BeefWatch Articles from February 2024
From genetics to feed and management, everything the beef industry works toward comes together in the feedyard.
Students in the University of Nebraska—Lincoln’s Timmerman Feedyard Management Internship see how all those things interact and ultimately produce the beef that feeds millions.
Cattle producers in central Nebraska affected by recent wildfires are invited to attend an informational meeting to learn about resources available to help them recover.
The meeting is Tuesday, March 12 at 6:30 p.m. at the West Central Research, Extension and Education Center in North Platte and will include a free meal sponsored by Nebraska Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster. Please RSVP to the Lincoln Logan-Logan-McPherson County Extension office.
Q: Should I adjust stocking rates for my burned pasture/rangeland?
A: Rainfall in May and June will be most critical and should be the guiding factor affecting stocking rate decisions. With adequate rainfall, adjustments to stocking rate are not necessary. Research from the Great Plains shows that dormant-season fires do not reduce above-ground herbaceous production. In fact, plant regrowth following fire is considerably higher in quality which could lead to increased animal performance.
Resources Available for Those Impacted
Spring wildfires that occur on range and pasturelands will happen when there is the right combination of high winds and low humidity. That has been the case here in 2024 and that threat will continue until we have new, green grass growth later this spring. Although the immediate aftermath of a fast-moving fire can look quite devastating, our perennial pasture grasses are resilient and will recover, especially since they are still dormant. Spring is also a time when many prescribed burns are conducted for the purpose of Eastern red cedar control. Of course, adequate m
There are as many ways to feed and develop young beef bulls as there are seedstock producers. There are various reasons that bulls are managed and fed the way they are. Whether bulls are developed on the ranch, in a commercial facility, or at a central bull test, they are usually fed to gain 2.8 to 4.0 pounds daily from weaning to one year of age.
An upcoming four-part extension workshop for women in agriculture will focus on emergency preparedness for rural families.
The program will be held at numerous locations across Nebraska and Indiana. The series will focus on farm and ranch emergency management, first aid, fire protection, and hazardous materials. Workshops will be held from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. CT on March 5, 7, 12 and 14.
The spring bull sale season is underway. Producers are studying catalogs, comparing EPDs and individual animal performance numbers, and choosing which bulls will be the next herd sires. This article includes a link to a spreadsheet producers can use to figure actual bull costs, and addresses some of the things producers should consider before heading to the sale. Hint: It's more than just the lunch menu.
Spring sale season in the Great Plains is in full swing. This is when seedstock producers get to showcase their program's progeny, and buyers can acquire bull power for the upcoming breeding season. The primary purpose of buying bulls is to improve herd genetics through an outside seedstock producers’ breeding program. Since nearly all herd improvements over time are a deliberate effort through purchased bulls or modern technologies such as artificial insemination, genetics are instilled in a herd through new bulls.
Mud conditions in calving areas can lead to health concerns in both the cow and calf. Mud and moisture prevent the hair coat from insulating and maintaining body temperature, leaving newborn calves vulnerable to hypothermia. Mud also increases the energy requirements for the cow and may lead to decreases in body condition score (Nickles, et al. 2022).
Coccidiosis is caused by a microscopic protozoan parasite. The parasite invades intestinal cells and destroys the cells while multiplying, causing diarrhea in the process. Coccidiosis in cattle is characterized by straining and bloody diarrhea. The organism is widespread - almost all cattle become infected at some time in their lives, although many never show signs of illness. Illness is more common in concentrated livestock operations because there is more opportunity for the environment to become contaminated in large numbers, and for calves to be exposed to large doses of the parasite.
In this webinar Dr. Halden Clark talks about preventing calf scours and how to use the Sandhills Calving Method. The key to preventing scours in calves is reducing their exposure to the pathogens that cause scours, and coming up with a system to keep newborn calves in clean, dry areas whenever possible.
Neonatal calf diarrhea, or scours, is a common concern among cow-calf producers. Understanding why scours occurs is the first step in preventing the problem.
University of Nebraska—Lincoln’s beef program will be presenting the latest feedlot-related research findings in meetings across Nebraska in February.
Anyone interested is welcome to attend the meetings Feb. 13, 14 and 15 in Bridgeport, Gothenburg and West Point, respectively.
“With precision technology and the tools we have available, we can offer producers more scientifically-supported, specific information than ever before,” said Dr. Jessica Sperber, UNL Feedlot Extension specialist and organizer of the event.
Light precipitation possible through Saturday
Feed costs are often the biggest expense for cow-calf producers in Nebraska. Understanding how the cow’s nutrient requirements change throughout the year and how to cost-effectively meet those requirements with the feed resources available can have a big effect on the bottom line.
On Monday, Feb. 5 we hosted a discussion between UNL Feedlot Extension faculty and producers. A recording of that discussion is available here
In unexpected warm, wet winter conditions cattle face challenges accessing feed, water, or a place to lie down. Muddy conditions affect requirements for maintenance, according to this UNL study. Even if feed intake is not affected by muddy conditions (cattle can reach the bunk and water trough and consume a full ration daily), mud depths of less than 9 inches increase maintenance requirements up to 80%. This means that cattle consuming a finishing diet containing 1 Mcal NEm/lb will require nearly d
A main economic driver of a cow-calf operation is the number of calves weaned per cow exposed. Two subsequent drivers are weight and phenotype. For these reasons, outstanding calf health is a directly correlated variable to calf growth and performance, and—ideally—profitability.
What should Nebraskans know about the weather for the next few weeks? Nebraska Extension Ag Climatologist and "Market Journal" Chief Meteorologist Eric Hunt tells us in the Feb. 2, 2024 episode of Market Journal.
Cornstalk residue utilization is a great way for producers to integrate crops and livestock. Maintaining cows on residue can be an economical choice, but additional feed costs will be necessary when lactation increases the energy demands of the cow.