Hay production costs have risen sharply in recent years due to higher fertilizer, equipment, fuel, and labor prices. Supplemental feed costs have also increased.

Strategies for dealing with these problems, plus many more beef production issues, will be featured at the 53rd Texas A&M Beef Cattle Short Course, coordinated by Texas Cooperative Extension, Aug. 6-8 at Texas A&M University in College Station.

"Beef cattle producers are at the mercy of ever changing weather conditions and must continuously make adjustments to management practices in response to changing environmental conditions," said Dr. Jason Cleere, Extension beef cattle specialist and conference coordinator. "It would be nice to eliminate hay and supplemental feeding in the cow-calf and stocker business; however that is probably not a reality because there are times when cattle need to be supplemented with additional hay or feed due to limited forage quantity or quality."

The goal should be to reduce the amount of hay or supplemental feed without sacrificing performance, Cleere said.

Several cattleman's college sessions at this year's short course will focus on managing a ranch so that cattle harvest more of the forage themselves.

"Management Strategies to Combat Rising Costs of Fertilizer, Fuel, and Hay" is the title for this year's forage management program during the short course, said Dr. Larry Redmon, Extension forage specialist.

"Fertilization strategies, hay quality, overseeding winter pastures and utilizing legumes to reduce nitrogen inputs will all be discussed during this session," Redmon said.

The nutritional management session will be centered on supplemental feeding programs for the cow-calf and stocker producer. Topics include: What will protein and energy prices be in the future? What are my options? Should I use a self-fed supplement or a hand-fed supplement?

An additional cattleman's college seminar will focus strictly on grazing management.

New to this year's cattleman's college will be a session titled "Issues Affecting Landowners."

An in-depth discussion on leasing the wind, water and mineral rights of your land will be highlighted during the program.

The short course will have 19 specialized workshops that are part of the cattleman's college. A general session will include discussions of the cattle market outlook, the beef industry of the future, and emerging cattle markets. Numerous opportunities for Beef Quality Assurance and pesticide applicator continuing education units will be available.

Short course registration costs $140 per participant (if registered by July 30), and includes admission to the two and a half-day conference, including the cattleman's college, a copy of the short course proceedings (a 300-page publication), trade show admittance, tickets to the "Famous Aggie Prime Rib" dinner, noon meals and morning and afternoon refreshment breaks.

Producers interested in attending may register online at http://animalscience.tamu.edu/ansc/BCSC/index.html or by contacting Cleere's office at (979) 845-6931 for more information.