BeefWatch Articles from July 2020
Native rangelands are well known for their importance as a forage resource to beef cattle and other livestock. These same rangelands are also an essential resource for smaller six-legged foragers: insect pollinators. Insect pollinators include a diverse number of species of beetles, flies, wasps, butterflies, moths, and bees, many of which are found on rangelands in Nebraska. Pollinators are integral in maintaining healthy ecosystems and food security for humans.
Keeping a tight grip on feed costs is a priority for every beef producer. Creep feeding calves can be a good return on investments in certain situations. Maintaining the calf’s efficiency at an early age is becoming much more critical with modern market requirements. The gross income of the cow/calf enterprises is partially dependent on the weaning weight of the calves. Outside of changing weaning date, there are management strategies that can increase calf weaning weight.
Hot, dry conditions in early summer have taken a toll on grass growth in much of the Great Plains this year. There are several options cattle producers may want to consider to conserve grass in these dry areas. Every producer should have a drought plan that includes trigger dates and a culling strategy, but once those top cuts are made, what feeding options are there for the core herd?
Drought conditions are persisting in Wyoming, Colorado and Kansas and have expanded into portions of Nebraska (Figure 1), reducing range and pasture production. Although soil moisture has kept most of Nebraska out of drought, portions of the state are well below normal spring precipitation levels and above normal spring temperatures (Figure 2).
Dry conditions in many parts of the state are challenging producers to consider options for growing additional forage to provide feed for this fall and winter. In some parts of the state, less than 50% of long-term average precipitation has been received from the middle of April to the middle of June. This has severely impacted forage production from perennial dryland hay fields as well as yields from winter and spring annual forages.
Nebraska Extension, Lallemand Animal Nutrition and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach are hosting the third Silage for Beef Cattle Conference with one major change: this year, the event will be a series of four, hour-long free webinars held from July 7 through Aug. 4, 2020.
Early Detection and Rapid Response (EDRR) is a concept to identify potentially invasive species prior to or just as the establishment of the invasive is taking place. An Integrated Pest Management plan (IPM) can be developed to manage, contain and eradicate the invasive species before it can spread further. This will avoid costly, long-term control efforts.
Driving or riding through a pen or pasture of cattle is a favorite chore for many producers. Making sure our cattle have plenty of clean water, access to feed or forage and monitoring herd health are important aspects of daily care. When examining cattle, one important disease not to overlook is pinkeye. Pinkeye is a highly contagious infectious disease that not only affects cattle in Nebraska but worldwide. The incidence and severity of this common disease can vary widely from year to year.