BeefWatch Archive

Beefwatch Archive

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

Strip grazing annual forages in the fall: Is it worth the effort?

After about 5 years of fall cover crop grazing, one thing became apparent: the amount of grazing achieved when we gave cattle access to the whole field from the start did not appear to be determined by the amount of forage that was in the field. This was because the weather seemed to determine how much trampling loss occurred. In wet years, we harvested less than 15% of the forage, and on average, we captured about 30%.

More than 419,000 Tons of Rangeland Production are Lost Annually in Nebraska to Woody Encroachment

Did you know that Nebraska’s grasslands lose over 419,000 tons of forage production every year due to woody plant encroachment? When woody plants like eastern redcedar spread and take over grasslands, they displace grasses and broadleaf plants and reduce forage production by up to 75%1 (Fig.1). New rangeland monitoring data shows that tree cover increased by over 402,000 acres in Nebraska’s rangelands from 1990-2019 ( This means less forage for livestock and wildlife needs.

Reviewing Cow-Calf Share and Cash Lease Agreements

The trend in cattle prices over the last year has been dramatically toward the upside. Prices have risen higher and faster than many market analysts thought possible for 2023. These changes in market value are having an impact on beef cow share and cash lease agreements in determining what is “fair” to both cow owners and those who are leasing the cows.

For a cow owner, the following are the four major drivers that determine what is "fair" in terms of a cash lease or percentage of the calf crop the cow owner should receive. Those factors are:

Winter Rate of Gain & Implant Strategy of Stockers Influences Hot Carcass Weight

This article was originally featured in Progressive Cattle and is a summary of the 2023 Nebraska Beef Cattle Report, Timing of Implant Use in the Backgrounding System.

Best practices for vaccinating cattle, handling vaccines, and caring for animal health equipment

Fall weaning and transportation can be a high-stress period for calves that may be transitioning from one operation to another. As animal care providers, it’s our job to take that into consideration and do all we can to reduce the stress load on these animals.

Understanding Cattle Health Concerns on Cornstalks

Grazing corn residue is common practice in the Midwest and a quality resource for cattle producers to utilize.  While the forages available can provide the necessary nutritional requirements, there are a few health conditions that need to be planned for prior to turn out.

Fall Cattle Lice Treatments

Treating cattle for lice when it’s convenient—usually during preconditioning and preg-checking—isn’t necessarily the most effective approach.

While late summer and early fall endectocide (drugs that kill both internal and external parasitic insects) treatment may work on most internal parasites and horn flies, lice may escape.

Feedlot Cattle Handling Practices

Stockmanship and low-stress cattle handling is a topic that receives a lot of attention. Even the latest report of the National Beef Quality Audit (2022) identifies cattle handling as an area for “focused improvement,” due in part to the persistence of bruising.

Pricing Corn Destined for Feeding as Silage, Snaplage, Earlage or Grain

Grain production regions allow cattle producers to harvest grain crops as grain (dry or high moisture) or green chop to be preserved as silage for cattle feeding (feed crop).  Corn grain production is particularly well suited for this purpose.  Harvesting the ears and shank (earlage) or husk, grain, cob, and shank (snaplage) represent options intermediate to harvesting grain or chopping the whole plant. 

Welcome to the Feedlot: Best Practices for Managing Newly Received Feeder Calves

As we near the feedlot fall run, and cattle are newly received into the feedlot, there are key considerations to keep in mind to achieve best cattle performance. The goal of a receiving strategy is to make the transition from calf origin into the feedlot or backgrounding yard as seamless as possible. The first 14 days upon feedlot arrival are critical in calf development and set the performance trajectory of the calf for the remainder of the feeding period. The main goal at receiving is to help with any bovine respiratory disease (BRD) concerns and improve upon the health of the calf.