Beef producers will learn to improve profits through management tips at the 20th annual Missouri Livestock Symposium, says Garry L. Mathes, chair of the symposium planning committee.

Farmers and ranchers will learn the value of management and genetics at the symposium, Dec. 6-7 in Kirksville.

Eric Bailey, University of Missouri Extension beef specialist, focuses on nutrition and heifer development in Missouri.

Temple Grandin will give the keynote Friday evening and headline the beef speakers lineup the next day. Grandin gained fame for her work in animal handling and animal welfare. She tells how improved stockmanship helps bottom lines. She gives insight into how animal welfare shapes the industry.

Jordan Thomas, MU Extension beef reproduction specialist, will talk on ranking cows in beef herds. Thomas teaches finding the most profitable animals in a beef herd. Culling losers boosts herd profits.

MU Extension livestock specialist and symposium vice chair Zac Erwin says, “Cattle producers faced several years of small or negative profits. They battled tough winters and dry summers. But cow and heifer slaughter numbers now point to a low in the cattle cycle.”

The beef program this year aims to give producers tools to take part in that upturn of prices in the cattle cycle, Erwin says.

A noted visiting speaker will be David Lalman, professor and extension specialist at Oklahoma State University. An MU graduate, Lalman knows Missouri beef systems, Erwin says. Lalman has good data on how cow size and environmental constraints apply to Missouri herds. “He’s an excellent presenter,” Erwin says. “He shares vital insights for Missouri cattle producers wanting to gain profit potential.”

A large agricultural trade show opens during the two days of the symposium, which meets at Matthew Middle School, 1515 Cottage Grove, Kirksville. Hours are 4-10 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6, and 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7.

Multiple tracks go at the same time.

In addition to beef, tracks include horses, sheep and market goats. Other tracks cover forages, stock dogs and farm succession planning.

No advance registration is needed for the free program. Big symposium attractions include free beef dinner 6 p.m. Friday and free lunch on Saturday. The Missouri Department of Agriculture coordinates meals, which Missouri commodity groups co-sponsor, adding varied Missouri tastes.

Find details at www.MissouriLivestock.com, or call MU Extension in Adair County at (660) 665-9866 or Garry Mathes at (660) 341-6625.

The free symposium draws visitors from across Missouri and nearby states. It’s planned by farmers.