Forage Developed Bull Test – August 2014

Dr. Michael J. Baker and Forage Developed Bull Testing

Dr. Michael J. Baker

​It's about time that academia starts to focus on forage developed livestock.  Dr. Michael J. Baker is taking applications for the 3rd year of a forage developed bull research project they are working on at Cornell University.  Last year they averaged 1.5 lbs a day gain on a forage only diet with their forage developed bulls

We often get dissension in the grassfed world because of the lack of research data on forage developed livestock.  ​Some data has been generated based on false data and assumptions to mislead the consumer.  Some data published has simply left out the pertinent facts and only focused on non-essentials to try to prove the researchers objectives.  The grassfed beef industry needs supporters like Dr. Baker that are looking for real answers regardless of the outcome to give real data that we as an industry already know will support or on farm findings.  We really need to watch, support and participate in these kinds of research studies whenever possible to give the dissenters more information to help sway their point of view and ultimately work together as an overall beef industry instead of always pointing fingers and accusing or complaining.  The volume of overall beef consumption is declining.  The volume of grassfed beef consumption is climbing year over year and this trend seems to be continuing as it has done for the last 6 years.  Producers need to be working together regardless of their finishing program and we all need to do a better job of producing animals that will finish well and again, that is regardless of the finishing program.

The purpose of this unique all-forage test is to develop and evaluate the performance and quality of young bulls on a typical commercial forage diet. The data collected will assist producers in selecting bulls raised in conditions similar to the environment under which they will be expected to perform. In addition it will assist the industry to develop feed and management recommendations on feeding growing bulls on an all forage diet. This will be a study to watch each year and one you should definitely consider participating in with your bulls.  Dr. Baker is doing a great job of putting research numbers together for the grassfed cattle world and we need to support him in his efforts.  So who exactly is Dr. Michael Baker?

Dr. Baker has a Masters and PhD in Animal Nutrition and 27 years of experience working at the county, regional and state level, this program has emphasized development and implementation of marketing programs for small farms typical of the northeast. For the last eight years he has directed and led the New York Value Discovery Program, a feedlot and carcass evaluation program of cattle consigned from different farms. This program helps producers determine the profitability of their individual animals, learn the value of their cattle for the commercial market, and determine if the quality of the meat they produce meets consumer demands. Over 1550 head of cattle from five states have been evaluated through this program. Other work has focused on developing a production and management system that optimizes the value of NY feeder cattle. This program has generated $20-$40/head additional profit for participating producers. Certifying producers in Beef Quality Assurance is a high priority. Adopting the principles of BQA assures the consumer that beef is produced in a manner that results in high quality, nutritious beef free of defects and world renowned for safety. Establishing a value added market for finished cattle has also been a high priority. Use of locally available Holstein steers, byproduct feeds and niche markets is under evaluation. Most recently research has been initiated to evaluate the effect of different nutrition and production systems on the performance and meat quality of beef for the grass finished grassfed beef market.

Genetics are one of the key components in raising grassfed beef and the bull is obviously key to that genetic make up.  In this training, Dr. Baker talks about the research they are doing at Cornell, what the benefit of the research will be and how you, as a producer, can participate.  Research and testing is key to moving forward and improving in our operations!  Listen to this months training with Dr. Micheal J. Baker and find out what Cornell has learned and how what they are doing can benefit you.

To review what Cornell and Dr. Baker have been doing and to get an application to participate in the research program, visit Beef Cattle Events Programs.

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