Demonstration Site is home to new herd, teaching opportunities and space to grow
Image Credit: Jonathan Stephanoff
As the tractor engine revved to pull the trailer full of Open House visitors over the crest of a hill, the scale and scope of the new Beef Management Teaching and Demonstration Site came into full view. The site is over 30 acres and straddles a stream bed running through agricultural fields at the Central Maryland Research and Education Center (CMREC), near Ellicott City.
On the bright and warm evening of July 28, more than 70 beef producers from three states, interested public, student workers, and AGNR administration toured the initial phase of the Demonstration Site. Visitors got to meet the new herd and learn more about our beef programming goals. This Demonstration Site is the work of Racheal Slattery, ANSC Beef and Dairy Coordinator with the help of Brian Spielman, Assistant Director of the Clarksville facility and his crew.
In June, on behalf of the Department, Slattery proudly received the gift of three Charolais heifers from Robert and Judy Tibbs of Shadow Springs Farm. Before the heifers arrived, she and Spielman spent many months clearing the land, pounding posts and hanging fence to prepare the site.
Among the visitors at the Open House was Robert Tibbs, who was very pleased to see the new home for his gifted heifers. Known throughout the region for his Charolais, he joked, “if you need more cattle, I know where you can get some.”
During the Open House, Slattery had the opportunity to present her vision for the beef teaching herd, made up of the Charolais and three Wye cross-bred heifers, and highlight some of the extension demonstration classes she has planned for the coming months, including a Crop Residue Grazing Site Walk-thru Education Program on Thursday, November 17th.
Additionally, Slattery is developing a new Beef Management/Calf Watch course that will be offered at the university in the fall 2023 semester. The heifers will be bred and brought to the campus farm October 1st with the goal of calving by mid-October. Students will be responsible for helping the cattle through calving, as well as the calves' first check-up. The course will give students hands-on experience with cattle birthing and train them to help producers, particularly with spring calving.
The Beef Management Teaching and Demonstration Site remains a work in progress, now that the initial phase of readying the barn and corral for the herd and several acres of pasture have been fenced. There is a stream-fed well that is not currently operational, though NRCS is working on it, and a water line is being dug. Currently, Slattery, Spielman or CMREC crew is transporting water to the shelter every few days. They continue working to clear and fence more land on both sides of the stream bed for additional pastures that can allow for more cattle and different grazing opportunities.