SPARTANBURG – Are your cattle’s eating habits chomping away your profits?

Livestock producers will be depending more and more on stores of hay to keep their animals healthy and well fed until spring.

Clemson Extension workshop series teaches livestock producers how to tailor feeding programs for higher profits.
Image Credit: Clemson University

If so, Clemson Extension experts can help you learn how to tailor your feeding programs specific to your herds’ needs.

A four-part workshop series is being offered this October and November to help cattlemen learn how to critically analyze their farms’ nutrition plans from both an economic and physiological angle. Christopher LeMaster, a Clemson Extension Livestock and Forages agent from Gaffney, said this series is for novice and veteran cattle producers.

“It’s not always easy to meet an animal’s nutrient requirements,” LeMaster said. “Trying to do so economically can be even more challenging. We will try to uncover costs that are often overlooked in a normal South Carolina cattle operation. This is truly a Cattlemen’s approach to nutrition where we focus on cost-effective feeding.”

The workshop series will be offered from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 24, Nov. 2, Nov. 7 and Nov. 14 in the Health Sciences Building at Spartanburg Community College, 107 Community College Drive, Spartanburg, S.C. 29303. The Oct. 24 session, Forage First, will be presented by LeMaster and Bernt Nelson, a Clemson Extension farm management specialist, will talk about forage quality, establishment costs, hay budgets and forage alternatives.

LeMaster will be joined by Brian Beer, a Clemson Extension area livestock agent for Chester, Kershaw and Richland counties, for the Nov. 2 session. This session focuses on Feeding for Breeding. Beer and LeMaster will discuss fetal programming, cow and bull nutrition, heifer development, creep feeding and pre-conditioning in this session.

The Nov. 7 session, A Cattleman’s Approach to Ration Blocking, will feature Nathan Long, an assistant professor in the Clemson Animal and Veterinary Sciences Department. During this session, Long will discuss ration balancing, supplements, comparisons of manufactured feeds and commodity blends, and minerals and protein tubs.

Nelson and LeMaster team up again to bring the final session of the series, Are the Cows Eating the Profit, on Nov. 14. During this session, Nelson and LeMaster will discuss feed efficiency for cow herds and feedlot economics for cow/calf producers. Dinner will be served following their presentations.

Cost to attend all sessions is $40. Anyone who doesn’t plan to attend all four sessions can pay a fee of $10 each for the first three sessions. The fee for the Nov. 14 session is $15, which includes dinner. For registration and agenda, go to, or call Amy Mallette at (864) 489-3141 x114. Clemson Extension cattle sorting sticks will be available for $10. All course materials will be provided, but participants are asked to bring some feed and forage analyses from their farms for discussions about feeding costs.

“Participants will get more out of the course if they come to class with a good handle on their nutrition expenses” LeMaster said.

LeMaster said while many of the covered subjects are comprehensive, this course is designed so that participants can choose which topics they would like to learn about. He encourages participants to register for all four sessions. Every session will include hands-on activities such as: balancing a ration, analyzing the cost of forage production and comparing feeds on a dollar per nutrient basis. LeMaster said the information provided during the series is valuable for all cattle producers.

“While nutrition is the biggest cost to an operation, it sometimes is the least understood topic,” LeMaster said. “We will keep things straightforward and provide practices that will make economic sense. No one plan will work for every farm, so we will discuss an array of topics for the producer to sift through and take home to their farm.”