March 17, 2000 | By: Haven Miller

There are at least three ways you can learn about something: you can read about how to do it, you can be shown how to do it, or you can actually practice doing it. The University of Kentucky's training school for beef cattle producers combines all three methods.

Called "Cow College," the five-session program covers a variety of topics that are critical for improving your profits in beef production. Much of the instruction is hands-on.

"The thing that sets Cow College apart from other training is the hands-on aspect," said Les Anderson, Extension beef production specialist in the UK College of Agriculture. "In other words we teach you how to put implants in, how to castrate, how to do pregnancy diagnosis, how to do artificial insemination, and we teach you these things out in the corral working with the animals."

Sessions include basic beef cattle nutrition, forage management, herd health and facilities, cattle psychology, corral design, cattle genetics and reproduction, farm business analysis, and marketing. The sessions are geared to both experienced producers and beginners.

"Last year we had producers ranging from those who owned only 10 cows all the way up to 900 cows and 2000 stockers," said Anderson. "All of them said they got a lot out of the program."

A highlight of Cow College is the Packer-Feeder game, a computer-based simulation of the demands and inputs necessary for the buying and selling of fed cattle. Half the producers control feedlots, and the other half control packing plants with each group trying to make as much money as possible.

One session trains participants to perform pelvic evaluations, reproductive tract scores, and animal evaluation. Another session covers end product, with discussions about yield and quality grading, beef cuts, and carcass grading.

Costs for Cow College are $600 for all five sessions, or $150 per session. The fee covers all materials and meals. Participants do not have to attend all sessions this year. "The great thing about the College is its flexibility," said Anderson. "We plan on it being an annual event, so if you can make two sessions this year, then you could attend the other three next year."

Most of the sessions are conducted in Lexington, with two sessions at Princeton in west Kentucky. A $100 deposit is required. This year's dates for the five sessions are July 11-12, July 27-28, August 8-9, October 11-12, and November 1.

For more information, contact Les Anderson, UK Department of Animals Science, 811 W. P. Garrigus Building, Lexington, KY 40546-0215. His telephone number is 606-257-2856.


Les Anderson 606-257-2856