BeefWatch Articles from All

BeefWatch Articles from All

Potential Heat Stress the week of July 17-20, 2019

The seven-day forecast is calling for above average temperatures creating heat indexes that will reach critical heat stress emergency.  Thursday and Friday (July 18 and 19) will be critical days across the state as little cloud cover is expected and wind speeds will be at or below 10 mph across the region.

Baleage vs. Haylage: What’s really the difference?

Often times the terms baleage and haylage are used interchangeable in conversation due to the state or country of the farm/ranch or simply by the type of operation. So how are baleage and haylage different and why are they used?

Nebraska Grazing Conference is August 12-14 in Kearney

Beginning and experienced grazers, land managers, policy makers, and those concerned with the utilization and conservation of our grazing lands are encouraged to register for the 19th annual Nebraska Grazing Conference Aug. 12-14 at the Ramada by Wyndham, 301 2nd Ave., Kearney. The conference is hosted by the Center for Grassland Studies at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Planning for a Potentially Short Hay Inventory on the Ranch

The abundant spring and early summer moisture we have received in Nebraska has been record setting in many areas and has resulted in hay meadows and fields being inundated with water.  Even if the rain stops, for many producers, these flooded hay meadows and fields will produce significantly less this year, due to the damage caused to forage stands by the standing water.  This sets up a scenario where many producers may find themselves short on hay for the upcoming winter of 2019-2020.

Keeping Track of Your Assets

Settling insurance claims can be a daunting task.  The first few items that come to mind are easy to remember and price out.  The barn lost a roof, the pickup was totaled.  Those are both examples of large singular assets that have substantial value.  In the case of events such as floods, tornados, and other disasters the assets lost start to go much deeper.  Do you remember all the clothing, tools, kitchenware, electronics, and other small asset items?  While these are usually small dollar assets their total value can be quite substantial.  Creating and m

Beef Systems Initiative - Year 1 Milestones

The first year of data collection for the Beef Systems Initiative (BSI) is complete. This initiative, funded by the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska, is a faculty-driven, interdisciplinary project that began in January 2015. It included faculty from several disciplinary groups in Agronomy and Horticulture, Animal Science, and Agricultural Economics with interests in integrated production systems. From these early discussions, a long-term systems project was developed and administered by the Center for Grassland Studies.

Summer Pneumonia in Spring-born Beef Calves

Beef producers know from experience that calving season is fraught with perils for baby calves.  Calving difficulties, failure of cow and calf to bond, failure of passive transfer of immunity (colostrum intake by the calf), weather, mud, scours, and injuries are all threats during calving season.  Often, once cows and calves are on summer grass, most of the calf-related risk and workload are in the rear-view mirror.  It is still time for vigilance, however, because things like nursing calf pneumonia and pinkeye can take a lot of the fun out of baseball games and county fairs.

“What is the Market telling Stocker/Yearling Operators?” Meeting and Ranch Tour to be held July 12

Understanding what market conditions are telling you together with risk management and marketing strategy are a key component to business success for stocker/yearling operators. This will be the main theme of a meeting and ranch tour scheduled for Friday, July 12 near Burwell. Registration is due by July 8.

The morning program will be held from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Central Time at the Calamus Outfitters meeting facility northwest of Burwell.  Dinner will be served at noon.  In the afternoon, a tour of the Gracie Creek ranch is planned.

Annual Forage Options for July or August Planting

If planting in July, warm season annual grasses are good options for forage production. They can be used to produce hay, silage, green chop, or grazing both during the summer or winter. However, if the desired use is winter grazing and the need is for high quality forage, then delaying planting until August and using cool-season winter sensitive species like oats may be a better fit. This article provides information on species selection and some key management considerations based on desired use.

Moving Calving Date – A Producer’s Perspective

In this month's BeefWatch Producer Perspective Podcast, Russ Anderson from near Hyannis Nebraska discuss how the move from a March calving, terminal production system to a late April calving with retention of replacement heifers has impacted their operation.

Range Beef Cow Symposium Registration Now Open

The Range Beef Cow Symposium will be held November 18-20 in Mitchell, NE at the Scotts Bluff County fairgrounds. The format is slightly different this year. In the afternoon of November 18, we will be offering Beef Quality Assurance Certification and a Ron Gill stockmanship clinic. The more traditional program will start in the morning of the 19th. However, in the afternoon of both the 19th and the 20th, there will be demonstrations and hands on presentations offered 3-4 times throughout the afternoon.

Not All Cows are Equal – Some Eat More!

On most ranches, average cow size has increased significantly over the last three decades as a result of genetic selection. These changes do not come without consequences to forage intake. If the per-head counting method has been used to plan and track grazing, stocking rates may have unknowingly increase over time caused by increased forage intake of larger cows. Just as a lineman on a football team will eat more than the punter, larger cows will typically consume more forage than smaller cows.

Ten Things to Consider When Evaluating Moving Calving Date

The severe weather of this last winter and spring has prompted many cow-calf producers to evaluate the potential of moving their calving date to a different time of year.  The following are a list of ten things producers may want to think through as they evaluate moving of a calving date.

Cheatgrass Management Field Tour June 6 at Scottsbluff

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Panhandle Research and Extension Center will host a field tour on cheatgrass management research on Thursday, June 6.

The tour will be of the Panhandle Experimental Rangeland approximately 10 miles north of Scottsbluff on Hwy 71. It will start at 9 a.m. in the east parking lot at the UNL Panhandle Research and Extension Center, 4502 Ave I, Scottsbluff, and progress to the rangeland. The tour is expected to end at noon.

Livestock Risk Protection (LRP) Insurance Update

Several enhancements and improvements to the Livestock Risk Protection (LRP) insurance program will take effect on July 1, 2019. LRP is an insurance contract offered by the USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) to help livestock producers protect against unexpected down swings in market price.

One change is that LRP insurance coverage for fed cattle, feeder cattle, and swine is expanding to include all 50 states. Several other changes will be of particular interest to Nebraska cattle producers. 

Muddy Feedlot Surfaces: What Are My Options?

Muddy feedlot conditions common in Nebraska in 2019 lead to poor animal performance, some health issues, and increased odors as temperatures warm.

Reviewers:  Ben Beckman, Nebraska Extension Educator; James McDonald, Associate Professor, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Tax Consequences of Weather-Related Sales

Every few years we seem to be faced with reasons to dust off these tax laws, but it has been a long time since it hasn’t been for drought. In 2019, we are looking at how these apply to flooding in the Midwest.

Livestock Deferrals

One-Year Deferral

A one-year deferral is available for all types of livestock (draft, dairy, breeding, and feeding) if you qualify for the following:

BQA Assessment

Rob Eirich and Brain Vander Ley discuss feedyard assessments and things owners and managers of feedyards should be aware of related to the assessment process.

What to do with Cows that have Lost Calves

Due to the recent severe weather, many cow-calf producers have a significant number of first-calf heifers or cows that have lost calves this spring.

Lameness Exams in Feedlot Cattle

Halden Clark and Brian Vander Ley discuss lameness exams in feedlot cattle.

Controlling Weeds in Pastures and Rangeland

As temperatures finally warm up and we get close to turning animals out to pasture, keep an eye out for possible weed issues that may arise during the growing season.  Surveying and keeping a record of weed locations over the course of the year is something every producer should keep in the back of their mind as they travel across pastures getting fence and water ready and checking cattle. 

Rebuilding Fences After Flood/Blizzard Damage

After this spring’s blizzards and flooding, fence rebuilding is a priority for many livestock producers. In setting new fences, questions may come up regarding opportunities for financial assistance as well as neighbor responsibilities as outlined in Nebraska fencing laws. This article discusses a USDA cost-share program, Nebraska fencing law, and considerations as you assess the damage.

Controlling Horn Flies on Pastured Cattle in Nebraska

Livestock producers will soon be sending cattle to summer pastures. Horn flies are a perennial pest of pastured cattle since their introduction from Europe in the 1880s. The horn fly spends most of its time on cattle, mainly on the animal’s backs, sides and when temperatures are very warm, on the belly region. Both sexes of horn fly feed on blood, averaging between 28 and 38 blood meals per day, with each blood meal lasting about 10 minutes. When horn fly numbers exceed 200 flies per animal, cattle will become more stressed due to fly biting.

Adjusting Pasture and Hay Ground Leases for 2019

Where there is significant damage from flooding to pastures, hayland, or alfalfa, should the rental rate be adjusted for 2019? The answer lies in the characteristics of the individual situation. This article provides guidance on adjusting rental rates for flood-damaged forage and pastureland if needed.

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.

Decision Tools for Ranchers

Nebraska ranchers must make many decisions during a normal production year and now have even tougher decisions where they have experienced serious flooding in early 2019. Wide varieties of decision tools are available to help the rancher make the decisions. Some of the tools require a computer office suite, like Microsoft office, with a spreadsheet. Both of the below listed office suites, Libreoffice and OpenOffice, are free suites with spreadsheets. They also are available for PC or Mac operating systems.

Crop Residue Exchange Now Available For Listing Pasture Rentals

The Crop Residue Exchange is an online engagement tool designed to increase accessibility to grazing resources. This online exchange was recently updated to now include the ability to list pasture for rent to livestock producers.

Scotch Thistle

Scotch thistle is a non-native biennial forb but can behave as an annual or short-lived perennial.

Evaluating Winter Wheat for Forage or for Grain

Current market conditions for wheat along with the price and short availability of hay in some locations is setting up a scenario where the growing winter wheat crop may have more value for grazing or as a hay crop this spring than to harvest it for grain.

Flies Associated with Cattle in Dry Lots

Maintaining beef cattle in a dry lot is an alternative management system to traditional pasture or range beef production initially developed to offset the lack of pasture during drought conditions. Dry lot management continues to be used in situations when grazing is unavailable. There is one production issue that remains constant for any livestock producer in any management system, and that is flies. They are the face fly, horn fly, house fly, and stable fly depending upon the dry lot system utilized.

Adding a Hunting Enterprise to Your Farm or Ranch

Crop and cattle prices have dropped, could you extract more profit by adding a hunting lease to your operation?

Hunting leases allow access to hunters for a certain period of time by cost per acre or lump sum. These leases let you specify which game species can be hunted, hunting rights for yourself, your guests, and immediate family.  In fact, depending on the interest of lessee and your willingness, these leases can be customized to the satisfaction of both you and the lessee, as well as the agreed-upon price paid for the privilege of leasing.

Rebuilding Fences After Flood or Blizzard Damage

One of the greatest needs for ranchers after damage from flooding or a blizzard is the need to rebuild fences. This article will review Nebraska fence law, available assistance for replacing fences, and considerations as you assess the damage.

Body Condition Score and Getting Thin Cows to Rebreed

During the production year, livestock are faced with dynamic changes in nutritional and environmental stressors that create nutritional challenges. Many parts of Nebraska experienced high, early spring rainfall and tremendous forage growth, resulting in early maturing and low-quality forages.  

Nebraska Ranch Practicum – Seeking Applications

The 2019 Nebraska Ranch Practicum gives ranchers cutting edge research in range livestock production from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  Natural resources, livestock management, and economic reality are integrated throughout the Practicum.

New Technologies for Range and Pasture Management

As technology improves and continually moves forward, more and more information can be gathered remotely to make informed decisions on Nebraska's farms and ranches. Remote Sensing is the science of obtaining information about objects or areas from a distance, typically from drones, airplanes, or satellites. Since the 1970s, the Landsat satellite program has collected earth imagery data. Current satellites with this program take imagery and sensor data from earth's entire surface once every 16 days.

Getting Ready for the Grazing and Forage Production Season

The start of the growing season will be here soon and it is time to finish up grazing and forage plans for the upcoming year.  Rangeland and pasture production in 2018 was very good with many areas of the state seeing production 10 to 30% above average.  This, of course, was the result of abundant and timely rains during spring into mid-summer.  While long-range weather forecasts always have some uncertainty, the Climate Prediction Center currently indicates weak El Nino conditions in the Pacific Ocean.&nbs

Importance of Cow Nutrition from Calving through Breeding

For cow-calf producers, the last few months have been very challenging from a weather standpoint.  This has left many first-calf heifers and cows in less than optimum in terms of body condition at the time of calving.  Weather conditions have also significantly depleted feed resources available as many producers have had to feed earlier and more than normal.

Marestail / Horseweed

Early Detection and Rapid Response (EDRR) is a concept to identify potential 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.

Dealing with flooded hay and grain

Is wet feed and hay salvageable? The first thing to ask is where did the water come from? If hay, silage, or grain was in contact with flood water that could have come in contact with chemicals from building or cities (any water from rivers or streams) federal regulations state that it should not be fed and should instead be disposed of. Feed that was in fields that ponded due to rain or snow melt maybe salvageable. However, if water came up through tiles into the field it could contain animal waste products, high chemical levels and other contaminants.

2019 Feedyard Extension Webinar

We will resume the feedyard extension webinar series this week, on Wednesday, March 27. It will be the first of eight feedyard extension webinars planned for 2019. The webinar will be broadcast live at 12:30 pm (central) and each topic will only last 10 to 15 minutes and will allow for questions. 

Topic: Feedyard Assessments: How To
Speakers: Brian Vanderlay and Rob Erich

Feeding Cows After the Flood

The recent flood resulted in loss of feed stocks for herds. Currently, many fellow producers are stepping up to the plate and donating grass hay. For cows that had already calved, but lost their calf in the flood medium quality grass hay, fed free choice, will likely meet their energy and protein needs. However, cows that did not lose their calves in the flood and/or had not calved yet, their nutritional requirements will be much greater. To keep the cows and calves healthy and get cows rebred, meeting their nutritional needs is important.

Pastures Flooded with Potentially Contaminated Water: Is it safe?

After pastures have been flooded, taking precautions when turning out for grazing is important. Once the pastures dry out and receive adequate sunlight, the bacteria that were on the grass in pasture will be eliminated.  However, the standing water that does not evaporate may be an issue depending on how much rain has occurred to dilute out the flood water. Thus, it is recommended that producers sample standing water in pasture a couple weeks before they want to turn out to see how much potential nitrates and coliform bacteria are present.

Reclaiming Flood-damaged Pastures and Forage Production

Spring growth of most perennial grass pastures and alfalfa stands in the western Corn Belt will likely be delayed due to consequences of excessive flooding and slowed growth from late cold soil and air temperatures. Spring planting of annual forages may be similarly delayed.

Options for Disposal of Animal Carcasses

Given the recent weather events livestock losses are an unfortunate reality for livestock operations. In disaster situations, the first step in the disposal process is to document the deaths (take pictures of the ear tags and animal). The state of Nebraska allows for disposal of dead animals via several methods including composting, burial, rendering, landfill and incineration. Composting, burial or incineration must be performed on-site.

Considerations Attributing to Livestock Losses

This winter has greatly impacted our livestock producers. We have received reports of livestock losses in February and early March and most recently, losses from blizzards and flooding. We have also been asked by various Farm Service Agency (FSA) directors about considerations for livestock losses where this winter could be considered an extreme and unusual situation.

Extreme Weather Events and the Livestock Indemnity Program

The Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP), administered by the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA), provides compensation to eligible livestock producers who have suffered livestock death losses in excess of normal mortality due to adverse weather, including extreme cold, storms and flooding. With the extreme weather conditions we have been experiencing this winter, it is important livestock producers diligently document and report their death losses for possible LIP payments.

Summer Dry Lot Feeding of Cow-Calf Pairs – A Producer’s Perspective

The University of Nebraska has conducted several years of cow-calf research examining and comparing the potential for different production systems in Nebraska.  Recent research has examined feeding cows and cow-calf pairs in a dry lot during a portion of the year as an alternative to grazing grass pasture.

Genomics Helps Scientist and Producers Understand and Manage Emerging Disease

Brittle bone disease, or osteogenesis imperfecta, is a detrimental disorder in livestock.  Calves with the condition commonly suffer multiple bone fractures in utero or at delivery, and if able to stand, have lax tendons.  Depending on the cause, calves may also have blue coloration in what is otherwise the white of the eye and soft teeth. Osteogenesis imperfecta (OI) occurs in many species where it is more highly studied.  In most cases, it is attributed to a new genetic mutation that occurred in the affected individual. 

Windbreaks for Protection and Snow Diversion

Shelter for livestock during the winter months can influence the success of calving and a livestock operation. Protection from the wind and snow is not always readily available from natural topography or living windbreaks such as tree lines or shrub rows. The presence of wind increases heat loss in livestock during the winter and can penetrate the hair coat allowing cold air to reach the skin, accelerating the loss of heat. Constructing windbreaks increases protection for livestock. Installing a windbreak needs to come with the end goal in mind.

The Importance of Colostrum to the Newborn Calf

Colostrum, or first milk produced by the mother after birth, is high in nutrients and antibodies.  A newborn calf lacks disease protection because antibodies do not pass across the cow’s placenta to the fetus’ circulatory system.  Antibodies in colostrum provide calves with their initial protection.

Calves need about two quarts of colostrum (or at least five percent of the calf’s body weight) within four hours of birth – ideally within 30 minutes – and one gallon within 12 hours.

Ways to Stretch Cash Flow

Over time, negative cash flows will put farm and ranch businesses, and the lifestyle of the owners, at serious risk. The following suggestions for additions to cash flow are adapted from Iowa State Extension AgDecsionmaker C3-58, Farm Financial Management: 16 Ways to Stretch Cash Flow, written by William Edwards, retired extension ag economist.

Selection for Milk in the Cowherd: How Much is too Much?

In beef production, we tend to overdue genetic selection with the mentality that “more is better” or “bigger is better” in efforts to increase production. In doing so, we tend to select for short-term traits such as growth and milk yield to increase calf weaning weight for the potential of increased profitability.

Preventing Grass Tetany in the Lactating Beef Cow this Spring

As spring nears and grass begins to turn green, producers are anxious to get cows out to grass. However, cool season predominate areas tend to have lush spring growth which can lead to grass tetany in cows. While there are treatments for cows caught quick enough, prevention is always the best policy.

Estrus Synchronization and the Breeding Season - Resources to Review for 2019

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.

Feeding Low Quality Hay

Low quality hay can provide management challenges for cattle producers. This presentations discusses key things to know and options to effectively utilize low quality hay.

Winter Tick

 During the past two years, I have received several tick samples removed from horses. The first week of January, I received my first sample for 2019.  Yes, one tick species thrives during Nebraska winters and that is the winter tick.

Fifteen Years of Cow Herd Production Benchmarks from CHAPS – A Review

This article is a review of a 2017 North Dakota State University Beef Report article titled, “Cow Herd Appraisal Performance Software (CHAPS): 15 years of beef production benchmarks” by Drs. Jennifer Ramsay, Lauren Hulsman Hanna, and Kris Ringwall along with Mr. Lee Tisor.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln Beef Economics Team Annual Beef Heifer Replacement Forecasts for the 2018 – 2019 Production Season

What is a respectable value to pay for a beef replacement heifer for the coming 2018-2019 production season? Like many decisions, this can be complicated by many factors, but nonetheless, it is important to have a handle on to make the best production and business choices for continued success of the ranching operation.

Beef Feedlot Roundtables Offer Research, Industry Updates

Research findings and industry updates will be the focus of the Nebraska Extension Beef Feedlot Roundtables Feb. 12-14.

Topics were selected to benefit feedlot managers, owners, employees, and those working in the allied industry. 

One issue facing all producers is the ability to attract and retain employees. Because this is the biggest issue facing our feedyards, Dr. Scott MacGregor was invited to offer some options for feedyards to enhance employee retention and management succession.

Using the DuPont System to Increase Farm/Ranch Profitability

One challenge farm/ranch operators have is to accurately find where to make changes to an operation to increase profits. Many have the records and numbers but don’t know where to start. A system of financial analysis developed nearly 100 years ago by an explosive salesman for DuPont Explosives Company is a useful tool for farm/ranch managers analyzing financial performance. It is a simple system that can point managers in the right direction when looking for the correct places to make operational improvements. This avoids wasting time and effort chasing unicorns.

Feeding Moldy Hay

Moldy hay.  No matter how hard you tried, last summer you baled some hay a little too wet and now you have some mold.  So how do you go about feeding this moldy hay safely? 

Feeding moldy hay to livestock is a tough decision.  Although all hay contains some mold, when mold becomes easily noticeable the decision becomes important.

Is Creep Feeding Beef Calves Profitable?

Successful beef calf producers continually search for ways to improve their operation and bottom-line. Creep feeding calves to increase their market weight is one strategy. To be profitable, the costs of the added weight gain must be less than the value of that gain.

So What if I Can’t Get Distillers Grains?

In recent months, the shortened supply of distillers grains has reduced the amount many producers have access to, and increased the price of that which is available. This has led many producers to evaluate what their supplement options are.

 

Can I just substitute corn for distillers grains for my bred cows?

Tri-State Cow/Calf Symposium February 8, 2019 Imperial, Nebraska

Tri-State Cow/Calf Symposium will be held at the Wesleyan Church in Imperial Nebraska on February 8 with registration at 9:00 AM and the program starting at 9:30.  The program was developed by Extension Educators and Specialists from Colorado State University, Kansas State University and the University of Nebraska.  The emphasis of this symposium is Strategies for Success.  Topics for the program include:

Beef Profit Tips Programs to be Held in Nebraska

During the winter of 2019 Nebraska Extension will host 17 beef profitability workshops in Nebraska to help Beef Producers 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 fifteen years. The cost is $15.00 but may vary from location depending on local sponsorship.

2019 Locations are as follows (no meal unless otherwise stated)

Early Hay Harvest and Fertilizing Meadows

As supplementation costs continue to rise across Nebraska, producers are looking for economical ways to meet protein and energy requirements of their cattle. Hay produced on irrigated grass and subirrigated meadows can be a potential supplementation source throughout Nebraska.

Bull Selection Principles—Be an Educated Consumer

For many, this is the time of year when bull purchasing decisions occur. Before you buy a bull, consider what you need to improve.

The key questions that every rancher needs to answer are:

1)      What are my breeding/marketing goals?

2)      What traits directly impact the profitability of my enterprise?

3)  Are there environmental constraints that dictate the level of performance that is acceptable for a given trait in my enterprise?

Heifer Development and Long-term Profitability

Developing a heifer to replace a cull cow is one of the most expensive management decisions for cow-calf producers, leading to major implications on long-term herd profitability.

Leading Farm and Ranch Employees Seminar to be held in Scottsbluff

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

Preparing for Calving

For some the calving season is almost upon us, while for others, the start of the calving season is still a few months away.  The following are practices to consider in preparing for the upcoming calving season.

“Ranching for Profitability” Meeting to be held as webinar across Nebraska

Efficiency and sustainability are important topics to beef consumers and the future success of the beef industry. These topics are also the theme of Nebraska Extension’s Ranching for Profitability session in 2019.

In January, Ranching for Profitability will be offered as a webinar that beef producers can join from any of 13 downlink locations across Nebraska, or from their home via the internet. A list of sites and registration information follows.

Nitrate Nitrogen (NO3-N) or Nitrate (NO3-) – Know the Difference!

I just got the forage test results back from the lab and the nitrate score was 3,000. Am I in trouble? Every year I get multiple questions similar to this one. Unfortunately, with just this information I’m unable to give a useful answer. So – the first question I ask is “Was this reported as nitrates or as nitrate nitrogen?”

What Did it Cost to Produce a Pound of Calf This Year?

By early December, weaning of spring-born calves has wrapped up for most cow-calf producers. This is a good time of year to close the books on 2018 and analyze the business to see what it cost to produce a pound of weaned calf. Unit cost of production (UCOP) is a value based on a relationship in production or manufacturing between costs and units of product made or produced.

Grazing Fall Pairs on Cornstalks

Cornstalk residue can be an economical source of forage for beef cattle in the winter.  The leftover corn, leaf and husk are the most desirable parts of the corn plant to the animal. Modern farming practices and technology have probably decreased the amount of corn left in the fields for the most part, but the digestibility of the leaf and husk are typically between 45-57% total digestible nutrients (TDN).  Assuming stocking rates are moderate and intake is not limiting, research has indicated this will maintain non-lactating pregnant cows.

 

Winter Grazing On Upland Rangelands

Year-round cattle grazing is an important management consideration in the Nebraska Sandhills and western Nebraska. With proper protein and mineral supplementation, cattle can be successfully grazed on dormant winter forage without high inputs of harvested feeds. Although, some hay may need to be fed during heavy snows or if available forage is lacking. Saving forage on pastures for use during only winter months can provide a valuable source of feed.

Corn Stalk Quality After Weathering

Fall rainfall, and even snow, is good for wheat and next year’s crops, but it does have its drawbacks.  One challenge is rain’s impact on corn stalk feed quality.

Rain in the fall usually is welcomed despite the delays it causes with crop harvest.  Pastures and alfalfa benefit from extra growth and winterizing capabilities.  Wheat and other small grains get well established as do any new fields of alfalfa or pasture.  The reserve moisture stored in the soil will get good use during next year’s growing season.

Feedlot Worker Safety

In this recent webinar, Dr. Aaron Yoder discusses an on-going project designed to improve the safety and health of cattle feedyard workers.

Beef Cows, Hoop Barns, Cover Crops, Cornstalks, and Irrigated Pasture – A Producer’s Perspective

Integrated cow-calf production systems that utilize hoop barns, crop residues and annual forages are gaining interest in the heart of corn and soybean county. In this BeefWatch Producer Perspective Podcast, Tyler Burkey who is part of a family farm operation near Milford, Nebraska discusses how they have built a cow-calf operation around a wide range of resources and technology.

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. 

Ammoniated Corn Residue Equal to Medium Quality Grass Hay?

Ammoniation can be used to make low quality forages, like corn residue, have digestibility and protein content that is the equivalent of, or slightly better than, grass hay. 

The Process of Ammoniation

Ammoniation of corn residue is relatively easy (although working with anhydrous ammonia can be dangerous and proper safety precautions must be taken).  To ammoniate residue, the bales will be stacked together and the outside covered with plastic.

New Resource for Hispanics in the Cattle Industry: BeefWatch Articles Translated into Spanish

BeefWatch, an electronic monthly newsletter that provides beef producers with timely, research-based information on beef production issues as well as current issues and timely topics for consumers, is expanding to reach Hispanics working in the cattle industry. One to two articles will be translated each month into Spanish, appearing both on the beef.unl.edu website and the Podcast version of BeefWatch.

Changing Supplementation Frequency May Impact Cow Weight and Body Condition Score

This article is a summary of the 2016 Kansas Agricultural Experimentation Station Research Reports: Vol. 2: Iss.1. “Effects of Altering Supplementation Frequency During the Pre-Partum Period of Beef Cows Grazing Dormant Native Range.”  C.J. McMullen, J.R. Jaeger, J.W. Waggoner, K.R. Harmoney and K.C. Olsen were collaborators on this research study and report.  The report is summarized by Aaron Berger, Nebraska Extension Beef Educator.

Crop Residue Exchange Connects Cattle Producer with Available Forage

About half of the available corn residue in Nebraska is grazed by cattle. In addition to providing a winter feed resource, this practice can be used as a management option to increase the amount and rate of corn residue breakdown.  University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) research has shown that when corn residue was grazed at proper stocking rates (15% residue removal), crop production after grazing was not reduced. In fact, small, positive impacts on subsequent soybean yield has occurred.

Reviewing Cow-calf Share and Cash Lease Agreements

The fall of the year is often a convenient time for those involved in cow-calf share and cash leases of spring calving cows to revisit the terms of the agreement.  Market values of cattle, interest rates, pasture rental rates and feed costs can change significantly from year to year.  Discussing how the share or lease is working and if adjustments need to be made is a good way to ensure the agreement is fair.

Nebraska Beef Quality Assurance Program

In this webinar, Rob Eirich discusses the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program including why and how to become BQA certified.

Grazing Spring Calving Cow-calf Pairs on Cornstalks – A Producer’s Perspective

In this month’s BeefWatch Producer Perspective Podcast, John Maddux who is part of a diversified cattle operation near Imperial, shares how his family grazes cornstalks through the fall and winter with spring calving cow-calf pairs.

Effects of a Freeze on Forages

If you haven’t experienced a freeze yet this fall, you soon will. And remember, a freeze can cause hazards for using some forages. When plants freeze, changes occur in their metabolism and composition that can poison livestock. But you can prevent problems. Sorghum-related plants, like cane, sudangrass, shattercane, and milo can be highly toxic for a few days after frost. Freezing breaks plant cell membranes. This breakage allows the chemicals that form prussic acid, which is also called cyanide, to mix together and release this poisonous compound rapidly.

Estimating Nitrogen Credit from Manure

Manure is a valuable source of nutrients offering agronomic and soil health value. Most manure nutrients (e.g. phosphorus) can be managed successfully with traditional soil analysis.  However, nitrogen in manure requires some simple advance planning to insure that it is given proper credit for offsetting commercial fertilizer inputs.

How does Corn Silage Compare with Sugar Beet Pulp in Growing Calf Rations

This summer western Nebraska has been blessed with rain. Unfortunately, these rains have often been accompanied by hail. As a result, some once promising corn crops have been harvested for corn silage increasing the availability of this energy source in areas where it is not typically abundant. Several producers have had questions about the value of corn silage compared with sugar beet pulp, a more familiar commodity in western Nebraska for growing cattle.

SHREDLAGE® as a Roughage Component in Steam-flaked Corn Diets for Finishing Cattle

Roughage is a necessary component in finishing diets for beef cattle as it helps maintain rumen function and reduces digestive upset. However, roughages are bulky, somewhat expensive for feedlots to acquire and store, and increase the volume in the feed truck, which increases the number of loads it takes to feed cattle thereby increasing the cost of feeding. Therefore, if the amount of roughage fed could be reduced without negatively impacting feedlot performance, efficiency of production could be improved.

Recognizing and Managing Differences in Health Risk of Incoming Feeder Cattle

Immune and nutritional status as well as management of newly received cattle influence their adaptability to the feedlot environment. Based on the information available relative to the history of a group of cattle, it is appropriate to classify the group within a certain health risk level and manage them accordingly. Genetics, age, source, vaccination program, length of transportation, and weather conditions are just some of the factors taken into consideration when designating cattle as low or high-risk.

Whole Raw Soybeans as a Cost Competitive Protein Supplement for Cows and Calves

Current market conditions for raw, whole soybeans are making them price competitive in parts of Nebraska with other protein sources such as distillers grains and alfalfa hay to be used as a protein supplement for cows as well as weaned calves.

State of Beef Conference to be Held in North Platte November 7-8

The State of Beef Conference will be held November 7-8, 2018 at the Sandhills Convention Center in North Platte.  The theme this year is “Increasing Production Efficiency”.  There will be two producer panel discussions this year. One is on production efficiency and one is on alternative profit centers for the ranch.  There will be a presentation on the market outlook as well as genetics, reproduction, and nutrition. This will also be an opportunity to visit with industry personnel about products available for the ranching operation.

Feeding Low-Quality Hay

This year, wet weather has many producers putting up hay much later in the season than normal.  A late harvest date means grasses have already produced seed heads and are rapidly declining in forage nutrient value. While having even low quality hay on hand for winter feed is better than none, producers will need to consider the challenges of meeting cattle nutrient requirements this winter.

Oat-Brassica Forage Quality Changes during Winter Grazing

This article is a summary of the 2018 Nebraska Beef Cattle Report “Late Summer Planted Oat-Brassica Forage Quality Changes during Winter Grazing.”  Mary E. Lenz, Jordan L. Cox, Kristen E. Hales, Hannah C. Wilson, and Mary E. Drewnoski were collaborators on this research study and report.  The report is summarized by Aaron Berger, Nebraska Extension Beef Educator.

Making Silage from Late Season Hail Damaged Corn

The first step in dealing with hail damage is to contact your insurance agent, so that you know what is required to meet obligations for hail or revenue insurance.

Preconditioned vs Weaned Calves can Affect Bunk Space Requirements in Feedlots

Weaning season is right around the corner for producers. However, some producers do not think about how their management techniques can affect calves when entering the feedlot. These techniques can affect how calves are managed when received at the feedlot and subsequently, can determine the number of head in a pen during receiving. This article will review the difference in bunk space requirements between calves that are weaned and shipped immediately to a different location compared to calves that are preconditioned before entering the feedlot.

Windrow Grazing: An Alternative to Feeding Hay in the Fall and Winter

Advantages to Windrow Grazing

Harvested feed costs can be one of the largest expenses to cattle producers. Windrow grazing, sometimes called swath grazing, is a management practice that can significantly reduce harvesting and feeding costs. Swathing the crop and leaving the windrows in the field provides several advantages.

• Eliminates the costs of baling and hauling bales off the field.
• Reduces labor and equipment costs associated with feeding.

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