New construction on Kansas State University's (KSU) Beef Stocker Unit should be well on its way by the annual KSU Beef Stocker Conference Sept. 15, says Dale Blasi, KSU beef specialist.

He adds that eight of a total of 24 research pens should be completed by then. The pens will be the first of three sets planned, with each set designed to hold a potload of five-weight calves.

“Once completed, the facility will be a small-scale emulation of a modern feeding facility,” Blasi says. “With wireless feed reports, and water metering and electricity to each pen, we'll be able to employ a lot of technology in performing our research.”

He says the entire project will cost more than $110,000. Among the commercial supporters are Merial, Gallagher Power Fence, Roto-Mix and Mollhagen Mfg.

A facilities tour is part of the annual Beef Stocker Conference that gets underway at 9:30 a.m. in the Holiday Inn/Holidome in Manhattan. The topics include: “Traceability and the Brand Premise: Making Stocker Operations Fit in the Equation,” Leann Saunders, IMI Global; “Tomorrow's Stocker Program: Will Preconditioning Fit?” John Butler, Merial, Ltd.; “Legal Issues Facing Stocker Operations,” Allie Devine, Kansas Livestock Association; “Dealing with Weight Variation,” Mike Tokach, KSU; and “Strategic Use of Antibiotics,” Mike Apley, KSU.

Registration, which covers lunch and dinner, breaks and conference materials, is $20 before Sept. 5, and $30 after. For more info, call 785/532-1267.