Missouri State University
Ag Approaches
Exploring Research in Agricultural and Resource Management Strategies

Field Day Pictures

If you were able to attend our Shealy Farm Field Day you would have seen the photographers roaming around. Feel free to check out the pictures below to see if we snapped a shot of you or your friends!

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The Ultrasonic Sensor

During our Shealy Farm Field Day, two of our students discussed the rotational grazing aspect of our research project. They also showed everyone the ultrasonic sensor that is attached to a John Deere gator used to measure the height of the grass in each paddock. This determines where the cattle need to be moved to.

We are using what is called an ultrasonic sensor to measure the height of the grass in each paddock to determine where cattle need to be moved to. This is an instrument that was developed by Mizzou and attached to the front of a vehicle of some sort. (We use a John Deere gator, Mizzou uses a four-wheeler.)  The ultrasonic sensor uses sonar to measure the height 20 times a second. We take the average from each paddock and move the cattle to the highest average.

When looking at the average height measurements anything that reads below 75mm is considered to be undergrazed, 150mm-225mm is a good grazing height (when the cattle can be moved into the field), and anything above 225mm is considered overgrazed and immediate action would be needed whether it be moving cattle into that field, cutting the grass, etc. Farmers and ranchers usually use a grazing stick to achieve this same result, but the ultrasonic sensor is far more accurate.

The system also uses GPS to calculate the speed in which the vehicle is moving. This is important due to the fact that it needs to be moving at a speed of 5-15 kilometers/hr. The speed also needs to try to be as consistent as possible. When we drive it we try to maintain a speed of 9-10 kilometers/hr. The cost of this particular system, as of right now is $6800. Mizzou is working on a smart phone application that will drop the price of it significantly, but its still in the developing


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Meet the Team: Professor Edition 1.0

This week we will be highlighting the first of the many amazing faculty working on our research project at Shealy Farm. Watch the video below to get to know more about Dr. Sarah Lancaster. She is an assistant professor of environmental plant science and natural resources at MSU!

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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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