BeefWatch Articles from October 2021
The Range Beef Cow Symposium (RBCS) will be held in person November 16-17, 2021 in Rapid City, SD. The RBCS has been held every other year since 1969 and is hosted by South Dakota State University, Colorado State University, University of Wyoming, and University of Nebraska beef cattle extension.
The RBCS is a great place not only to hear the latest updates on topics of interest to the beef industry, but is also a great place to network with producers, industry leaders, and the vendors who make it happen.
The first light frosts are still a few weeks away in Nebraska. However, planning for these events should be considered by beef producers grazing plants in the sorghum family. In addition to sorghum, plants such as sudangrass, and milo or grain sorghum fall under this same level of risk as colder temperatures draw near. Following a freeze, these forages can be highly toxic with prussic acid. Drought, pasture clipping, and overgrazing are other events that can cause increased levels of prussic acid.
This article was originally featured in Progressive Cattle.
As producers begin selecting replacement heifers, a commonly asked question is, “What is the best method for developing heifers?” Considering the expenses involved in developing replacements, determining the most cost-effective system for a specific production environment is important for both long-term profitability and longevity of those females.
With fall upon us, many producers are beginning to plan shipment of this year’s calf crop or moving cattle from summer pasture to crop residues, fall/winter pastures, or to a dry lot. Each and every year, millions of head of cattle are transported from point A to point B. During this time, our bumper-pull trailers, gooseneck trailers, or cattle pots are giant billboards for the cattle industry.
Cornstalk residue is a tremendous resource for fall and winter grazing; however, this year care needs to be taken in grazing drought stressed cornstalks due to the potential of high nitrates in the feed.
Cattle prefer and will select the grain as well as leaves and husk first which tend to be lower in nitrates. Because drought stressed corn is smaller and stunted, it is more likely that cattle will eat lower into the stalk where nitrate levels may be high. Nitrates are usually more concentrated in the bottom third of the stalk in the corn plant.
For many ranch operations multiple enterprises are a part of the overall business. In addition to the cow-calf enterprise, land is owned, replacement heifers are developed, hay is harvested, and often, yearlings are wintered and grazed through the summer before being sold. Breaking the whole ranch into enterprises and identifying where value is being created and costs are occurring can show where opportunities exist to change and improve the profitability of the ranch business.
With dry conditions in much of the western half of the United States, reports of livestock producers looking for fall and winter forage are accumulating. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Crop Residue Exchange (http://cropresidueexchange.unl.edu) is a free online tool designed to link cattle producers to other producers with available grazing resources.
There are times feed in the local area is scarce or expensive. This may happen during a time of drought or other natural or manmade disaster. With the help of UNL’s modified Feed Cost Cow-Q-Later it was straightforward to make some comparisons among methods of feeding cows and with some additional information estimate comparison costs among feed sources, including transporting cows. With the current drought conditions in many parts of the Western US, we felt it was worth the effort to develop the tool and provide some commentary on what we found about those costs.