The first live demonstration of CattleTrace, identifying Old World bluestem and the benefits of drones in livestock production were highlights of the KLA/Kansas State University Ranch Management Field Day, August 15 at Moyer Farms near Emporia.
CattleTrace Program Manager Cassie Kniebel teamed with Brandon Depenbusch from Innovative Livestock Services and Bryan Rickard of Micro Technologies to show how data is collected using ultra-high frequency (UHF) technology. Cattle with high-frequency tags were moved down an alley past four UHF readers, attached from above, which collected the data including date, time and location. The information instantly appeared on a video screen for the 140 ranchers in attendance. Kniebel said the demonstration gives producers the chance to see how CattleTrace operates at the speed of commerce and the role it can play in animal disease traceability.
Lyon County Agriculture & Natural Resources Extension Agent Brian Rees showed ranchers how to identify and control the two Old World bluestem species, yellow bluestem and Caucasian bluestem. Rees explained yellow bluestem has yellow-green leaves that typically are smooth and grows to about 4’, and Caucasian bluestem is blue-gray and reaches 1’ to 3’.
“Old World bluestem has an extensive root system,” he said. “It can produce natural chemicals that reduce water and nutrient competition for other plants. This allows the species to take over large stretches of native prairie and pasture occupied with the more nutritious, native warm-season grasses.”
Rees advised ranchers to treat Old World bluestem early in the season with either glyphosate or imazapry, which are the only known control mechanisms at this point.
To conclude the educational sessions, K-State Extension Beef Cattle Management Specialist Dale Blasi discussed drone use in livestock production and showed an in-air drone flight.
Additional coverage on drones in livestock production will appear in the November Kansas Stockman magazine.