BeefWatch Articles from September 2020
This is the final session of a four-part webinar series on calf health management on arrival. Dr. Brian Vander Ley discusses the limitations of remote drug delivery devices (dart guns) for cattle health management.
This video is part of the Calf Health Management on Arrival webinar series. John Schroeder, manager of Darr Feedlot near Cozad, NE, highlights some of their receiving protocols and feeding programs for calves on arrival.
This is the third session of a four-part webinar series on calf health management on arrival. Dr. Clint Krehbiel discusses the role of nutrition in health maintenance of calves.
This is the second session of a four-part webinar series on calf health management on arrival. Dr. Dan Thomson discusses arrival health programs for high-risk calves. Dr. Thomson shares some handling procedures that reduce arrival stress and promote health.
This is the first session of a four-part webinar series on calf health management on arrival. Dr. John Groves shares a systems approach to maintaining health in high-risk calves. Dr. Groves provides a virtual demonstration of how he works with clients on penning cattle to minimize health risk.
Fully utilizing a pasture doesn’t mean it should look like a golf course. If good grass is seen in the pasture when moving to another pasture, that is usually a good thing; that’s proper management. Even during drought or drier years, management can be done well. Trying to push pasture during drought years is especially hard on pasture and can have detrimental long-term effects. Many of our pastures are very resilient and have been through very tough times. Repeat or severe abuse will take over that resiliency.
Forage, pasture, and weather conditions
Few words cause as much concern for those with pasture or rangeland as drought. In 2012 when the latest widespread drought covered most of the state, some of the most difficult conversations were occurring between landowners with pasture and their tenants.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension will host the 2020 BeefWatch Webinar Series. The webinars will take place weekly beginning on Tuesday, October 6.
The BeefWatch Webinar series is designed to highlight management strategies in grazing, nutrition, reproduction, and economics to increase cow/calf and stocker production efficiency and profitability. Each session will feature industry experts and plenty of opportunity to interact to get your questions answered.
Can planting cover crops in corn systems provide the dual benefits of improving soil health and be an economical source of forage? This webinar will cover lessons learned on incorporating cover crops after corn silage, high moisture corn, and dry corn harvest in Nebraska. The session will consist of short presentations with ample time for questions and discussion.
The webinar will be held via Zoom on September 15th at 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm (central time).
In many areas of Nebraska, drought conditions have resulted in reduced forage production on rangeland and pasture. This is resulting in a shortage of feed for many producers and a need for forage between now and when cornstalks are available for grazing. Windrow grazing annual forages allows producers to cut the crop at an optimum time for quality and increase harvest efficiency through strip grazing the windrows.
Animal manures can be a “valuable asset” or a “pain in the assets”. The right amounts in the right location can be very beneficial to Nebraska’s crop, soil, and water resources. Too much manure or manure in the wrong place is an environmental concern. Our ability to place manure where its benefits are maximized and to manage manure so that its challenges are minimal is important to agriculture’s sustainability.
Pasture mature and brown early due to drought?
Previous research has shown the benefit of pregnancy diagnosis and how it adds to a producer’s bottom line. Keeping one cow over winter can cost $100-$200 in feed and supplements so removing open cows can help decrease winter feed costs. Pregnancy diagnosis is a very valuable tool in the beef industry and it is grossly underutilized. Only about 20% of producers employ some sort of a pregnancy diagnosis in their herd. Producers have options for pregnancy determination that vary in price and difficulty- transrectal palpation, transrectal ultrasound, and a blood test.
Fall is the time of year when many cow-calf producers make their replacement heifer selections and begin planning for the development of those heifers into bred females. The following are tips for selecting and developing replacement heifers.
The following are suggestions for replacement heifer selection from Dr. Jim Gosey, Beef Specialist and Professor Emeritus at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. The first thing Dr. Gosey suggests is removing heifers that are:
Two research studies at the University of Nebraska by Dr. Rick Funston, beef reproductive physiologist at the West Central Research and Extension Center, suggest that the key information needed to identify heifers most likely to be successful as replacements is known the day the heifers are born.
Setting the Stage
Even before storing, producers can give hay a better chance to make it from the field to the cow with as little loss as possible. Baling at correct moisture levels will lead to proper curing without additional heat, mold growth, and dry matter loss. Bales should maintain moisture levels below 20% for this to happen.
With much of the eastern and western borders of Nebraska in a drought, producers with fall calving cows need to be especially mindful of body condition on fall calving cows. In Nebraska, most fall calving herds actually start calving sometime in August. This allows producers to take advantage of late summer grass as a forage resource with ample protein and energy for the newly lactating cow. However, the hot dry conditions this year have left many pastures not only short on dry matter tonnage, but also short on the nutrient density required to maintain the lactating cow.
As cow-calf producers strive to reduce feed costs by finding different avenues to increase grazing days, many still have to use harvested forages in their year-round feeding program. Sampling and testing forages for quality can make designing a feeding program easy and economical. Nutrient concentration can vary considerably in feeds especially forages. Protein in alfalfa hay can range from 10-25% on a dry matter basis and grass hay will contain between four and 18 percent protein. Using book values to balance rations can result in many times over or under feeding ce
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.