You have accessed the homepage of Darrell L. Rankins, Jr. The main objective of this page is to provide the user with information relevant to beef cattle nutrition in Alabama, not to provide entertainment. Therefore, if you're looking for nuts and bolts, read further, if you're looking for bells and whistles, surf on.

Extension Programs:  The central theme of my extension program is to provide nutritional information to beef cattle producers.  On-going activities include: Master Cattleman Program, Alabama Grazing School, Stocker Cattle Conference and the newest program is Advanced Beef Cattle Nutrition.

The Master Cattleman Program is a coordinated effort among several extension system personnel. It was launched in 1999 by Mr. Butch Blaylock and is conducted at the county level by your local extension agent. I am responsible for the Nutrition section of the program which consists of several topics from basic nutritional information to a discussion of the basic nutrients (energy, protein minerals, vitamins) to the use of various supplements and by-products to complement a forage-based system. To enroll in the next Master Cattleman Program in your area contact your county extension office.

The Alabama Grazing School is also a coordinated effort among several extension system personnel as well as personnel from USDA-NRCS. The school was initiated in 1999 and is held twice per year, spring and fall. Each class is limited to an enrollment of approximately 36 participants. The school is a 2-day event that provides very useful information with regard to forage management strategies as well as in depth coverage of various fencing and watering techniques.  If you have not yet participated in a Grazing School - you should!

The Stocker Cattle Conference is conducted every 3rd year. The next conference will take place August 26 and 27, 2005 on the campus of Auburn University.

The Advanced Beef Cattle Nutrition is an off-shoot of the Master Cattleman program.  This program is for those who have been through the Master Cattleman and still want more in-depth information regarding the feeding of beef cattle.  A more in-depth discussion of energy, protein and minerals will be provided and the entire session will conclude with evaluation of various supplements with regard to adequate nutrition, cost and practicality.  Contact your local county extension office or your regional extension agent for possible program scheduling.

Extension Publications

     By-Product Feeds for Alabama Beef Cattle
     Feeding Broiler Litter to Beef Cattle
     Nutrient Requirements of Beef Cattle

Brief Topics

     Low-Quality Residual Forage
     Stockpiling Fescue
     Stockpiling Bermudagrass
     Optimizing Winter Annuals
     Legume Bloat in Beef Cattle
     N fertilization of grasses
     Feeding Raw Soybeans and Peanuts
     Feeding Soybean Hulls
     Feeding Whole Cottonseed
     Feeding Citrus Pulp
     Feeding Wheat Midds
     Feeding Aflatoxin-Contaminated Corn to Beef Cattle
     Milk Fever and Broiler Litter
     Nutritional Suggestions for Developing Young Bulls
     Weaning Calves
     Frost and Prussic Acid Poisoning
     Simple goat feeder
     Hay probes

Timely Information Sheets

Poisonous Plants

     Cornell Poisonous Plants

Research Activities: The majority of my research program involves the evaluation of by-product feeds with special emphasis on broiler litter. Currently, we have projects on-going at the Sand Mountain, Wiregrass and Blackbelt, Research and Extension Centers and at the E.V. Smith Research Center-Beef Unit.

Sand Mountain: This station is located in Crossville, AL and is home to a herd of approximately 65 crossbred cows. The calving season is early-February through mid-April and the forage base is primarily endophyte-infected fescue. Broiler production is prevalent in this area and we have conducted several studies using broiler litter as a feedstuff for this cow herd. Past research findings can be accessed in the Highlights articles listed below.  We have recently finished a second year of utilizing stockpiled bermudagrass as a late-fall, early-winter feeding regime for pregnant brood cows.  Results from this research can be accessed at this link: Stockpiled Bermudagrass

Wiregrass: This station is located in Headland, AL. My research efforts at this station have focused on by-product feeds for stocker cattle. The calves are received in the fall and shipped in the spring.  We have just recently finished two years of evaluating rice mill feed as a major component of the diet to replace broiler litter.  Results.

Blackbelt: This station is located in Marion Junction, AL. For three winters we evaluated the use of stock-piled fescue, whole cottonseed and soyhulls for wintering cow/calf pairs in the Blackbelt region.  Results

E.V. Smith - Beef Unit: This unit is located in Shorter, AL. Currently we have a long-term project (several years) with an objective of determining the value of rearing your own replacement heifers versus purchasing replacements for a crossbred herd. We are in the 4th year of selecting heifers.

Research Publications: