluestem Road. Turn north on Bluestem and drive ½ mile to ranch headquarters. Directional signs will be posted.
Hobbs Ranch near Penokee will host the second KLA/K-State ranch field day August 27. LS Cattle in western Douglas County will be the site of the final field day August 29. Bayer HealthCare – Animal Health Division and the Farm Credit Associations of Kansas are sponsoring all three field days. For more information, go to www.kla.org or call the KLA office at (785) 273-5115.
KLA is a trade organization representing the business interests of independent beef producers at the state and national levels. Members of the association are involved in all segments of the livestock industry, including cow-calf production, backgrounding, cattle feeding, swine, dairy and sheep.
Photo credit: thskyt