BeefWatch Articles from October 2018
In this webinar, Rob Eirich discusses the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program including why and how to become BQA certified.
In this month’s BeefWatch Producer Perspective Podcast, John Maddux who is part of a diversified cattle operation near Imperial, shares how his family grazes cornstalks through the fall and winter with spring calving cow-calf pairs.
If you haven’t experienced a freeze yet this fall, you soon will. And remember, a freeze can cause hazards for using some forages.
When plants freeze, changes occur in their metabolism and composition that can poison livestock. But you can prevent problems.
Sorghum-related plants, like cane, sudangrass, shattercane, and milo can be highly toxic for a few days after frost. Freezing breaks plant cell membranes. This breakage allows the chemicals that form prussic acid, which is also called cyanide, to mix together and release this poisonous compound rapidly.
This summer western Nebraska has been blessed with rain. Unfortunately, these rains have often been accompanied by hail. As a result, some once promising corn crops have been harvested for corn silage increasing the availability of this energy source in areas where it is not typically abundant. Several producers have had questions about the value of corn silage compared with sugar beet pulp, a more familiar commodity in western Nebraska for growing cattle.
Roughage is a necessary component in finishing diets for beef cattle as it helps maintain rumen function and reduces digestive upset. However, roughages are bulky, somewhat expensive for feedlots to acquire and store, and increase the volume in the feed truck, which increases the number of loads it takes to feed cattle thereby increasing the cost of feeding. Therefore, if the amount of roughage fed could be reduced without negatively impacting feedlot performance, efficiency of production could be improved.
Immune and nutritional status as well as management of newly received cattle influence their adaptability to the feedlot environment. Based on the information available relative to the history of a group of cattle, it is appropriate to classify the group within a certain health risk level and manage them accordingly. Genetics, age, source, vaccination program, length of transportation, and weather conditions are just some of the factors taken into consideration when designating cattle as low or high-risk.
Current market conditions for raw, whole soybeans are making them price competitive in parts of Nebraska with other protein sources such as distillers grains and alfalfa hay to be used as a protein supplement for cows as well as weaned calves.
The State of Beef Conference will be held November 7-8, 2018 at the Sandhills Convention Center in North Platte. The theme this year is “Increasing Production Efficiency”. There will be two producer panel discussions this year. One is on production efficiency and one is on alternative profit centers for the ranch. There will be a presentation on the market outlook as well as genetics, reproduction, and nutrition. This will also be an opportunity to visit with industry personnel about products available for the ranching operation.
This year, wet weather has many producers putting up hay much later in the season than normal. A late harvest date means grasses have already produced seed heads and are rapidly declining in forage nutrient value. While having even low quality hay on hand for winter feed is better than none, producers will need to consider the challenges of meeting cattle nutrient requirements this winter.
This article is a summary of the 2018 Nebraska Beef Cattle Report “Late Summer Planted Oat-Brassica Forage Quality Changes during Winter Grazing.” Mary E. Lenz, Jordan L. Cox, Kristen E. Hales, Hannah C. Wilson, and Mary E. Drewnoski were collaborators on this research study and report. The report is summarized by Aaron Berger, Nebraska Extension Beef Educator.