Overview

annual ryegrass regrowth Missouriís forage-livestock industry is the stateís largest agricultural endeavor. Forage producers use 18 million acres of private lands for grazing, hay production, and conservation, and forages are the major land cover for protecting the environment. Forage-livestock enterprises contribute more than $12 billion annually to Missouriís economy and provide direct income for more than 200,000 citizens. Nationally, Missouri has the third largest cow-calf herd (more than 4 million cows and calves), the second largest number of beef producers, the seventh largest number of dairy farms, and is the second largest producer of grass hay. No other agricultural enterprise covers more acres, generates more real income or engages as many citizens.

Extension

Our current extension program has four major emphasis areas; management-intensive grazing, winter feeding systems, pasture-based dairy farming, and tall fescue toxicosis. These efforts have been embraced by the regional Extension specialists and are a major part of their educational efforts. Many of these programs are collaborative with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the Missouri Department of Conservation, and private industry. Because of their collaborative nature, these programs build strong relationships between the university and government agencies and agribusiness.

cows eating corn

Research

The research effort of the MU forage group uses innovative science to identify problems, provide solutions, and develop technologies that benefit Missouriís forage-livestock community. The research effort addresses hay and pasture for livestock, as well as conservation issues, such as water quality, plant diversity, ground cover and wildlife habitat. The goal of the research is to improve the economic and environmental status of the stateís forage and grassland agriculture.