BeefWatch Articles from April 2022
Family-owned operations make up 98% of U. S. agriculture. Transitioning the ranch from one generation to the next, or even from one operator to another can be complicated. Research from Oklahoma State University1 evaluated the probability of success for various agricultural transition plans. Family-owned businesses successfully transferred from the first generation to the second generation 30% of the time. However, success rates declined in subsequent generations.
We may be finishing the calving season, but it is never too early to be thinking about the breeding season. With the breeding season comes getting those bulls scheduled for their breeding soundness exam (BSE) and ensuring your bull battery are satisfactory breeders.
In the beef industry, the goal is to have each newborn calf paired up with a good cow who has adequate milk and plenty of maternal instincts. Unfortunately, there are times a calf ends up without a mother and becomes a bottle calf.
Among its six committees, the Beef Checkoff’s “Consumer Trust Committee” supports programs that grow consumer trust in beef and beef production through greater adoption and understanding of industry best practices. The Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program is the industry’s library of information on best practices and serves as a hub for disseminating this information to cattle producers.
The next session of “Know Your Numbers, Know Your Options,” Nebraska Extension’s four-part record-keeping course, will be held virtually from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. central time on April 18, 20, 25 and 27.
Participants should plan on attending each of the four workshop dates. The course requires participants to have an internet connection.
As temperatures warm, pasture fly season is just around the corner. The horn fly, has been and continues to be a major fly pest of pasture and rangeland cattle across the U. S. During a warm spring in Nebraska, horn flies can be seen on cattle as early as the third week of April. Historically, horn flies appearing during this period may perish from cold fronts arriving later in the month, or in early May. Even with challenging weather conditions, the horn fly can adapt to these conditions by shortening the number of days to complete its life cycle.
A dry year last year and little moisture so far this year has led to depleted soil moisture conditions for much of the state. With National Weather Service forecasts showing a likely warmer than normal summer for Nebraska, combined with current low soil moisture, we do need to think about planning for dry conditions through the growing season. (See Figures 1-3)
Few producers will complain about dry weather during calving. Not having to worry about wet calves or fight the mud is definitely a blessing. However, with a dry fall and open winter for much of Nebraska, the threat of drought going into the 2022 growing season may be cause to dust off and reevaluate our operation’s drought plan.
Spring calving brings the promise of working calves, and in some areas of the state, branding season. Following is the challenge of gathering enough help at the right times to ensure proper vaccination, castration, and the other complements to our herd health programs. Priorities during this event typically include people safety and minimization of cattle stress.
Copper (Cu) deficiency in cow/calf herds has been associated with increased rates of diarrhea and reduced calf growth. Forages do not provide enough copper to meet the needs of beef cows and calves, thus supplementation is needed. However, it is important to note that both under and over supplementation can have negative effects on calf performance.
This article is a summary of the 2022 Nebraska Beef Cattle Report, Impact of Urea on Corn Silage Growing Cattle Diets.
With current feed prices and the majority of the state experiencing dry conditions, producers may be evaluating alternative feed options for this year. Understanding differences in protein content and degradability of various feeds is important when determining the most cost-effective option while meeting cattle nutrient requirements.
Beef producers may need to consider several items before adding small ruminants to their operation. Producers adding small ruminants to their operation have found that they could follow an old recommendation of adding a ewe or doe per cow without adjusting their stocking rate while improving their pasture utilization by 10-20%. Below are considerations when adding sheep or goats to a beef operation.
Much work has been done on illustrating the benefits and performance of price risk management tools available to livestock producers. These tools include futures and options available through the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), video/cash contracts, basis contracts, and more recently Livestock Risk Protection (LRP) insurance offered through USDA’s Risk Management Agency (USDA-RMA).
This article was first published by "In the Cattle Markets" on March 2, 2022.