BeefWatch Articles from All

BeefWatch Articles from All

January 2021 Beefwatch Webinar Series Registration Now Open

The BeefWatch Webinar series is designed to highlight management strategies in grazing, nutrition, reproduction, and economics to increase cow/calf and stocker production efficiency and profitability. Each session will feature industry experts and plenty of opportunity to interact to get your questions answered. More information about the BeefWatch Webinar Series can be found on our webpage: https://beef.unl.edu/beefwatch-webinar-series 

Cornstalk Residue Grazing with Weaned Calves, Dry Pregnant Cows or Pairs – What Supplementation Do They Need?

With approximately 9.8 million acres of corn yielding an average of 182 bushels/acre, cornstalk residue can be an accessible and economical winter grazing forage option for producers in Nebraska. Historic research at the University of Nebraska has suggested cattle select mostly dropped corn, husks, and leaves. The total digestible nutrients (TDN) of the selected diet can be variable, but tends to range from 50-60% TDN.

Livestock Facility Inspections: Do I need one? If so, what should I expect?

Inspections collect information about livestock facilities and are how the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (NDEE) determines whether the facility is in compliance with regulations. There are two different kinds of inspections for livestock operations. Initial inspections help NDEE determine whether a permit is needed. Routine inspections allow the NDEE representative to make sure permitted operations are in compliance with their permit.

What facilities need to be inspected?

Winter Tetany in Beef Cattle

Grass tetany is considered a problem that usually occurs when cattle or sheep are eating lush, spring grass or annual cereal forages such as rye, wheat or triticale; but, it can also occur when cattle are being fed harvested forages.

Annual Beef Heifer Replacement Forecasts for the 2020 – 2021 Production Season (Summary Briefing)

What is a respectable beef replacement heifer value for the coming 2020-2021 production season? The weather and COVID-19 gave the beef industry a wild ride this past year and may affect the decision to buy or sell replacement animals for the upcoming year.

December 2020 Beefwatch Webinar Series Registration Now Open

The BeefWatch Webinar series is designed to highlight management strategies in grazing, nutrition, reproduction, and economics to increase cow/calf and stocker production efficiency and profitability. Each session will feature industry experts and plenty of opportunity to interact to get your questions answered. More information about the BeefWatch Webinar Series can be found on our webpage: https://beef.unl.edu/beefwatch-webinar-series

Great Plains Veterinary Educational Center - Meet the Faculty

Since its dedication in 1990, the Great Plains Veterinary Educational Center has served as an information source for the beef industry. With its primary focus in beef cattle production systems, it provides training of veterinary and graduate students, veterinary practitioners, beef producers and industry stakeholders.

Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) Round 2 and Beef Cattle Producers

The application process for the second round of national relief payments from the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) has begun. Local United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agencies are accepting applications through December 11, 2020. These payments will provide livestock producers some relief from production risk, as well as market losses, related to the fallout from continued shutdowns across business sectors.

2020 Applied Reproductive Strategies in Beef Cattle Webinar Series

The Applied Reproductive Strategies in Beef Cattle (ARSBC) meeting is considered the premier national event in beef cattle reproductive management.  It has a long history of providing the latest information on the application of reproductive technologies and includes a range of topics related to cow herd reproduction — such as nutritional interactions, management and male fertility.

Crop Residue Exchange Links Available Residue with Cattle Producers

The Crop Residue Exchange (http://cropresidueexchange.unl.edu) is a free online tool designed to link cattle producers to crop producers with available grazing resources. The Exchange makes it possible for crop producers in Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, and South Dakota to list fields of crop residue they have available for winter grazing and for cattle producers to connect with them. 

Do You Know the Difference Between 9% and 7% Crude Protein Hay?

When feeding harvested forages to the cow herd, you need to know what you have in order to know what to feed. This is vital when faced with some of the challenges we have seen in the past couple years such as flood, excessively cold and harsh winters, and drought. Over-feeding spends money unnecessarily and can deteriorate your bottom line. Underfeeding results in thin cows, which can lead to calving issues and disappointing conception rates.

Common Mullein and Cheatgrass Control in Rangeland

On October 7th, two articles on rangeland weed control were published on CropWatch which may be of interest to Nebraska ranchers.

Beef Profit Tips Programs for 2020

During the fall and winter of 2020 Nebraska Beef Extension Educators will host six Beef Profitability Workshops to help the beef producer evaluate their operations to make them more profitable through the latest research information.  Topics will vary depending on presenter and specific location.  These workshops have been held across Nebraska for the past seventeen years.  Please pre-register to the local extension office 3 days prior to the meeting.

2020 Traveling Road Show to focus on Protecting the Last Grasslands

The Nebraska Grazing Lands Coalition (NGLC), Nebraska Extension, Nebraska Cattlemen, and Sandhills Task Force will be hosting the 2020 Traveling Road Show at four locations in November. This year’s road show will focus on winning strategies for woody encroachment featuring Dirac Twidwell, UNL Associate Professor in rangeland and fire ecology. 

Dirac Twidwell is a Science Advisor for the USDA NRCS, Great Plains region, and a national science team member for a new Great Plains Grasslands Strategy under the Working Lands for Wildlife Program.

Leading Farm and Ranch Employees Virtual Seminar Series to be Held in December

Finding, hiring and retaining quality employees are major challenges for agricultural business in Nebraska. Competition for the available workforce comes from area industries, and the labor market is tight.

Nebraska Extension will host a virtual seminar series in December (Dec. 8, 11, 15 and 18) designed to help agricultural employers learn techniques and leadership practices to help motivate and empower employees.

Things to Consider before Harvesting a Market Animal at Home

Many people are looking for opportunities to buy market animals to harvest at home, which has led to many questions about the best way to complete that task. Prior to making the decision to try home harvest, there are a few important things to consider:

1.  Food Safety:  Can you properly cool the carcass and keep it clean to ensure meat safety?

Valuing Corn Stalk Bales

With dry conditions still plaguing much of the state, baling corn residue following harvest might be an optional roughage source if hay supply is getting tight.  What value should be put on baling corn residue?

Figuring out the true value of corn stalk bales can be a bit tricky, but breaking down the costs can help it make sense.  First, look at the value of nutrients removed from the field that will need to be replaced by fertilizer.  Stalks this fall will contain between $3-5 worth of nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, and sulfur per ton. 

November 2020 Beefwatch Webinar Series Registration Now Open

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension will host the 2020 BeefWatch Webinar Series. The second installment of webinars will take place weekly beginning on Tuesday, November 3.

The BeefWatch Webinar series is designed to highlight management strategies in grazing, nutrition, reproduction, and economics to increase cow/calf and stocker production efficiency and profitability. Each session will feature industry experts and plenty of opportunity to interact to get your questions answered.

Grazing Alfalfa in Fall or Winter

KEY RECOMMENDATIONS:

  • Alfalfa needs 6 weeks of growth, uninterrupted by grazing or haying
  • Fall grazing should maintain 8 inches of stubble height; Winter grazing should maintain 4 inches of stubble height
  • Bloat risk can be reduced by making sure livestock are full prior to grazing
  • Feed additives such as poloxalene and ionophores can limit bloat risk, but require regular consumption to be effective

Fall Fly Control for Pastured Cattle in Nebraska

What control options are available for late season flies on pastured cattle?

Hunting Leases as an Added Enterprise

A review of articles on hunting leases. 

Landowners seeking additional income options for their operation might consider leasing out their land for wildlife activities. The potential income can be considerable. Leases could be for hunting, fishing or birding.

Cautions for Cattle Grazing Frosted Forages

When some forages are frosted, the potential for bloat, toxicity, and nitrates may increase for grazing cattle.

Grazing Corn Stalks or Corn Residue?

  • There are 8 lbs of grazable dry matter per bushel of corn.
  • Leaf and husk make up 39.6% of the dry matter in corn residue.
  • Intake on corn residue fields will be close to 2% of bodyweight.
  • Check questionable fields for excessive corn before grazing.

What Are the Barriers and Benefits of Manure Use in Cropping Systems? (part 2 of 2)

Animal manures can be a valuable asset or a “pain in the assets”.  During winter of 2020, 957 farmers and their advisors shared their perspective on the benefits and barriers to manure use. A previous article (part 1) focused on perceptions of manure’s benefits.

What Are Total Export Commitments Telling Us About Beef’s Potential in 2020: Positive Signs?

This article was originally published in the Aug. 30, 2020 edition of In The Cattle Markets.

Assessing Temperament in Cattle Using Chute Score – New Learning Module

Temperament is an animal's behavioral response to handling by humans, or to any potentially fearful situation. Since these reactions are often linked with stress, they have negative effects on production and profitability. Because of its impact on pregnancy rates, growth, meat quality, and safety, producers have been selecting for temperament for years, whether by design or inadvertently. However, to make noticeable improvements in the overall behavior of a herd, a clear and consistent method for evaluating temperament is needed.

Fencing & Water for Beef Cattle

The goal of any grazing operation is to introduce the cow or calf to forage in adequate quality and quantity for their needs.  A majority of cattle operations in Nebraska use pasture or native range for grazing during the growing season and crop residues or harvested purchased feed for the remainder of the year. Alternatives may include grazing cover crops in the production of traditional commodity crops, irrigation of grazed forages, and introduction of grasses into existing crop rotation and crop residues. 

Limitations of Remote Drug Delivery Devices for Cattle Health Management

This is the final session of a four-part webinar series on calf health management on arrival. Dr. Brian Vander Ley discusses the limitations of remote drug delivery devices (dart guns) for cattle health management.

Calf Health Management on Arrival – Producer Perspective

This video is part of the Calf Health Management on Arrival webinar series. John Schroeder, manager of Darr Feedlot near Cozad, NE, highlights some of their receiving protocols and feeding programs for calves on arrival.

Role of Nutrition in Health Maintenance of Calves

This is the third session of a four-part webinar series on calf health management on arrival. Dr. Clint Krehbiel discusses the role of nutrition in health maintenance of calves.

Arrival Health Programs for High-Risk Calves

This is the second session of a four-part webinar series on calf health management on arrival. Dr. Dan Thomson discusses arrival health programs for high-risk calves. Dr. Thomson shares some handling procedures that reduce arrival stress and promote health.

Systems Approach to Maintaining Health in High-Risk Calves

This is the first session of a four-part webinar series on calf health management on arrival. Dr. John Groves shares a systems approach to maintaining health in high-risk calves. Dr. Groves provides a virtual demonstration of how he works with clients on penning cattle to minimize health risk.

Selecting and Developing Replacement Heifers

Fall is the time of year when many cow-calf producers make their replacement heifer selections and begin planning for the development of those heifers into bred females. The following are tips for selecting and developing replacement heifers.

Selection

The following are suggestions for replacement heifer selection from Dr. Jim Gosey, Beef Specialist and Professor Emeritus at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. The first thing Dr. Gosey suggests is removing heifers that are:

Choosing a Method for Pregnancy Diagnosis

Previous research has shown the benefit of pregnancy diagnosis and how it adds to a producer’s bottom line. Keeping one cow over winter can cost $100-$200 in feed and supplements so removing open cows can help decrease winter feed costs. Pregnancy diagnosis is a very valuable tool in the beef industry and it is grossly underutilized. Only about 20% of producers employ some sort of a pregnancy diagnosis in their herd. Producers have options for pregnancy determination that vary in price and difficulty- transrectal palpation, transrectal ultrasound, and a blood test.

Don’t risk abortions this winter: Double check your cow herd vitamin A supplementation plans

Pasture mature and brown early due to drought?

What Are the Barriers and Benefits of Manure Use in Cropping Systems? (part 1 of 2)

Animal manures can be a “valuable asset” or a “pain in the assets”.  The right amounts in the right location can be very beneficial to Nebraska’s crop, soil, and water resources.  Too much manure or manure in the wrong place is an environmental concern. Our ability to place manure where its benefits are maximized and to manage manure so that its challenges are minimal is important to agriculture’s sustainability.

Overgrazing Pastures

Fully utilizing a pasture doesn’t mean it should look like a golf course. If good grass is seen in the pasture when moving to another pasture, that is usually a good thing; that’s proper management. Even during drought or drier years, management can be done well. Trying to push pasture during drought years is especially hard on pasture and can have detrimental long-term effects. Many of our pastures are very resilient and have been through very tough times. Repeat or severe abuse will take over that resiliency.

Cover Crops in Corn Systems: Opportunities for Dual Use Webinar Scheduled for September 15th

Can planting cover crops in corn systems provide the dual benefits of improving soil health and be an economical source of forage? This webinar will cover lessons learned on incorporating cover crops after corn silage, high moisture corn, and dry corn harvest in Nebraska. The session will consist of short presentations with ample time for questions and discussion.

The webinar will be held via Zoom on September 15th at 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm (central time).

Nebraska Extension to Host BeefWatch Webinar Series

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension will host the 2020 BeefWatch Webinar Series. The webinars will take place weekly beginning on Tuesday, October 6.

The BeefWatch Webinar series is designed to highlight management strategies in grazing, nutrition, reproduction, and economics to increase cow/calf and stocker production efficiency and profitability. Each session will feature industry experts and plenty of opportunity to interact to get your questions answered. 

Drought and Pasture Lease Considerations

Few words cause as much concern for those with pasture or rangeland as drought.  In 2012 when the latest widespread drought covered most of the state, some of the most difficult conversations were occurring between landowners with pasture and their tenants.   

Drought Decisions: Profit Maximizing Decisions During and After Drought Conditions

Forage, pasture, and weather conditions

Windrow Grazing Annual Forages to Extend the Grazing Season

In many areas of Nebraska, drought conditions have resulted in reduced forage production on rangeland and pasture.  This is resulting in a shortage of feed for many producers and a need for forage between now and when cornstalks are available for grazing.  Windrow grazing annual forages allows producers to cut the crop at an optimum time for quality and increase harvest efficiency through strip grazing the windrows.   

Limit Feeding Cows Corn as an Alternative to Hay

Feed costs make up the largest expense in a cow-calf operation. While hay is often used to feed cows through the winter, current prices make corn a competitive option to feeding hay. Considering corn has a higher energy content than hay, the cost of feeding hay is often higher than corn on a price per pound of energy basis. For example, corn priced at $3.30/bushel ($118/ton) equates to approximately $0.08 per pound of total digestible nutrients (TDN) while hay priced at $100/ton is nearly $0.11 per pound of TDN. 

Forage Testing Can Save Dollars

As cow-calf producers strive to reduce feed costs by finding different avenues to increase grazing days, many still have to use harvested forages in their year-round feeding program.  Sampling and testing forages for quality can make designing a feeding program easy and economical.  Nutrient concentration can vary considerably in feeds especially forages.  Protein in alfalfa hay can range from 10-25% on a dry matter basis and grass hay will contain between four and 18 percent protein.  Using book values to balance rations can result in many times over or under feeding ce

Keeping an Eye on Body Condition in Fall Calving Cows

With much of the eastern and western borders of Nebraska in a drought, producers with fall calving cows need to be especially mindful of body condition on fall calving cows. In Nebraska, most fall calving herds actually start calving sometime in August. This allows producers to take advantage of late summer grass as a forage resource with ample protein and energy for the newly lactating cow. However, the hot dry conditions this year have left many pastures not only short on dry matter tonnage, but also short on the nutrient density required to maintain the lactating cow.

Keep it Tight; Store Hay Right

Setting the Stage 

Even before storing, producers can give hay a better chance to make it from the field to the cow with as little loss as possible. Baling at correct moisture levels will lead to proper curing without additional heat, mold growth, and dry matter loss. Bales should maintain moisture levels below 20% for this to happen. 

Selecting Replacement Heifers Based on Birth Date and Age of Dam

Two research studies at the University of Nebraska by Dr. Rick Funston, beef reproductive physiologist at the West Central Research and Extension Center, suggest that the key information needed to identify heifers most likely to be successful as replacements is known the day the heifers are born.

How Many Pounds of Meat Can We Expect From A Beef Animal?

Consumers who buy a live animal from a local cattle producer or 4-H member for custom processing are often surprised by the amount of beef they receive, the amount of freezer space needed and that they did not get back the entire live weight of the animal in retail cuts.  This article will discuss how to estimate how much meat you will receive when purchasing an animal to harvest.

Dressing Percentage is an important term to remember as it represents the portion of the live animal weight that transfers to the hot carcass weight.

Gudmundsen Sandhills Laboratory Open House Online Webinar sponsored by Elanco

The 21st annual University of Nebraska–Lincoln Gudmundsen Sandhills Laboratory (GSL) Open House will be Wednesday, August 26, 2020. The GSL Open House committee made the decision this year to transition the program to live webinar and will offer attendees to interact with presenters. Morning speakers from UNL and Elanco will update producers on beef quality assurance (BQA) programming in Nebraska, discuss why low-stress cattle handling matters, explain the benefits of third-party audits, and review beef sustainability. 

Utilizing Summer Annuals

Whether grazed, harvested for hay, or cut for silage, warm season annual grasses are the kings of forage production.  Common species like forage sorghum, sudangrass, sorghum/sudangrass hybrids, and millets grow best under warmer temperatures, with peak performance at 75-90°F.  All species are highly productive with sudangrass on the lower end producing 3-5 tons per acre and forage sorghum recording yields up to 11 tons per acre.

Leafy Spurge

Early Detection and Rapid Response (EDRR) is a concept to identify potentially invasive species prior to or just as the establishment of the invasive is taking place.  An Integrated Pest Management plan (IPM) can be developed to manage, contain and eradicate the invasive species before it can spread further.  This will avoid costly, long-term control efforts.

Leafy Spurge 

a.k.a. - wolf’s milk, faitours-grass, tithymal
Scientific name:  Euphorbia esula L.
Family:  Euphorbiaceae – (Spurge family)

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.

Nebraska Extension to Host Calf Health Management on Arrival Webinar Series

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension will host the 2020 Calf Health Management on Arrival Webinar Series. The webinars will take place weekly beginning on Aug. 18.

The Calf Health Management on Arrival Webinar Series is designed to highlight management strategies relative to biocontainment, stress mitigation, nutrition, and treatment options that will set calves up for success. Each session will feature a presentation from an industry expert and a segment featuring a veterinarian or producer perspective.

Feeder Cattle Future Price Spreads: Opportunities to Hedge?

This article was originally published by In The Cattle Markets on July 20, 2020.

Changing Grid Premiums and Discounts Due to Underlying Changes in the Fed Cattle Industry

This article was originally published in the June 9, 2020 edition of In The Cattle Markets.

Pollinators and Nebraska Rangelands

Native rangelands are well known for their importance as a forage resource to beef cattle and other livestock. These same rangelands are also an essential resource for smaller six-legged foragers: insect pollinators. Insect pollinators include a diverse number of species of beetles, flies, wasps, butterflies, moths, and bees, many of which are found on rangelands in Nebraska. Pollinators are integral in maintaining healthy ecosystems and food security for humans.

Phragmites / Common Reed

Early Detection and Rapid Response (EDRR) is a concept to identify potentially invasive species prior to or just as the establishment of the invasive is taking place.  An Integrated Pest Management plan (IPM) can be developed to manage, contain and eradicate the invasive species before it can spread further.  This will avoid costly, long-term control efforts.

Pinkeye in Cattle

Driving or riding through a pen or pasture of cattle is a favorite chore for many producers.  Making sure our cattle have plenty of clean water, access to feed or forage and monitoring herd health are important aspects of daily care.  When examining cattle, one important disease not to overlook is pinkeye.  Pinkeye is a highly contagious infectious disease that not only affects cattle in Nebraska but worldwide. The incidence and severity of this common disease can vary widely from year to year.

Creep Feeding Calves

Keeping a tight grip on feed costs is a priority for every beef producer. Creep feeding calves can be a good return on investments in certain situations. Maintaining the calf’s efficiency at an early age is becoming much more critical with modern market requirements. The gross income of the cow/calf enterprises is partially dependent on the weaning weight of the calves. Outside of changing weaning date, there are management strategies that can  increase calf weaning weight.

Managing Cows through Dry Conditions

Hot, dry conditions in early summer have taken a toll on grass growth in much of the Great Plains this year. There are several options cattle producers may want to consider to conserve grass in these dry areas. Every producer should have a drought plan that includes trigger dates and a culling strategy, but once those top cuts are made, what feeding options are there for the core herd?

Options for Reducing Stocking Rates Due to Dry Conditions

Drought conditions are persisting in Wyoming, Colorado and Kansas and have expanded into portions of Nebraska (Figure 1), reducing range and pasture production. Although soil moisture has kept most of Nebraska out of drought, portions of the state are well below normal spring precipitation levels and above normal spring temperatures (Figure 2).

Annual Forages Planted in Middle to Late Summer can be Excellent Fall Feed

Dry conditions in many parts of the state are challenging producers to consider options for growing additional forage to provide feed for this fall and winter. In some parts of the state, less than 50% of long-term average precipitation has been received from the middle of April to the middle of June. This has severely impacted forage production from perennial dryland hay fields as well as yields from winter and spring annual forages.

Silage for Beef Cattle Conference Moves to Free, Online-Only Webinar Series

Nebraska Extension, Lallemand Animal Nutrition and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach are hosting the third Silage for Beef Cattle Conference with one major change:  this year, the event will be a series of four, hour-long free webinars held from July 7 through Aug. 4, 2020.

Nebraska Small Business Stabilization Grant

Nebraska, utilizing federal COVID-19 relief funding, has established a program to help businesses, including ranching, impacted by COVID-19.  The Department of Economic Development expects to award grants of $12,000 to eligible businesses, for a total of approximately $330,000,000.  The original window of application is relatively short with sign up going from June 15th, 2020 through June 26th, 2020.  As this is a developing opportunity changes will and often occur.  One such change is that applications of livestock producers has temporarily

Preparing for Summer Heat

As cattle feeders hold on to fat cattle until the opportunity to be harvested arises, it is important to prepare for periods of extreme heat by developing a heat stress management plan. The combination of hot temperatures, high humidity, and lack of air movement can result in severe cases of heat stress for cattle. When temperatures remain above 70°F during the night, cattle are unable to recover before the next episode of heat exposure. This can result in reduced intakes and gains, and in extreme cases, death.

Dealing with Blister Beetles

Blister beetles, from the family Meloidae, are sometimes referred to as oil beetles and found in all parts of the Unites States and Canada. Adult blister beetles vary in size and color but are recognized by the elongated, narrow, cylindrical, and soft bodies. In Nebraska, the three-striped, grey, and black blister beetles (Fig. 1) are the most common species. Blister beetles produce a chemical called cantharidin which is toxic to animals and humans. The male blister beetle secretes cantharidin and presents it to the female after mating.

Working Cattle and Managing Employees During COVID-19

Food production is essential, and that requires beef producers to carefully consider how COVID-19 infections may impact cattle work. It is important to remember how the virus is transmitted (source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention):

Managing Bull Fertility Prior to the Breeding Season

As we prepare for the breeding season or for those in the midst of the breeding season, it is important to think about how we can manage bull fertility and understand critical factors that can impact fertility. There are many factors that can affect sperm production; however, the main factors that can decrease sperm production are disease, fever, injury, and extreme environmental conditions. We must keep in mind that spermatogenesis, the production of sperm, is a 61-day process in bulls; therefore, it will take upwards of 60 days to have normal sperm again following an injury/insult.

Musk Thistle

Early Detection and Rapid Response (EDRR) is a concept to identify potentially invasive species prior to or just as the establishment of the invasive is taking place.  An Integrated Pest Management plan (IPM) can be developed to manage, contain and eradicate the invasive species before it can spread further.  This will avoid costly, long-term control efforts.

Musk Thistle  
a.k.a. – Nodding thistle, Nodding Plumeless thistle 
Scientific name:  Carduus nutans L.
Family:  Asteraceae (Sunflower family)

Fermenting for Forages: Small Grain Silage

When the term silage is used, typically what comes to mind is corn silage. This is especially true in the Great Plains and Midwest where corn is king. Another silage that may be less known is small grain silage.

Fermenting for Forages: Finding the Right Moisture

Developing cattle rations without distillers products to provide moisture and protein is an issue on many producers’ minds.  One option this summer is to cut fall planted rye or spring oats, wheat, triticale, or barley for silage.   Small grain silage can add moisture and some protein to rations and help fill the gap before corn silage is ready to harvest this fall.

Field Bindweed

Early Detection and Rapid Response (EDRR) is a concept to identify potentially invasive species prior to or just as the establishment of the invasive is taking place.  An Integrated Pest Management plan (IPM) can be developed to manage, contain and eradicate the invasive species before it can spread further.  This will avoid costly, long-term control efforts.

Cattle and the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) Payments

The USDA recently announced more details on the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) aid payments. In total, $19 billion is included in the aid package, $16 billion in direct payments to producers and $3 billion in commodity food purchases. Payment details are a bit complicated depending upon whether producers sold their commodities during the time period from January 15 to April 15, 2020.

Checking Water from Afar

For cattle producers who rely on wells in pastures and rangelands as a water source for their cattle, much time is spent checking water to make sure that windmills and submersible wells are delivering the water cattle need.   These water checks are often made daily or every other day to ensure water is available.  When problems occur with a water source cattle depend on, time is limited to get the problem fixed, haul water or move the cattle to another location where water is.  Timeliness of knowing there is a problem with a well or a tank that stores water is essential

Live Cattle Basis Due to Covid-19: Deviations and Convergence

A Fundamental Review on Basis

Basis is defined as the cash minus futures. Cash market reflects today's supply conditions and price. Futures market reflects upcoming supply and demand conditions. If it is anticipated that there will be a period of increasing supplies, futures prices will decline to reflect that information. Likewise, periods of time with expected decreasing supplies, future prices are expected to increase.

Pre-COVID-19 Market Conditions Persist & the Stocker Industry Can Dampen the Damage

The effects of COVID-19 on the livestock market are well known and felt. Some effects include depressed futures and cash prices, unusual basis patterns, decreased packer bids and sale barn volume, packing plant closures, consumer hording of meat products, and shifting food service products for retail consumption. All these effects occurred as market participants grappled with everchanging government and industry policy which reduced consumer demand and resulted in bottlenecks and increasing supply gluts upstream.

Has COVID-19 Impacted Price-Weight Relationships and Value of Gain?

This article was originally published by In The Cattle Markets on April 28, 2020.

What is your Competitive Advantage?

One of the ways that beef producers can be successful in their business is to identify what their competitive advantage is in relation to their competition.  What is it about your product, skills, reputation, business structure, location or service that sets you apart from others?  What gives you a “leg up” on the competition?

Will Feeding Silage to Lactating Cows Give my Calves Scours?

Many cow-calf producers in Nebraska have become accustomed to using distillers grains as a source of both protein and energy to help meet the nutritional needs of lactating cows from calving until green grass is available. Due to the ongoing distillers shortage, many producers are considering including corn silage in the ration to help alleviate some of the energy shortfall in their hay resources. However, concerns have been expressed that silage in the diet will result in diarrhea or scours in their calves.

COVID-19 Branding Guidelines

Branding is the social event of the spring signaling the end of winter and the long hours of calving, and the beginning of greener pastures ahead. Friends and neighbors come from far and wide to help out and relive the cherished tradition.

As the US continues to limit the spread of COVID-19 by closing offices and promoting social distancing and working from home, agriculture does not stop. The work must go on. Although calves must be branded, not taking precautions can mean the difference between life and death for some loved ones.  

It is Canada thistle, not Canadian thistle . . .

Early Detection and Rapid Response (EDRR) is a concept to identify potentially invasive species prior to or just as the establishment of the invasive is taking place.  An Integrated Pest Management plan (IPM) can be developed to manage, contain and eradicate the invasive species before it can spread further.  This will avoid costly, long-term control efforts.

Flies on Pastured Cattle

As livestock producers prepare for another grazing season, thoughts are often directed towards grass conditions, animal conditioning, and fence repair. An additional very important consideration should include what type of flies will impact their pastured cattle, and what method of fly control will work best for their management system. Livestock fly control should be viewed as having a positive economic impact on livestock operations. In Nebraska and elsewhere, there are three fly species that economically impact pastured cattle; horn fly, face fly and stable fly.

Flooded Sandhills Subirrigated Meadows and Upland Sites

Meadows cover approximately 10% of the land area in the Nebraska Sandhills. These meadows have both subirrigated and wetland ecological sites that are an important forage resource (hay and grazing) for many ranches in the Sandhills. Meadows typically provide 2 to 3 times more forage than associated Sandhills uplands. Meadows are also vital to the biodiversity and hydrology of the Sandhills with many native wildlife and plant species found in these subirrigated and wetland areas.

#socialdistancing: Create Physical Distance but Stay in Touch

You do not have to go far on social media to find farmers in tractors or families out with newborn calves with the hashtag “social distancing” and the caption “I’ll be engaging in social distancing this spring, like I do every year!”

Management Strategies for Minimizing Early Pregnancy Loss

As we approach the breeding season, cows and heifers are faced with a variety of stressors from the metabolic pressure of providing for a calf to changes in environment. Stress during early pregnancy is well documented to cause embryonic death and loss of pregnancy. However, making strategic management decisions during the fragile 2 months after breeding can help minimize those losses.

Guidance on the Prevention and Spread of COVID-19 for Farmers, Ranchers and Agricultural Workers

The Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health (CS-CASH) at the University of Nebraska Medical Center is providing guidance on the prevention and spread of COVID-19 for farmers, ranchers and agricultural workers. Precautions include eliminating exposure, finding ways to reduce person-to-person contact, using administrative authority to establish new work guidelines as necessary, and making use of all appropriate Personal Protective Equipment.
 

Heifer CONSULT Available for use by Beef Cow-calf Producers

Heifer CONSULT (Collaborative, Online, Novel, Science-based, User-friendly, Learning, Tool) is designed to help beef cow-calf producers improve the reproductive success of their heifers and young cows.  If a producer is not satisfied with the current reproductive success of replacement heifers and/or first-calf heifers, this CONSULT will help identify problem areas and provide possible solutions. Please work closely with your veterinarian to create the best heifer development program for your herd.

Best Management Practices for Livestock and Farm Operations to Stop the Spread of a Virus (like COVID-19)

Continuing production in a pandemic situation requires that people in agriculture carefully consider how COVID-19 infections may impact the operations in which they work.

Prescribed Burning for Cedar Tree Control – A Producer’s Perspective

Cedar tree encroachment on pasture and rangelands is a tremendous challenge for farmers and ranchers in the state of Nebraska.

Ranch Equipment - Needed or Nice to Have?

For a cow-calf enterprise, the second largest expense after grazed and harvested feed is often overhead expenses related to labor and equipment.  In ranching, an overhead expense is one that doesn’t change very much based on the number of cows that are in production.  For example, the pickup, tractor, ATV, trailer, feeding equipment, and working facilities used to care for 150 cows would also likely be adequate to care for 500 cows.  On a cost per cow unit basis, spreading that equipment cost over 500 cows versus 150 cows drastically reduces the equipment cost per cow. 

Considerations for Successful Estrus Synchronization Programs

With spring calving in full swing, it is a good time to start thinking about if your cows are prepared for breeding season. Making sure your cows are in a good body condition score prior to calving is one of the most important steps to ensuring your cows stay on track to rebreed whether you plan to turn bulls out, synchronize, AI, or a combination. If you plan to utilize synchronization to tighten your breeding season, there are a few things you should consider.

Good Year-Round Nutrition and Adequate Body Condition Score (BCS)

What Should My Pastures Look Like? Interpreting Rangeland Monitoring Data

Conducting rangeland monitoring is an important task to help managers understand how rangeland management practices affect plant communities and soil health. A network of knowledge exchange between cattle producers and scientists can help this data become more meaningful and useful in an adaptive rangeland management framework. The Sandhills Rangeland Monitoring Cooperative (SRMC) is a new collaborative project between UNL Extension and cattle producers in the Nebraska Sandhills.

Nebraska Range Short Course June 22 - 25, 2020

The Nebraska Range Short Course is scheduled for June 22 to 25, 2020 on the campus of Chadron State College. The short course is sponsored by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Chadron State College, and the Nebraska Section of the Society for Range Management. It is designed to provide individuals who have a background in ranch, natural resource, or wildlife management an opportunity to increase their knowledge in many topics associated with the field of range management.

General Management Considerations to Increase the Proportion of Early Calving Heifers and Cows

Artificial insemination (AI) is the most powerful tool cow-calf producers have to improve beef cattle genetics. Still, they have been slow to adopt this technology due to the time and labor of heat checking and a market structure that until recently did not reward genetic improvement. However, markets are now rewarding improved genetics (e.g. premiums) and improved fixed time AI (FTAI) protocols make it easier for the cow-calf producer to use AI.

Simple Synchronization of Cows - One Injection, One Time through the Chute, and Bull Breed

Have you wanted to have more calves born earlier in your calving season, but did not want to deal with the increase in labor, cost and facilities to utilize estrus synchronization and artificial insemination?  The protocol shown (Figure 1.) can increase the number of cows coming into estrus early in the breeding season, with one time through the chute, one injection, and breeding using only natural service.

Estrus Synchronization and the Breeding Season - Resources to Review for 2020

For most producers the spring breeding season is still a ways off, but now is a good time to review estrus synchronization protocols and develop a plan for this year.  There are several Extension resources that can be helpful in preparing for the upcoming breeding season.

Targeted Grazing to Manage Cheatgrass

While Mother Nature has been giving us small tastes of spring, then pulling right back, the reminder that pasture green up is just around the corner shouldn’t be ignored. One of the earliest species we see greening up is cheatgrass (also called Downy brome, Bromus tectorum). This invasive species is found throughout Nebraska but is most prevalent on rangelands in the western portion of the state. Early spring is a good time to begin planning for cheatgrass management.

What to Do During a Distillers Grains Shortage

The Domino Effect

Using Goals with Ranch Decision Making - A Producer’s Perspective

Clearly identifying ranch goals and using those with decision making can help ranch families identify which enterprises they should be engaged in. 

Economics of Yearling Systems – A Review

This article is a summary of the 2020 Nebraska Beef Cattle Report, “Economics of Yearling Systems.” 

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