Missouri State University
Ag Approaches

That’s a Wrap

The first annual Field Day held at Shealy Farm was a huge (wet) success. We battled out the rain and were able to have visitors tour Shealy Farm and see parts of our current research project in action, on the beautiful morning of June 1.


The morning started off with registration and a quick welcome. Once everyone received the all clear on the rain, our guests were split into two groups. One group was able to hear about the nutrient management, covered cattle feeding, and economic standpoints of the current research project being conducted at Shealy Farm from Alexsis Holmsteadt, Mrs. Busdieker-Jesse and Dr. Phillip Lancaster. The other group listened to Thomas Eggerman, Sarah Harmon, Dr. Will McClain, and Dr. Harley Naumann discuss the ultrasonic sensor, novel endophyte fescue and alternative forages aspect of the project.
“I thought this event was very beneficial. There were several great aspects and ways to learn about grazing fescue. I liked to see what MSU is doing while working with their fescue and see some of their research.” – Mark Green, local cattle producer


“I thought it was really interesting to go to the barn and hear research plan. I’m glad to see the rotational grazing go up. There’s always something new to learn. I’m looking forward to seeing the results they get and it will be interesting to see how it all turns out.” – Keith Stevens, local cattle producer


We want to thank everyone who attended the event and all the staff who helped. We would also like to thank SoMo Farm & Ranch Supply and MFA Farm & Home-Fair Grove for sponsoring breakfast and lunch. We are excited to see the community interest in our research here at the Missouri State University College of Agriculture. More updates on the project will be coming soon!


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Meet the Team: Student Edition 2.0

The summer crew is hard at work with our research project. We will be highlighting two more students from our team this week. Keep reading to learn more about Sarah Harmon and Nicolas Matheney.

Nicolas Matheney is an upcoming senior animal science major at Missouri State University. He is from the small town of Brookfield, located in north central Missouri. Matheney grew up on a small beef cattle operation and has worked at the forage research center as a seasonal technician. Needless to say, he is well qualified to help with this project and we are happy to have him on the team!
“An animal science degree was a no brainer for me,” Matheney said. “Growing up on a small beef cattle operation, I created a fondness for the cattle industry that I wished to continue. With the experience I gain in college, I would like to start a career working with a large-scale cattle operation, or possibly work with Missouri extension to help other producers create a sustainable and profitable cattle operation.”

This summer Matheney will be working with the University of Missouri Forage Systems Research Center with Dr. Harley. They will be conducting research on rotational grassing and alternative forages. He has worked with the Missouri State side of the project all spring and will come back this fall.

“With this internship, I hope to further my scientific knowledge of grazing in beef production and how better management practices can increase production,” Matheney said. “I am very excited to be part of a study that may help the local cattle producer create a more sustainable product.”

Sarah Harmon also comes from a small town. She grew up in Seneca, Missouri on a small acre cow-calf operation. Harmon received her Associate’s Degree in agriculture from Crowder College and made the decision to transfer to Missouri State University. She is an animal science and agricultural business major and will be continuing at MSU to pursue her Master’s degree.

“MSU has given me a great opportunity to dig into a little bit of every aspect of agriculture, so that I can be more well-rounded and prepared for what comes next,” Harmon said. “I look for any opportunity to learn something new about any field of agriculture because it all fascinates me.”

Her role on this project is feeding the steers and administering proper medications if needed. She is responsible for observing them for maintenance purposes.

“This internship is an exciting opportunity to be able to put everything that I have learned so far into practical use,” Harmon said. “I can’t wait to continue to learn more each day as I continue down this path.”

These two are a great addition to this research team and we are very excited to see what their futures hold in the agricultural industry.


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Meet the Team: Student Edition 1.0

We will be highlighting every member of the team working on this research project, including both student interns and faculty. This week in the student edition we will meet Thomas Eggerman and Alexsis Holmstedt. Keep reading to learn more about some of Missouri State’s dedicated agricultural students.

Thomas Eggerman is a junior studying crop science, with a minor in agricultural business. He has been working on the project this spring and will continue over the summer. Eggerman is responsible for feeding and doctoring cattle, building fence for multiple paddocks, and measuring forage over periods of time. He comes from a production agriculture background. His family has approximately 3,500 acres of row-crops and runs a 130 head Black Angus beef cattle herd. His background gives him great experience to be a vital asset to the team for this project.

“I am looking forward to this internship to see what opportunities it holds for me,” Eggerman said. “I want to return to the family farm after graduation, but I am also keeping graduate school in mind as a possibility.”

Alexis Holmstedt is another contributor to the research project team. She is a first year graduate student obtaining a Master’s in Agriculture degree studying plant science and nutrient management. She has also been working on this project since the beginning. Holmsteadt’s responsibilities include aiding and overseeing the undergraduate interns, collecting and analyzing upcoming data, and maintaining/monitoring the wellbeing of the cattle. She has a different background than most of the other students on this project, but not having an agriculture history definitely didn’t stop her interest in the industry.

“Unlike many students pursing a degree in agriculture and plant science, I do not have the typical background of growing up on a row crop farm or family beef production,” Holmstedt said. “My endeavors in my undergraduate years led me to plant sciences and the quest of making food systems more sustainable.”

We are very grateful to have students willing to learn and adjust throughout this research project. We will introduce the other students in upcoming weeks!


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Project Basics

The Forage-Based Beef Management Project is off to a great, although wet, start this spring. Everyone on staff has been busy doing their part to make this research project a success. The following information describes the project basics along with giving you a closer look into what the first year of the project will consist of.

Overall Picture

The official title of this project is “managing nutrient inputs to enhance the sustainability of forage-based beef systems”. The grazing research will be conducted at MSU & MU during the first two years of the project. Data analyses and reports will be generated during year three.

Goals and Objectives

The long-term goals of our proposed project are to demonstrate sustainable forage-based beef production finishing systems in Missouri, provide high-impact educational experiences for MSU students, and enhance outreach through strengthened linkages between MSU and MU.

The specific research goal is to determine the impact of nitrogen source on pasture quality and production economics in forage-based beef finishing.

The Approach

The project will be utilizing the Missouri State University Shealy Farm, which is located 30 minutes north of the MSU campus. The first year the cattle will be rotated among sub-pastures built by members of the project. This will be done to maximize the quality of available forage and distribute the manure from the cattle.

Forage biomass and quality, along with the abundance of non-desirable plant species, will be determined at the initiation of the grazing trial. Four treatments consisting of nitrogen fertilizer, supplemental feed, both fertilizer and feed, and neither fertilizer or feed will be replicated in four pastures.

Steers will be weighed monthly throughout the experiment. Ultrasound estimates of carcass composition will be taken from three steers per treatment at the start and end of the experiment.

A second study will be undertaken at the MU Forage Systems Research Center located in north central Missouri near Linneus. This study will complement the MSU study by evaluating the stocker phase of cattle production. Because Missouri cattlemen seldom provide supplemental feed to stocker calves, the MU study will evaluate a warm-season forage legume as a nitrogen source. To strengthen the coordinating efforts between the two universities, MSU will be sending a summer intern to work with MU this summer.

Both universities are excited to see the journey of this project progress over the next three years. We encourage you to stay tuned for updates!

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A Fresh Start

The Missouri State University Darr College of Agriculture has recently started a new research project. This study will consist of managing nutrient inputs to enhance the sustainability of forage-based beef systems. We will be using angus-cross cattle. This particular project is funded by the USDA Building Capacity Grant.

The research will be taking place at one of Missouri State’s own facilities, Shealy Farm. This 256-acre farm, located in Fair Grove, Missouri, was donated in 2014. It has been used for numerous accommodations such as housing Missouri State beef cattle and psychology research studies.

There is a large, excited staff working together for this project including four assistant professors, five interns, and one graduate student. The faculty includes Dr. Sarah Lancaster, Dr. Phillip Lancaster, Dr. Will McClain, and Mrs. Nichole Jesse-Busdieker. We have high hopes for the future of this research program.




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The Beginning

Hello everyone! The purpose of this blog site is to link agriculturalists in the area with the research currently being conducted at Missouri State University. This blog will provide you with video footage of current projects, pictures of students working alongside faculty, and educational articles about the agricultural industry. Stay connected to see the great research opportunities the Missouri State University Darr College of Agriculture has to offer.

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