BeefWatch Articles from August 2018
Proper management during the receiving phase is critical to overall health and long-term performance of cattle in the feedlot. Newly weaned calves are faced with the stress of separation from the cow, deprivation of feed and water during transportation, and adaptation to the feedlot environment. Whether calves are being introduced into a backgrounding or finishing program, implementing low-stress management practices to ensure this is a smooth transition for incoming calves becomes a major priority.
As cattlemen enter the summer months, they need to understand and deal with heat and humidity. We need to consider some guidelines to help us reduce additional stress on cattle during these events and incorporate some of the following practices into our management practices.
The 2018 Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) meetings were recently held in Loveland, CO, with over 600 people in attendance. This year’s meeting marked the 50th anniversary of BIF. With this milestone came an opportunity to reflect back on accomplishments made and given thought relative to the direction of activities going forward. One opportunity that was raised throughout several talks during the meeting was the need to collect phenotypes that are economically relevant but have largely only been collected in research settings.
How should you graze regrowth in pastures that had tall growth trampled during a previous grazing? I don’t know but I have some ideas.
Grass growth got away from many of us Nebraskans this spring. For some reason the rainfall and temperatures and sunshine all combined to quickly produce so much tall grass that cattle couldn’t eat fast enough.
August to early September is a time when some producers are planting various annual forages or cover crop mixtures for fall forage. This typically includes non-winter hardy small grain cereals such as oats and spring varieties of triticale, barley, or wheat. Brassicas such as turnips, rape, or kale can be mixed with these small grain cereal grasses. Most brassicas have high energy content even when mature and tend to maintain their quality later into the winter than the small grain cereal grasses.
The new US tax bill is in full effect. While we wait for the IRS to provide a full interpretation, we do have more information on some sections. One in particular that has some tax preparers nervous for their clients is federal withholding. With the higher standard deduction and changes in child credits, taxpayers may need to reconsider how much to withhold for federal taxes in each pay period.
Livestock producers have many of the same risk management insurance needs as crop producers. Price and market uncertainties pose a significant risk to cattle producers with a substantial amount of money invested in breeding livestock, land, and other infrastructure. Price protection through the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) futures contracts can introduce financial burdens in the form of margin calls and may not be a good option for many smaller-scale producers.
Across the Great Plains the end of summer generally brings hot and dry conditions to the region. Both warm and cool season grasses begin to mature and decline in forage quality by late July and August. This decrease in diet quality can present challenges for the May calving heifer, who is still growing and nursing her first calf. The breeding season for May calving cows starts in late July and August.
Open cattle feedlots combined with hot and drier summer conditions can often times lead to periods of increased dust issues that can become a nuisance. Observations suggest that the worst time for dust to develop is during the late afternoon and at dusk when the temperature begins to drop and wind speed decreases. This is when cattle that have been resting during the hotter part of the day, become more active. This activity creates increased dust that hangs in the cooler evening air.
The University of Nebraska has conducted several years of cow-calf research examining and comparing the potential for different production systems in Nebraska. Recent research has examined grazing summer born calves on cornstalks with their dams and compared that to feeding pairs in a dry lot.