BeefWatch Articles from November 2018
In this recent webinar, Dr. Aaron Yoder discusses an on-going project designed to improve the safety and health of cattle feedyard workers.
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.
About half of the available corn residue in Nebraska is grazed by cattle. In addition to providing a winter feed resource, this practice can be used as a management option to increase the amount and rate of corn residue breakdown. University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) research has shown that when corn residue was grazed at proper stocking rates (15% residue removal), crop production after grazing was not reduced. In fact, small, positive impacts on subsequent soybean yield has occurred.
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.
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.
Ammoniation can be used to make low quality forages, like corn residue, have digestibility and protein content that is the equivalent of, or slightly better than, grass hay.
The Process of Ammoniation
Ammoniation of corn residue is relatively easy (although working with anhydrous ammonia can be dangerous and proper safety precautions must be taken). To ammoniate residue, the bales will be stacked together and the outside covered with plastic.
BeefWatch, an electronic monthly newsletter that provides beef producers with timely, research-based information on beef production issues as well as current issues and timely topics for consumers, is expanding to reach Hispanics working in the cattle industry. One to two articles will be translated each month into Spanish, appearing both on the beef.unl.edu website and the Podcast version of BeefWatch.