BeefWatch Articles from July 2023
Given the drought conditions in some locations this year, many producers may be asking themselves how to handle the annual forages they have standing in the field that may not have grown as much as would be expected under normal conditions. These drought-stressed forages can be high in nitrates and may be potentially toxic to cattle.
But with careful management, you can reduce the risk of grazing drought-stressed forages.
Though the stress of calving season is behind us, cattle producers have to stay vigilant, because things like nursing calf pneumonia and pinkeye can take a lot of the fun out of baseball games and county fairs. Let’s take a quick look at summer/nursing-calf pneumonia.
The University of Nebraska is hosting an open house at the Barta Brothers Ranch on July 25th from 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. The Barta Brothers Ranch is a 6,000-acre property donated to the University of Nebraska by Clifford and James Barta in 1996. The ranch has housed a variety of research projects over the years including studies on Sandhills’ biocomplexity and a 20-year-long grazing systems production survey. One of the newest research projects, commonly referred to as CAM (collaborative adaptive management), will be the primary focus of the open house.
If planting in July, warm season annual grasses are good options for forage production. They can be used to produce hay, silage, green chop, or grazing both during the summer or winter. However, if the desired use is winter grazing and the need is for high quality forage, then delaying planting until late July/early August and using cool-season winter sensitive species like oats may be a better fit. This article provides information on species selection and some key management considerations based on desired use.
The 2023 Nebraska Grazing Conference will be held August 8 and 9 at the Younes Conference Center in Kearney, NE. This year’s conference features speakers highlighting Grazing Lands Conservation, Emerging Issues in Grazing Lands, and Precision Livestock Management. The featured banquet speaker for the Conference is Curt Pate.
The use of shades in feedlots has made a big difference in the effects of heat on fat cattle, but a few other strategies can help keep cattle cool, enabling cattle to keep gaining, even in the dog days of summer.
With areas across the state either dealing with drought or wet conditions, cow management and limited forage resources may have producers considering options for early weaning and utilizing early pregnancy detection to help make culling and management decisions this year.
There has been lots of commentary among consumers about gas prices as we unofficially head into summer. Nationally, regular gasoline prices had begun slowly to come off of their all-time highs of $5.01 per gallon in June 2022, to a new low of $3.09 per gallon in January 2023. Prices have risen steadily over the last several months, to $3.57 per gallon, as of the last week in May 2023. Higher gasoline prices tend to reduce travel as total costs for vacations and trips increase. Ultra-low-sulfur diesel has also come down from its high of $5.78 per gallon in June 2022.