Research, calving guidance highlighted at GCA Convention
By: Georgia Farm Bureau
4/5/2017 1:50:47 PM
Cattlemen and cattlewomen from across the state got a look at the latest equipment, heard important research information, danced a little, ate and bought livestock during the 56th Annual Georgia Cattlemen's Association (GCA) Convention and Trade Show, held March 29 - April 1 at the Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter in Perry.
The event drew an estimated 1,500 visitors and featured 95 vendors, ranging from food products to livestock feed to heavy equipment. Five different livestock auctions were held during the event, as well as the annual Cattlemen's Ball and GCA Awards Banquet
GCA welcomed a new president, Lee Brown, a first-generation cattleman from Madison County, who succeeds 2016 President Kyle Gillooly. Brown is encouraging younger cattlemen to join the GCA and expressed optimism that after multiple years of sagging commodity prices for beef the economics of the industry would turn around.
"I think there are people who benefit from being a member of our association no matter what the market does," said Brown, who said individuals considering getting into the cattle business should seek counsel of experienced cattle producers. "I would try to pair them up with a mentor. An older gentleman or lady in the industry in their area. Kind of have them shadow the mentor and learn from them."
The convention included the 6th Annual Forage Conference on March 29, during which Georgia Beef Commission-funded research findings were presented on topics related to livestock forage. The commission provided funding to 17 studies in 2016, including five related to forage. One of those was on methods to manage the Bermudagrass stem maggot, which has invested and damaged forage grass throughout the southeast. According to the research, led by UGA Forage Specialist Dennis Hancock, mechanical and chemical controls may be used to keep the invasive insect larvae from causing economic damage.
UGA Assistant Professor of Beef Production Medicine Dr. Lee Jones talked about recognizing calving cows that are experiencing difficulty.
"It's just learning to recognize the signs, when it's a good idea to intervene and provide some assistance," Jones said. "The big thing there is farmers that maybe don't have a lot of experience with cattle may not recognize when an animal is actually needing help, when she's in trouble."
Jones said some key warning signs are cows nearing delivery that are restless or not eating, that isolate themselves from the rest of the herd or hold their tails out for extended periods as if to urinate but without doing so.
"What we try to teach is a set of simple corrections the farmer can make, and how to recognize when is it beyond their ability," Jones said. "With every farmer it's going to depend on their experience."
The GCA presented these awards at its awards banquet: County Agent of the Year - Lucy Ray; Vocational Ag Teacher of the Year - Cindy Jones; Junior of the Year - Tiffany Mullins; Producer of the Year - Marcus and Anthony South; Friend of the Cattlewomen - Sherri Morrow; Cattlewoman of the Year - Carolyn Gazda; Cattlewoman Hall of Fame - Linda Crumley; YCC David Gazda Visionary Award - Henry Jones; Beef Month Chapter Winner - Floyd Co Cattlemen's Association; Hall of Fame - Bobby Brantley.
For photos from the GCA Convention visit http://bit.ly/17GCAconf.
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