BeefWatch Articles from August 2023

BeefWatch Articles from August 2023

Resources for Helping Cattle Deal with Heat Stress

While we can’t control the heat, there are some things we can control to help cattle through it. 

Drought-stressed Corn: A Feed Opportunity

Some areas of Nebraska are experiencing drought and lack of water for irrigation. Depending on the field situation and the availability of silage cutters and transportation logistics, harvesting corn and taking the crop insurance may be the most viable option, especially when most plants have at least partial ears. The following resource may be helpful when considering corn for grain or silage.

Gudmundsen Sandhills Laboratory Open House

The 24th annual University of Nebraska–Lincoln Gudmundsen Sandhills Laboratory (GSL) Open House will be held on Wednesday, August 23, 2023. This year’s Open House will be a hybrid format with our traditional in-person event held at GSL along with being live streamed online as a webinar.

Why Consider Drylotting Cows this Fall?

This fall as pastures continue to recover from drought in previous years, some producers who traditionally pasture their cattle are considering feeding cow-calf pairs in confinement. Drylotting can be a feasible way to allow pasture recovery, while feeding grain, forage, and crop stover to pairs. A few of the many advantages of a drylot system include closer observation of the herd, low weaning stress, and providing opportunity to bunk break calves prior to weaning.

What Will You Do with Profits?

Cow-calf producers are looking at the potential for significant profits for 2023 due to high calf prices. This income may give cow-calf producers the rare opportunity to invest capital back into the ranch.

The following are options, in no particular order, to consider when thinking about and planning for investments into the ranch or cow-calf enterprise.

Is That Corn Crop Worth More as Silage or Grain?

Ongoing dry and drought conditions in many parts of the state are supporting hay and forage prices as we look towards this fall. Perennial dryland hay production in many parts of Nebraska has been less than average. Forage production on rangeland and pasture in central and eastern Nebraska is, in many situations, significantly less than average. This diminished production is going to result in less fall and winter grazing.   

Don’t Get Caught Off Guard, Be Prepared to Beat the Heat

Summer is officially here, and temperatures are beginning to heat up across the nation. With increasing temperatures, special attention is needed when it comes to mitigating heat, especially those animals being housed in a dry lot. While some only consider temperature when assessing the effects of heat, other environmental factors such as humidity, air movement, and solar radiation contribute to the heat load cattle experience.

What are Your Options with Wet Hay?

Top 5 Takeaways

  • Wet bales are at risk for combustion; store appropriately and check temperatures. Anything above 170°F is high risk.
  • Mold may produce mycotoxins, so roll out and let animals select good portions of moldy bales. Make sure other clean feed is available.
  • Protect yourself from respiratory issues while working with moldy bales by using a dust mask.
  • Hay testing is especially important when hay quality and safety are concerns.

Why Larkspur is Dangerous for Cattle and How to Manage It

As a result of this year’s wet weather in areas of Nebraska, ranchers and land managers can expect some changes in weed species abundance in range and pastures. Larkspur is one weed that’s showing up and causing some problems. At the Panhandle Research, Extension and Education Center in Scottsbluff we have had more phone calls and in-person visits from ranchers regarding larkspur management in the last month than we have in the previous five years combined.

Storing Wet Distillers Grains in the Summer for Fall and Winter Feeding


Wet distillers grains (WDGS) are a good source of energy (108% TDN) and crude protein (30%) (dry matter basis). Therefore, they are a popular commodity for beef cattle supplementation. 

Pros and Cons of Fall-planting Winter and Spring Small Grains

Using small grains as a dependable fall or spring forage source will depend on several factors, including production potential based on planting date, availability of moisture and adequate fertility, season of production, and winterhardiness. All small grains can produce forage, so the options are:

Registration Open for Applied Reproductive Strategies in Beef Cattle Symposium

In partnership with the University of Wyoming, the Beef Reproduction Task Force will host the Applied Reproductive Strategies in Beef Cattle (ARSBC) symposium at the Little America Hotel and Resort (2800 W. Lincolnway) in Cheyenne, Wyoming on Sep. 6-7th, 2023.

The event will run from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. on Wednesday, Sep. 6, and 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on Sep. 7. Producers, veterinarians, artificial insemination technicians, students and others interested in beef cattle production are encouraged to attend.

New Custom Rates for Livestock Services Published

A new report from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Center for Agricultural Profitability features current rates for custom services related to livestock production in Nebraska. It reflects the results of a statewide survey that was circulated in early 2023 to those who either provide or pay for custom work related to livestock.