Eric Bailey has hit the ground running since he joined the University of Missouri last year as an assistant professor in the Division of Animal Sciences and a state beef Extension specialist.
Bailey has been a regular at the Agricultural Research Centers’ field days since he came to MU in June 2017, speaking and engaging with farmers, producers and cattlemen across the state.
“I love it,” Bailey said. “It’s been fantastic so far. I’ve enjoyed my time at the various field days, too. Those events provide a great opportunity to meet with cattlemen to see what they’re dealing with on a day-to-day basis. I’ve been able to build some great relationships through these events.”
Bailey will speak twice during the upcoming Thompson Research Center field day, which will run from 3:30-8 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 17, at the Center near Spickard. With the drought-like conditions throughout Missouri, Bailey has been asked numerous questions related to feeding cattle throughout the rest of the year. The drought has slowed forage growth and quality, and cattle owners have had to feed hay earlier than normal.
“This problem really began last fall,” Bailey said. “A lot of producers started feeding hay 35 to 40 days earlier than normal. That was followed by an extremely cold April and an extremely hot May. Fescue growth has been well below normal. With no spring growth, the 2018 hay crops are way down.”
Bailey’s first talk will take place around 5:45 p.m. and focus on backgrounding calves to increase weight during the drought. Backgrounding is the stage after weaning where calves rely on forages to increase weight and immunity to diseases before entering the feedlot. Calves are normally weaned around 205 to 240 days after birth.
“I get a lot of questions about if it’s OK to background in the 150- to 180-day range,” Bailey said. “That’s completely acceptable. A big part of my Ph.D. work was focused on weaning calves even earlier, at 100 days. I know there may be some hesitation, but it really is fine to background earlier.”
After a free dinner at 6 p.m., Bailey will present on the options for feeding cows when hay is scarce around 6:45 p.m.
“We really have to utilize what we have,” Bailey said. “There are a few options to help stretch hay, such as feeding corn, byproducts and grain, but which is the best option for an individual’s operation?”
There have been several comparisons between this year’s drought and the one in 2012. Bailey said a major difference is the corn market. Corn is 2012 was $7 a bushel. Corn is around $3.50 bushel now.
“Even with a round bale of hay ranging in price from $85 to $95 currently, corn prices are vastly different than they were in 2012,” Bailey said. “There were no good options for extra feed sources in 2012.”
Bailey received his bachelor’s degree from West Texas A&M in animal science. He received his master’s degree and doctorate from Kansas State University. Bailey is a native of Santa Rosa, New Mexico, and has a strong agriculture and cattle background.
“I’m excited to have the opportunity to present at the Thompson Research Center field day again,” Bailey said. “I always enjoy my time there, and I’m looking forward to meeting with everyone who attends.”