BeefWatch Articles from November 2022
Nebraska Cattlemen and Nebraska Extension will be hosting the 2022 Cattlemen’s College on December 6 at the Buffalo County Extension Building (1400 E. 34th Street, Kearney, NE). Registration, and a chance to begin viewing the graduate posters on display, will be at 12:00 p.m. The program will run from 12:30 p.m. – 8:45 p.m.
Baling of soybean residue after harvest has gained popularity again this fall due to higher hay prices and forage shortages following drought. Further, delayed corn harvests are also slowing stalks residue baling and stalks grazing. According to the USDA AMS Nebraska Direct Hay sales report, large round cornstalks bale values are $110 per ton versus $80 per ton for large round soybean residue bales. So, the question arises, do soybean residue bale values justify raking and baling costs, reduced soil protection and nutrient removal?
In the last few years, buzzwords like precision livestock management have been thrown around quite a bit. Although the official name of “precision livestock farming” debuted in a European conference in 2003, usage of technology in beef production systems isn’t a new thing. Artificial insemination began in the 1950s, use of growth implants became commercially available in 1957, and use of EPDs in bulls started in the 1970s. These 3 technologies adopted in commercial cow-calf systems would be considered precision livestock management tools.
To build a nutrition program for a cow-calf system, it is important to know the herd’s nutritional requirements, have set trigger points to make rapid changes in nutritional management if needed and know the quality and quantity of your forage resources. With many producers across the state starting to or already weaning calves, it’s a good time to note the body condition score (BCS) of the cowherd.
Ionophores have been safely utilized in the beef industry for a long time. If fed according to the recommended rates, ionophores are considered safe and effective. Ionophores are feed additives used in cattle diets to increase feed efficiency and body weight gain. In addition, ionophores can decrease the incidence of bloat and coccidiosis. Ionophores can be fed to cattle in several different supplemental packages from liquid feeds, cakes, pellets, and loose minerals.
Daily energy intake can be a limiting factor for cow performance while grazing winter range or dormant forages. As forages advance in stages of maturity, there is an inadequate supply of crude protein, which effectively limits energy intake and overall intake itself. Intake declines rapidly as forage crude protein falls below about 7%, a relationship attributed to a deficiency of nitrogen (protein) in the rumen, which inhibits activity of the rumen microbes.
Pasture Rangeland Forage (PRF) insurance coverage is available on a calendar year basis with a signup deadline of December 1. For coverage in calendar year 2023, producers must sign up for PRF by December 1, 2022. At this point, many producers across the state are thinking about the impact of drought. Some may already be implementing PRF, and others may be thinking about adding it as a part of their drought risk management strategy. PRF insurance is administered by the USDA – Risk Management Agency (RMA) and is available for purchase through local crop insurance agents.
As the 2022 calendar year winds down, this is a good time for spring calving herds to look at what it cost them to produce a calf in the past year. What did it cost to run a cow on your operation this year? How do you calculate the costs? How do you value raised feed, labor, equipment, as well as replacement females grown on the ranch? These questions are frequently asked when the conversation of annual cow costs comes up.
The numerous tools to aid in genetic selection allow for expedited progress toward breeding objectives. However, there are variations in how values are calculated and the units they are reported in. Single Trait Expected Progeny Differences (EPDs), EPD Indexes, and Production Ratios are typical of reported data and can provide guidance towards breeding objectives when applied as they are intended. While the bells and whistles vary across breed associations, the basics of each measurement can be applied across breeds and genetic reporting platforms.
Forty-seven high school students from Cherry, Grant, Hooker, and Thomas counties attended the Gudmundsen Sandhills Laboratory (GSL) Youth Science Day on October 5. Beef Systems Extension Educator, T. L. Meyer, kicked off the event with an introduction to GSL before dividing the students into two groups for lab rotation topics. The six topics included Smart Feeder technology (Travis Mulliniks and Jacki Musgrave), beef reproduction (Rosemary Anderson), fire and range management (Ryan Benjamin), precision livestock management (Yijie Xiong and T. L.
The drought across much of the western U.S has resulted in low hay production, high hay prices and in some cases, no hay to be bought. Some producers may be considering using corn residue bales. Corn residue has been traditionally used as a roughage source in feedlot diets and more recently mixed with more energy dense feeds and fed to cows in confinement. However, many operations may not have the ability to mix and feed diets.