BeefWatch Articles from June 2022
The following is a list of strategies to reduce the impact of heat stress on cattle in the feedlot with suggestions for sequential deployment. Strategies listed under preparation are intended to be deployed early within 10 to 14 days of the initial heat event forecast. Strategies listed under remediation are intended to be deployed as the heat event proceeds.
Nebraska Extension will host a stocker/yearling systems summer meeting and tour Thursday, June 23 in Imperial, Nebraska. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. MDT and the program will kick off at 9:00 a.m. MDT at the Crossroads Wesleyan Church, Imperial. Lunch is sponsored by Merck Animal Health, followed by a tour of Wine Glass Ranch in the afternoon.
SDSU Extension, Kansas State Research and Extension and Nebraska Extension will host a series of Diversifying with Small Ruminants workshops June 7 in Salina, KS, June 8 in O'Neill, NE and June 9 in Chamberlain, SD. The program will go from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and lunch will be provided.
This program was developed due to interest by cattle producers looking at adding sheep to their beef operation. We will discuss things to consider when looking at such a move and producers will discuss what they have learned from adding sheep.
While areas across Nebraska have received some precipitation, much of the state remains in moderate to extreme drought. Following recommended trigger dates for necessary management changes, now is the time assess current precipitation accumulation, cool-season forage growth, and seasonal forecasts.
This article was first published by "In the Cattle Markets" on May 9, 2022.
Livestock feed is often the greatest annual cost to producers, making grasslands and grassland management an important component of the livestock industry. Profitable and effective grassland livestock management begins with understanding the forage resource, including identifying the plants in the pasture. To manage grassland profitably, managers must be able to identify what plants are there, understand their nutritional value, what plants livestock prefer to graze, and how grazing and other factors impact each plant.
In working with cow-calf producers and discussing unit cost of production, labor and equipment costs are often the second largest expense category identified after grazed and harvested feed. Expenses related to labor and equipment have increased dramatically over the last several years and especially in the last 18 months. Competition for labor is high and those with the necessary work ethic and skills frequently find industries outside of agriculture offering wages and benefits difficult to compete with and be profitable.
Global positioning system (GPS) technology has been implemented into the agriculture world in numerous ways. It is a satellite navigation system based on real-time geolocation and time information. GPS data can be a useful tool to maximize production, manage more efficiently, and reduce costs. Farmers have proven the positive benefits of integrating GPS technology in their operations, such as tractor guidance, planting, application rates, and yield mapping.
Presently, despite timely rains in certain areas of Nebraska, the threat of drought for the summer of 2022 is not dissipated. Prediction models of precipitation for May to July place most of Nebraska counties at leaning below normal probability with probability of temperatures likely above normal. Weather conditions and continued high grain and forage prices will result in greater annual cow costs in 2022.
Various factors affect water intake; but temperature, humidity and feed intake are the main drivers. Additionally, the first heat events of the season (late May and early June) are the most stressful on cattle: cattle are generally reaching finishing weight and condition, they are not acclimated to heat, and they have not shed their winter coat. This transition also catches managers and staff off guard as they are focused on late-winter yard management.