BeefWatch Articles from All

BeefWatch Articles from All

Nebraska team identifies new genetic defect impacting cattle morbidity and meat quality

Cattle have long been a cornerstone of agriculture, providing us with milk, meat, and various other products that nourish and sustain our communities. Ensuring the cattle’s health and optimal muscle development is vital when producing high-quality beef. However, various genetic conditions can disrupt muscle metabolism, affecting animals’ well-being and the quality of the meat they produce.

Predicted hot, dry summer could impact forage production

In parts of the High Plains region, recent developing dry conditions are starting to raise concerns that we may see reduced forage production from pasture and rangelands as we move on into the rest of the spring and summer. The www.weather.gov/gid/NebraskaPrecipitation map shows many parts of the Sandhills and Panhandle regions receiving below average precipitation for the last 30 days.  This time frame is critical for precipitation that drives cool-season forage production on rangeland and pasture.

Nebraska Extension’s ‘Herd That!’ conference in North Platte to focus on beef cattle reproduction

The Nebraska Women in Agriculture program, along with the Nebraska Beef Quality Assurance Program, will host the fourth annual Herd That! Conference on June 10-11, in North Platte. The event will be held at the West Central Research, Extension and Education Center, 402 W. State Farm Road.  

Time to start planning for heat in the feedlot

As we approach the end of May, it may be time to start thinking of the summer heat, particularly that first heat event that cattle and folks who manage may not be prepared for. The following is a list of some strategies cattle feedlot managers and their crews could begin thinking about as nice weather today turns into heat-stressing weather later.

How to know when a pasture is ready to be grazed in the spring

The time for turn out to our primary summer pastures is very near.  A couple of important questions are what date to turn out, and which pastures should be first?

Horn flies and Control Options

Nebraska’s spring weather conditions have made it more difficult to predict the emergence of horn flies. If the current weather pattern continues, we should start to see horn fly emergence in the southeast part of the state in early May, reaching northern Nebraska by late May. If we experience an abrupt and sustained warm-up, horn fly numbers could reach or exceed the Economic Injury Level (EIL) statewide by the end of May. The EIL represents a fly population of 200 flies per animal that negatively impacts cattle production enough to warrant paying for a fly control measure.

The Nebraska Range Short Course and Grazing School team up in 2024

Click here to register by June 1! 

The 2024 Nebraska Range Short Course is teaming up with the Nebraska Grazing Lands Coalition (NGLC) Grazing School on June 25 – 27, 2024 at the Spring Lake Ranch south of Gordon, Nebraska to host an event that will give individuals an opportunity to increase their skills with grazing, rangeland management, and livestock production.

Should I trich test my mature bulls?

We are nearing spring turnout and breeding season, and with that, many producers may be getting bulls tested right before turnout. So, what should producers be considering to maintain herd health within their mature bull battery?

Bovine trichomoniasis “trich” testing – what is it?

H5N1/Avian Influenza/Bird Flu in dairy cattle

A discussion of the situation involving H5N1 (avian influenza/bird flu) and dairy cattle with UNL’s BeefWatch Podcast host Aaron Berger, beef Extension educator and Dr. Matt Hille, an assistant professor and diagnostic pathologist at the Nebraska Veterinary Diagnostic Center based on the campus of the University of Nebraska—Lincoln.

Targeted grazing on cheatgrass in the western Great Plains

Targeted livestock grazing is the application of grazing animals at a defined time, intensity, and duration for vegetation or landscape management objectives. When planned right, targeted grazing management can accomplish those objectives without negatively affecting livestock production. Understanding plant growth and livestock grazing preference is important to the success of targeted grazing.

May 2024 Nebraska Rangeland and Pasture Update

As May is upon us, many will be turning cattle out to pasture shortly or have done so already.  Cool-season grasses across the state have started to grow. Current moisture conditions will be a strong driver of cool-season grass growth. The month of April began drier for much of the state outside the panhandle but has been wet—very wet in some cases—for most of the state in the last two weeks. As such, a majority of locations in Nebraska are above average on precipitation for the water year, with much of the panhandle, Sandhills, and northeast sections coming in well above average.

Understanding the Value of Grass in Nebraska

Nebraska has one of the highest summer pasture rental rates for cow-calf pairs or stocker/yearlings of anywhere in the United States. On a price per pair per month or price per head basis, Nebraska rental rates are at the top when compared to neighboring states and the nation. Nebraska Extension annually publishes the results of a survey, “Nebraska Farm Real Estate Report” that documents reported pasture rental rates.

Registration deadline is May 3 for the 2024 Nebraska Ranch Practicum

Ranchers and cattle producers interested in learning about the latest research in range livestock production from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln are encouraged to register for the 2024 Nebraska Ranch Practicum offered by Nebraska Extension.

BeefWatch Podcast: Maternal Bovine Appeasing Substance with Dr. Reinaldo Cooke

Aaron Berger, Nebraska beef Extension educator, talks to Reinaldo Cooke, Burkhart Endowed Professor for Beef Cattle Research at Texas A & M, about maternal bovine appeasing substance on this episode of BeefWatch. Dr. Cooke discusses where the pheromone originates, what it does and recent research spanning production from weaned calves to the harvest of market ready cattle.

Don't use tanks that have been used to haul fertilizer for hauling drinking water for cattle

Tanks that are used to haul nitrogen-based fertilizer should not be used to transport drinking water for cattle as there is a risk of poisoning. Any nitrogen remaining in the tank can potentially cause nitrate or non-protein nitrogen (urea) toxicosis in ruminants (depending on form of fertilizer).

Considerations for Building Cow Inventories at Current Prices

Calf prices are encouraging cow-calf producers to increase cow inventories to have more calves to sell. Consider the following points when evaluating growing the cowherd.

Heifer Harmony: Optimal Management for Heifers in the Feedlot

Heifers that are not retained as replacement females for breeding often find their home in the feedlot, with heifers comprising approximately 37% of total cattle on feed in the US during a normal cattle cycle. The US is currently experiencing a tightening beef cow herd due to the ongoing drought conditions experienced by many of the cow/calf producing states. Not only has the US culled nearly 10% of the cow herd since 2020, but replacement heifer retention is low, with an elevated number of heifers making their way into the feedlot, representing nearly 40% of cattle on feed (USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service). With greater heifer placement in the feedlot, managing feedlot heifers to ensure their health, well-being, and optimal growth is key for feedlot sector profitability.

Best practices for needle selection, use and care in cattle health

Disposable hypodermic needles are a necessary tool in maintaining cattle health. They provide a convenient and economical route to deliver products to animals in a safe and effective manner. Understanding when and how to use them are key components in a herd health protocol.

UNL contributes to the identification of new genetic defects in cattle

University of Nebraska — Lincoln researchers have recently identified two new genetic mutations, delayed blindness in Herefords, and bovine familial convulsions and ataxia (BFCA) in Angus cattle.

Understanding and identifying genetic mutations allows beef producers to make breeding decisions that avoid producing cattle affected by those mutations. Working toward that goal, UNL researchers have spent years studying genomics, identifying mutations and developing tests to help producers make those decisions.

Kobza finds own path in industry, now recognized as Trailblazer by NCBA

Lincoln, Neb. —It was the kindness of a family friend that helped Anna Kobza find her way into the agriculture industry by loaning two heifers for a 4-H project one summer. Ever since, Kobza has paved her own way in the industry to learn everything she could about beef production. Today, Kobza is pursuing an animal science doctoral degree while advocating for the beef industry via Instagram, where she has more than 90,000 followers.

April 2024 Rangeland and Pasture Update

As we come into early April it is important to take time to think about rangeland and pasture conditions and make sure grazing plans are ready for the growing season in 2024. Much of the state has seen close to normal precipitation since October first (current water year), however, parts of the state, especially counties in the south and east of the state, that experienced drought last summer are still experiencing drier than normal conditions.

Register now for Cattle and Coffee: Morning Webinar Series on Annual Forages

Are you seeking alternative solutions to perennial pasture in your area or do you need more stored forage? Join Nebraska Extension for an enlightening journey into the realm of annual forage systems through our upcoming webinar series.

Western Livestock Journal: The Viewpoint with Rick Funston

Dr. Rick Funston has been an integral figure over the years in the study and advancement of cattle reproductive physiology. Rick grew up on a farming and ranching operationin central North Dakota before obtaining his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in animal science from North Dakota State University and Montana State University, and a doctorate in reproductive biology from the University of Wyoming.

Relieving Stress around the Branding Pen

Spring calving brings the promise of working calves, and in some areas of the state, branding season. Following is the challenge of gathering enough help at the right times to ensure proper vaccination, castration, and the other complements to our herd health programs. Priorities during this event typically include people safety and minimization of cattle stress.

Three-State Beef Conference Recap — Recordings now available

 The Three-State Beef Conference provides essential updates on cow-calf and stocker topics to beef cattle producers and industry stakeholders. With specialists from leading beef cattle land grant universities—University of Nebraska, University of Missouri, and Iowa State University—alongside insights from industry experts, the conference serves as a vital platform for knowledge exchange.

Using technology to monitor water on the ranch

Water is often a limiting resource when considering both animal and grazing management. Checking water levels can often account for a considerable proportion of time and labor costs, especially when water sources are few and far between or during extreme weather events. Producers who are looking to minimize time spent checking water may consider investing in one of many modern water monitoring solutions. Many options are available based on needs, product features, budget, and connectivity concerns. For simplicity’s sake, we will start with the most basic options and work our way up.

USDA Authorizes Conservation Reserve Program Graze and Hay Donations to Wildfire-Impacted Livestock Producers in Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas

Program Participants in Nebraska Eligible to Donate Grazing and Haying Rights LINCOLN, Nebraska, March 25, 2024 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) authorizes the release of emergency haying and grazing of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres nationwide, including CRP acres in Nebraska, to livestock producers affected by the recent wildfires in Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas.

New guide helps beef producers maximize the value of cull cows

A new resource developed by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and CattleFax helps cattle producers maximize profitability from their culling decisions. “Right Way. Right Time. – A Guide to Cull Cattle Management” is now available at www.ncba.org.

Vitamin A levels at calving can have a big impact on calf health

Vitamin A is one of the most important keys to a healthy immune system in newborn calves. Colostrum is the only way calves can get the vitamin A they need to fight off bacteria that will make them sick, said Mary Drewnoski, University of Nebraska—Lincoln beef systems specialist and associate professor. But not all colostrum contains enough vitamin A, and recent research suggests that “enough” is more than previously thought.  

Summer Weather Outlook

Weather Summary

Temperatures this summer are generally expected to be seasonally warm and total precipitation is expected to be average to below average statewide. Rapid drought development or intensification is not likely but cannot be discounted.

Engaging Agriculture: Ideas For Estate and Transition Planning: Monetary Compensation

For many farm and ranch families, bringing children or grandchildren into the operation is the ultimate goal. Successfully bringing additional family members into the operation may require some creativity, as all parties need to maintain a viable standard of living. This series of articles will highlight ideas and tactics for bringing another family member into the operation.

Chasing the Elusive Second Calf

Getting first time mother cows bred for the second time is probably one of the strongest challenges for most beef producers. It can be extremely frustrating at the time of pregnancy diagnosis to find a high percentage of those young cows, the future of the cowherd, to be open. More importantly, it is expensive.

Deadline approaching for UNL’s paid Timmerman Feedyard Management Internship

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.

Resources available for producers affected by central Nebraska wildfires

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.

Adjusting stocking rates, weed management and fire break recovery after a fire

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.

Wildfire Response Continues in Central Nebraska

Resources Available for Those Impacted 

Grazing Management Following Wildfire

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

Managing and developing young beef bulls

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.

Engaging Agriculture: Extension hosting multistate emergency preparedness workshop series for rural families

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.

Bull selection criteria and cost

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.

Bull evaluation & selection

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.

Tips for managing calving in muddy conditions

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).

Webinar Revisit: Preventing calf scours and using the Sandhills Calving Method

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.

Producer Question: What do I need to know about coccidiosis?

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.

Understanding and Preventing Calf Scours

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.  

2024 Beef Feedlot Roundtable Series meetings scheduled across Nebraska

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.

Weekly Weather Outlook and Update: February 8, 2024

Light precipitation possible through Saturday

Webinar Series: Fundamentals of Feeding the Cow

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.  

Resources for managing mud in feedlots

On Monday, Feb. 5 we hosted a discussion between UNL Feedlot Extension faculty and producers. A recording of that discussion is available here

Tips for dealing with wet, muddy winter conditions in cattle feedyards

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

Keys to a prosperous start for newborn calves

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. 

Market Journal: Weather Outlook Feb. 2, 2024

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.

Market Journal: Cattle Market Update & Outlook with Don Close

The Cattle Inventory Report comes out twice a year. It contains the inventory numbers for all cattle and calves across the United States. Many look to this report for an indication if cattle producers are finally able to hold on to some heifers for breeding season. Market Journal caught up with Terrain's Chief Research and Analytics Officer, Don Close.

Calving Cows on Cornstalks – Nutritional Considerations

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.

Determining how much forage a beef cow needs per day

During calving season cow/calf producers are typically feeding harvested forages. A frequent question from producers is "how much will my cows eat on a daily basis"? Producers want to meet the cows' nutrient requirement, but sure don't want to over-feed expensive forages. With the dry conditions this past summer and harvested forages at a premium, closely estimating the amount of feed needed to get through the winter and early spring will be important to contain cost.

How to use night feeding to increase daytime calving

A simple management strategy—feeding cows at dusk—could increase the number of calves born during the day. It’s easier to watch cattle and see if intervention is necessary while it’s light out. Producers can also keep an eye on calves and make sure they’re getting a healthy start during the day when it’s warmer and easier to manage both cows and calves.

Pasture & Forage Minute: Winter hay worries about magnesium deficiency (tetany) & nitrate poisoning

Grass tetany and nitrate poisoning are issues that we typically associate with animals grazing.  However, both issues can be a problem in winter when animal diets are limited by what they are fed.  Is your herd safe from possible hay worries? 

Tetany occurs when an animal’s diet doesn’t have enough magnesium to meet nutritional needs.  Complications with milk production and increased magnesium demand can make this imbalance even worse during lactation. 

Pasture & Forage Minute: Pasture lease considerations

As pasture grazing leases are getting finalized for the 2024 season, it is important to make sure that some of the key details are clear and in writing. 

Traditionally, pasture leases are for 5 or 6 months from April or May through October.  Specific starting and ending dates can be used, but there could be exceptions based on spring weather conditions or if there were drought conditions the previous year that might warrant delaying turn-out to allow some recovery of grasses. 

2024 Beef Feedlot Roundtable Series

The 2024 Beef Feedlot Roundtable Series is an event that you won’t want to miss! We encourage feedlot owners, managers, employees, and allied industry to join Nebraska Extension February 13-15th as we dive into a series of timely topics covering feedlot management.

Dealing with Stress from Winter Weather Woes

The start of 2024 has had some major challenges for many across the state from Arctic polar temperatures, blizzards, and snow squalls. Now there are discussions of ice jams, rain and potential flooding that may occur over the next few weeks. The entire slogan of “Nebraska isn’t for everyone” is really holding true.

Pasture & Forage Minute: Reviewing last year and planning for this year

Too much cold and snowy weather can make even the most eager winter enthusiast look forward to spring.  Once we dig out and are able to catch a breath, taking some time to review last year can help us when looking ahead to 2024.

Certified Angus Beef & Nebraska Beef Quality Assurance collaborate on meeting featuring John Cook, Nebraska volleyball coach

University of Nebraska-Lincoln Volleyball Head Coach John Cook will be the guest speaker at the February Nebraska BQA workshop in Ashland, Neb. The free educational workshop will be held on Saturday, Feb. 24, at the Round the Bend Steakhouse and will include a Certified Angus Beef ® brand lunch, giveaways, and optional YQCA training for kids.

Cow Herd Report Card III: Calving distribution & pounds of calf weaned per acre

Calving distribution and pounds of calf produced per acre are measures of performance and efficiency of the cow-calf enterprise. Calving distribution will impact total pounds of calf weaned. Calves born the first 21 days of the calving season will be heavier at weaning compared to calves born the second or third 21 days of the calving season.

Heifer percent mature body weight at breeding: What does it mean for pregnancy rates and calf performance?

This article is a research summary of the 2024 Nebraska Beef Report, Impact of Heifer Percent Mature Body Weight at Breeding on Heifer Performance, Calf Production, and Subsequent Pregnancy Rates.

To remain in the herd, it is crucial for a replacement heifer to conceive and maintain pregnancy. However, since females within a herd offset input costs with a live calf born each year, focus should not only be placed on pregnancy rates as a yearling, but subsequent pregnancy rates as a cow.

What are replacement heifers worth in 2024?

Not every cow is going to be profitable, even when calf prices are high. It is important to consider the quality of cows as well as their costs. Paying too much for good cows is as bad as paying little for horrible ones. Producers who intend to be profitable must consider closely the relationship of current and future costs, to current and future revenues, and cow longevity and productivity. 

Staying safe in cold weather and how to recognize, treat and prevent hypothermia, frostbite and trench foot

As wintry, cold weather hits with sub-zero temperatures, there's not much room for error in cold weather preparedness. Cattle producers can't just stay indoors when the weather gets cold. However, since a producer's most valuable assets are the humans who have to be out in the cold, it's important to recognize when it's time to take a break and warm up, or adjust the work, equipment or gear to make sure the people are prioritized in cold weather. 

Winter weather challenges for bulls can affect breeding season

Livestock producers know winter can be a challenge for their cowherds, and Karla Wilke, Nebraska Extension cow-calf/stocker specialist, reminds them not to forget about their bulls in their winter management plans. 

“Bulls are one of our bigger investments in the cow herd, and 90 percent of the cows are still impregnated through natural service with a bull rather than artificial insemination,” Wilke said. “So, they also require year-round maintenance.”  

Make Plans to Attend the 2024 Three-State Beef Conference

The annual Three-State Beef Conference gives beef producers and others a chance to spend an evening learning from top researchers and industry leaders. This year topics include corn residue grazing, heifer development and managing cows for longevity and profitability.

The conference features three presenters who travel to three states over three days, Jan. 16-18, discussing their research findings and practical ways to apply them.

Winter cattle yard preparation checklist

This checklist is not comprehensive, but is a place to start for preparing for winter weather in a cattle yard. 

Click here for a printable .pdf checklist. 

Facilities

Finding a balance between biggest and best: Moving a cowherd toward optimum productivity

The use of genetic selection tools by cattle breeders has resulted in significant changes within the majority of major breeds over the last 30 years. With a few exceptions, the overwhelming genetic trend for milk, weaning weight, and mature weight over that time has been for more. Without question, the use of Expected Progeny Differences (EPD) has enabled this change. The question at hand, however, is “have we selected towards that which is optimal?”

On RFD-TV: Greg Ibach discusses beef efficiency and environmental impact

Livestock production has long been a cornerstone of American agriculture. That is certainly true in Nebraska, which is known as the beef state. During the Global Climate Summit earlier this month, world leaders recommended reducing worldwide meat consumption in order to help mitigate agriculture’s environmental impacts. But the research paints a more complicated story. Greg Ibach, from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, joins RFD-TV to discuss. 

Beef news and upcoming webinars from the Nebraska Center for Ag Profitability

The interdisciplinary Center for Agricultural Profitability is based in the Department of Agricultural Economics. It facilitates faculty research, conducts extension outreach related to agricultural profitability and farm and ranch management and trains undergraduate and graduate students — all to support informed decision-making in agriculture.
Here's the latest from CAP that relates to beef producers. 

    Husker team receives $5M grant to reduce methane emissions from cattle

    A Husker research team has received $5 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to research more sustainable dairy and beef production.

    Hands-on calving workshops scheduled in Sidney, Curtis

    Nebraska Extension is hosting hands-on Calving Workshops at Sidney and Curtis, Nebraska in January featuring Becky Funk, DVM and Extension Specialist, and Lindsay Waechter-Mead, DVM and Extension Educator. Topics will include calving equipment and proper use, techniques for managing dystocia, when to call for help, and hands-on demonstration and training using a life-size model cow and calf.

    What to know about feeding road ditch hay to cows

    The year was dry, forage is limited, last winter’s feed shortage is frozen into your memory, and you have cows to feed. With these thoughts in mind, maybe you harvested hay from the roadside—“ditch hay”— and will be feeding that hay soon. There are several things for you to think about and keep in mind as you feed the hay.

    Fundamentals of Feeding the Cow Webinar Series

    Feed costs are often the largest category of 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 greatly influence an operation’s bottom line. 

    Join the Nebraska Extension Livestock Systems Team

    University of Nebraska Extension is seeking a Livestock Systems Educator for Northwest Nebraska.  The position will serve Sheridan (5th Cow/Calf County in Nebraska), Dawes, Sioux, and Box Butte counties.  The region covers 1.5 million acres of agriculture land which includes 1.2 million acres of rangeland.

    Pasture, Rangeland, Forage Insurance summary of sales and performance history

    This article was first published in RightRisk News in October 2023.

    'So You've Inherited a Farm ... Now What?' workshops scheduled

    The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Center for Agricultural Profitability will present a series of workshops in central and eastern Nebraska for those planning and involved in farmland succession who want to learn more about the best strategies for managing and owning this asset and how it may impact the transition plan.

    Returning to the Farm 2023 - CANCELED

    This event has been canceled. We apologize for any inconvenience.

    How to cook prime rib and other beef roasts

    Put roast in oven, insert oven thermometer, remove 1 to 3 hours later. EAT. Enjoy any leftovers for 3 to 4 days in such menu items as sandwiches, soups, salads and casseroles. What could be easier?

    How to Meet your Cow’s Nutrient Needs when Feeding Hay this Winter

    1.  Collect a representative sample of your hay with a probe.

    Sampling is the largest source of error and doing it right is important to ensuring you get an accurate estimate of the feed value of your hay. Make sure to keep different “lots” of hay separate. Guidelines for sampling can be found here.

    Will the next farm laborer please stand up?

    This article was first published in Beef Magazine.

    Virtual workshop series to cover tax basics, strategies for Midwestern women in ag

    An upcoming virtual workshop series for Midwestern farm and ranch women will teach the basics of tax planning for agricultural operations. Hosted by women in agriculture extension programs at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Kansas State University, and Purdue University, the three-part series will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Central time on Nov. 28, Dec. 5 and Dec. 12.

    Fall 2023 Nebraska Farm Income Update

    Nebraska’s farm income is projected near $7.8 billion in 2023, according to a new report from the Rural and Farm Finance Policy Analysis Center (RaFF) at the University of Missouri, produced in conjunction with the Center for Agricultural Profitability at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 

    The report, “Fall 2023 Nebraska Farm Income Outlook,” indicates that Nebraska’s stronger 2023 farm income projection is driven largely by higher livestock prices and recovery in ending year inventories and values.

    Range Beef Cow Symposium December 13-14, 2023

    The Range Beef Cow Symposium (RBCS) has a new website https://rangebeefcowsymposium.com/.

    This year Colorado State University will be hosting the RBCS at the Ranch in Loveland, CO.

    The RBCS has been held every other year since 1969 and is hosted by South Dakota State University, Colorado State University, University of Wyoming, and University of Nebraska beef cattle extension.

    Helping Your Child Feed Their 4-H or FFA Market Steer

    Now that fall is here, and most spring-born calves are being weaned, 4-Hers and FFA students across Nebraska are looking over the calf crops and picking out market steer prospects for the 2024 county fair.  Calves are carefully evaluated against a list of criteria, selected, and brought home.  Now what?

    Investigating the cause of cattle abortions: When to involve your veterinarian and what happens next

    It’s fall, and for cow/calf producers throughout the region that often means it’s time to preg check. Confirming pregnancy in the herd is an important milestone in the overall cow/calf production system, but there’s still a lot that needs to go right before you’re admiring next year’s weaned calf crop. Unfortunately, reproductive losses can still happen between confirmation of pregnancy and calving. Beef producers and veterinarians often refer to any death loss before calving as an “abortion”, but in reality, true abortions only make up a portion of this loss.

    Higher Inputs and Interest Rates Impacting Cow Costs

    As the 2023 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.

    High fed cattle prices but narrow margins—a few strategies

    Looking back at late November of 2014, when the negotiated fed steer price reached an all-time high, $172.06/cwt, makes one wonder why—today, at fed steer prices at least $10/cwt higher, margins are still narrow.  A 1,550-lb fed steer is worth $155 more today than one finished in late November 2014.

    While cattle placed against current live cattle marketing might have a wider margin for profit, cattle placed in October of 2023 will have a narrower margin of profit.  Why?

    Nebraska Extension Provides New Cover Crop Grazing Conference Nov. 7

    Nebraska beef producers and corn growers can enhance their operations by attending the 2023 Cover Crop Grazing Conference. Scheduled for November 7, the conference will take place at the Eastern Nebraska Research, Extension and Education Center near Mead.

    The conference kicks off with registration, refreshments and a trade show at the August N. Christenson Building at 8:30 a.m.  Educational programs are from 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. and include a producer panel session and live field demonstrations.  

    Corn Silage Feed Out

    Be safe, get the daily amount and leave a smooth face. These are the key factors when it comes to feeding out corn silage.

    Silage is a conservation technique that relies on anaerobic fermentation to primarily convert plant carbs into acetic and lactic acid, and those acids will then preserve the rest of the material for future use. Because the ideal point of corn silage harvest is at black layer, by now (November) all silages would have almost sixty days since they were chopped and stored.

    What to know about grazing frosted forages

    The first frost may be welcome for its fly-killing ability, but for cattle producers running cattle on annual forages, a few management steps this time of year can make sure that first frost doesn't have the same effect on cattle grazing milo, sudangrass and sorghum varieties. 

    What do stocker and cow-calf producers think of Virtual Fencing?

    Producers that attended the Nebraska Grazing Conference (NGC) August 8-9, in Kearny, NE. may have noticed a difference from previous proceedings. This year “TechCorner” was added to the exhibition, highlighting new and emerging products in precision livestock management (PLM) such as virtual fencing, data management software and smart water monitoring. In addition to PLM exhibitors, Wednesday morning’s programs were focused primarily on precision grazing management, of which the virtual fencing (VF) technologies were spotlighted in presentations and panelist discussion.

    Knowing, Growing and Grazing Grass Webinar Series: October 23, 26, 30, November 2, 6, 9

    Would you like to grow your grass knowledge and better understand range and pasture resources? Nebraska Extension will host a six-session webinar series on Monday and Thursday evenings beginning October 23 through November 9 from 7:30 - 8:45 p.m. CT that will explain the basics of knowing, growing and grazing grass. 

    Topics will include:

    •           Identifying key grass species you want more of in your pastures.