BeefWatch Archive

Beefwatch Archive

To read articles prior to September 2017, please visit the article archive on UNL Announce.

Nitrate Nitrogen (NO3-N) or Nitrate (NO3-) – Know the Difference!

I just got the forage test results back from the lab and the nitrate score was 3,000. Am I in trouble? Every year I get multiple questions similar to this one. Unfortunately, with just this information I’m unable to give a useful answer. So – the first question I ask is “Was this reported as nitrates or as nitrate nitrogen?”

Corn Stalk Quality After Weathering

Fall rainfall, and even snow, is good for wheat and next year’s crops, but it does have its drawbacks.  One challenge is rain’s impact on corn stalk feed quality.

Rain in the fall usually is welcomed despite the delays it causes with crop harvest.  Pastures and alfalfa benefit from extra growth and winterizing capabilities.  Wheat and other small grains get well established as do any new fields of alfalfa or pasture.  The reserve moisture stored in the soil will get good use during next year’s growing season.

Winter Grazing On Upland Rangelands

Year-round cattle grazing is an important management consideration in the Nebraska Sandhills and western Nebraska. With proper protein and mineral supplementation, cattle can be successfully grazed on dormant winter forage without high inputs of harvested feeds. Although, some hay may need to be fed during heavy snows or if available forage is lacking. Saving forage on pastures for use during only winter months can provide a valuable source of feed.

Grazing Fall Pairs on Cornstalks

Cornstalk residue can be an economical source of forage for beef cattle in the winter.  The leftover corn, leaf and husk are the most desirable parts of the corn plant to the animal. Modern farming practices and technology have probably decreased the amount of corn left in the fields for the most part, but the digestibility of the leaf and husk are typically between 45-57% total digestible nutrients (TDN).  Assuming stocking rates are moderate and intake is not limiting, research has indicated this will maintain non-lactating pregnant cows.

 

What Did it Cost to Produce a Pound of Calf This Year?

By early December, weaning of spring-born calves has wrapped up for most cow-calf producers. This is a good time of year to close the books on 2018 and analyze the business to see what it cost to produce a pound of weaned calf. Unit cost of production (UCOP) is a value based on a relationship in production or manufacturing between costs and units of product made or produced.

Feedlot Worker Safety

In this recent webinar, Dr. Aaron Yoder discusses an on-going project designed to improve the safety and health of cattle feedyard workers.

Beef Cows, Hoop Barns, Cover Crops, Cornstalks, and Irrigated Pasture – A Producer’s Perspective

Integrated cow-calf production systems that utilize hoop barns, crop residues and annual forages are gaining interest in the heart of corn and soybean county. In this BeefWatch Producer Perspective Podcast, Tyler Burkey who is part of a family farm operation near Milford, Nebraska discusses how they have built a cow-calf operation around a wide range of resources and technology.

Changing Supplementation Frequency May Impact Cow Weight and Body Condition Score

This article is a summary of the 2016 Kansas Agricultural Experimentation Station Research Reports: Vol. 2: Iss.1. “Effects of Altering Supplementation Frequency During the Pre-Partum Period of Beef Cows Grazing Dormant Native Range.”  C.J. McMullen, J.R. Jaeger, J.W. Waggoner, K.R. Harmoney and K.C. Olsen were collaborators on this research study and report.  The report is summarized by Aaron Berger, Nebraska Extension Beef Educator.

Reviewing Cow-calf Share and Cash Lease Agreements

The fall of the year is often a convenient time for those involved in cow-calf share and cash leases of spring calving cows to revisit the terms of the agreement.  Market values of cattle, interest rates, pasture rental rates and feed costs can change significantly from year to year.  Discussing how the share or lease is working and if adjustments need to be made is a good way to ensure the agreement is fair.

Limit Feeding Cows Corn as an Alternative to Hay

Feed costs make up the largest expense in a cow-calf operation. While hay is often used to feed cows through the winter, current prices make corn a competitive option to feeding hay. Considering corn has a higher energy content than hay, the cost of feeding hay is often higher than corn on a price per pound of energy basis. For example, corn priced at $3.30/bushel ($118/ton) equates to approximately $0.08 per pound of total digestible nutrients (TDN) while hay priced at $100/ton is nearly $0.11 per pound of TDN. 

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