BeefWatch Articles from All

BeefWatch Articles from All

Manure Transfer from Permitted Livestock Operations

In this webinar, Dr. Amy Millmier Schmidt discusses manure transfers from permitted concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs).

Timing Manure Application to Avoid Neighbor Nuisances

In this webinar, Dr. Rick Koelsch discusses ways to minimize odor nuisances associated with manure application.

2019 Grazing Cover Crops Workshops

The Nebraska Grazing Lands Coalition, Nebraska Extension, and Green Cover Seed have teamed up to present cover crop workshops at four locations in Nebraska.

Featured speaker Shane New is a regenerative agriculture focused entrepreneur from Holton, Kansas who, with his family, operates New Family Farms. His topics include: knowing how to take economic values from your operation; why are you doing it if you are losing money; do we really know what foods should taste like; and how to change the way you see.

Frequently Asked Questions about Grazing Corn Residue Fields with Excessive Downed Corn

Putting cows out on corn fields with a lot of corn is a recipe for acidosis (grain overload), abortion, and possibly death, if their rumen bacteria are not properly prepared. Cattle that become acidotic for even a short time can have reduced performance long term due to damage to the rumen wall. Therefore, taking the time to avoid acidosis is very important.

 

How do I know how much corn is in the field?

Register Now for Range Beef Cow Symposium XXVI - November 18-20 in Mitchell, NE!!

You won’t want to miss RBCS XXVI! This year Under Secretary of Agriculture for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, Greg Ibach will be here to discuss domestic and international marketing of U.S. beef. Jim Robb from the Livestock Marketing Information Center will give the traditional market outlook. Wacey Kirkpatrick, a rancher from South Dakota will explain using price protection for the cow/calf producer. Dr.

Helping Cows Cope with Cold Stress

Cold stress increases a cow’s energy requirement and can pull down her body condition.  We think many cow/calf producers experienced this last year.  While we don’t know what mother nature has in store for us this year, it is good to think ahead and have a plan. A good start is to evaluate body condition score (BCS) now, and if cows are not at a 5 to 5.5 BCS, then taking steps to improve BCS before cold weather hits can help reduce the impacts of cold weather on the cows.

Manure Rules not just for Large CAFOs

Have you ever been overwhelmed by the amount of manure regulations in Nebraska? Or anywhere? Let’s make it a little easier to digest.

The good news is that Nebraska regulations related to manure do not change very often. In fact, the current regulations have been in effect since October 2011. So everyone can better follow the rules, let’s break it down into something that is a little easier to follow.

Take Home Message:
The ultimate purpose of all manure regulations is to keep water free from contamination.

The Science Behind 50-degree Soil and Nitrogen Application

This article was originally published on the “Manure Scoop” by Dan Andersen on September 11, 2015 and has been modified and published here with his permission.

What to Do with Wet Hay

With the wet weather this year, putting up quality hay and keeping it protected from the elements has been a challenge.  While some weathering of bales is to be expected, those that were put up a bit wet, have been sitting in water, or were otherwise saturated need some special considerations. 

Tips to Improve Cow Performance While Consuming Low-quality Forages

Low-quality range pasture and cold wet winter left cows in thinner than normal condition coming into spring this year. The challenges of last summer and winter may have resulted in lower than average pregnancy rates in replacement heifers and young cows this fall, which may be due to the impact the cold and snow had on body condition. Much of the precipitation patterns through the winter continued into the spring and summer creating a challenging 2019 haying season. Widespread heavy rainfall across much of Nebraska made the haying season challenging, and in some areas, nearly impossible.

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.  While prices have moderated after the rapid run up that occurred after 2014 and 2015, they are still historically quite strong.  Nebraska Extension annually publishes the results of a survey titled “Nebraska Farm Real Estate Report” that documents reported pasture rental rates.  This report can b

“Who do you want to work for you?”

Employee and family business working relationships are often one of the greatest challenges for those working in agricultural operations. Frequently those in leadership or management positions have had little or no training related to guiding and communicating with those they work with.  This lack of education can also impact recruiting and hiring of people to fit into available positions.

“Know Your Numbers, Know Your Options” for Better Informed Decisions

Making decisions for your farm and ranch can be stressful. However, having good financial records can help make the decision making process easier.

Why would I want to work for you?

Unemployment across the United States is at historically low numbers.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Nebraska ranks in the top 25% of states in having one of the lowest unemployment rates.  This low unemployment rate has created an environment where there is tremendous competition for agricultural workers.  Potential employees have greater employment opportunities and therefore can be more selective about the job that they choose.

Precision Manure Application on Display at Manure Expo

Reviewers:  Aaron Nygren, Nebraska Extension Educator; Joe Luck, UNL Extension Specialist; Javed Iqbal, UNL Extension Specialist

“Know Your Numbers, Know Your Options” courses

Making decisions for your farm and ranch can be stressful. However, having good financial records can help make the decision making process easier.

Reducing Yucca in Rangeland

Yucca plants, which are also called soapweed by many people, have nearly overrun many rangelands.  There are ways, though, to reclaim those grazinglands. 

Across much of western and central Nebraska, yucca has nearly taken over some pastures.  While they may be able to produce attractive flowers, dense stands of yucca can devastate grass production.

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.

Keys for Corn Stalk Grazing

Corn harvest will be underway soon in much of Nebraska. Corn residue is a tremendous feed resource for cattle in Nebraska. With Nebraska’s 9 million corn acres and 1.8 million beef cows, there is more than twice the number of corn stalk acres needed for grazing all of Nebraska’s beef cows! The Nebraska Extension Circular Grazing Crop Residues with Beef Cattle is an excellent resource on grazing corn stalks. The following are keys from that resource when planning for grazing cornstalks.

Cattle Production Risk Management Workshops Offered in November and December 2019

Nebraska Extension will be hosting risk management workshops for cattle producers at five locations throughout the state during November and December 2019. Join specialists and educators from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln as they present vital information on strategies designed to reduce risk exposure associated with cattle marketing and forage production to achieve a profitable outcome in uncertain times.

Range Beef Cow Symposium XXVI – Great Information in a New Format

Check out the exciting line up for this year’s Range Beef Cow Symposium in Mitchell, NE November 18-20. On Monday afternoon the program will kick off with beef quality assurance training and certification and you won’t want to miss the Ron Gill Stockmanship Clinic. Tuesday morning will begin the traditional program with Drs. John Hall and Benton Glaze from University of Idaho talking about when it pays to artificially inseminate and breed complementarity.  Dr. Alison Van Eenennaam from UC-Davis will talk about alternative meats.

Feeding Elevated Levels of Corn Silage in Finishing Diets

Corn silage can be an economical feedstuff in finishing diets, especially when corn prices are high. Feeding corn silage gives cattle feeders the opportunity to capitalize on maximum quality and tonnage of the whole corn plant, while stockpiling large quantities of feed. Considering forage prices, feedyards with bunker storage or flat storage should consider silage this year, even if only used as a roughage source.

Feeding Light Test Weight Corn in Growing and Finishing Diets

The number of growing degree days remaining for the season will influence the amount of light test weight corn harvested this fall. The current standard test weight for corn is 56 pounds per bushel. When corn test weight is below the standard, it is often discounted in price, suggesting the feeding value is lower. However, research has shown that the feeding value of light test weight corn is often similar to normal test weight corn when included in various cattle diets.

Harvesting, Storing and Feeding Small Grain Silage - A Producer's Perspective

Small grain annual forages are frequently utilized in Nebraska as part of a crop production system.  Annuals such as rye, triticale, oats and wheat can be harvested as silage, offering the opportunity to produce high quality forage.

Is Silage an Option for Corn Impacted by the Canal Breach?

On July 17 when the Gering-Ft. Laramie canal breached, it left over 100,000 acres of irrigated crops in eastern Wyoming and western Nebraska without water. Without irrigation water and adequate rainfall, taking the corn to full maturity and grain production, may not be the best option for the crop.

Producers with a corn crop impacted by the canal breach may want to consider making corn silage out of this year’s crop. There are several things to consider when making the decision to make silage.

Forage Quality in the Sandhills Inconsistently Estimated by Nutrition Balance Analyzer – A Review

This article is a review of the 2019 Nebraska Beef Cattle Report “Three Year Summary: Comparison of Diets Collected from Esophageally Fistulated Cows to Forage Quality Estimated from Fecal Analysis”. Bethany M. Johnston, Jay D. Jenkins, Jacki A. Musgrave, J. Travis Mulliniks, Mitchell B. Stephenson, James MacDonald and L. Aaron Stalker were collaborators on this research study and report.

Silage Pad Construction

“What material should I use for my new silage pad?” is probably a question most producers ask once a decade at most, but it is an important decision for maintaining an efficient feeding program.  Asphalt (e.g.

Crop Residue Exchange Updated and Available for Listings

The Crop Residue Exchange  continues to link cattle producers to available grazing resources. To date, a majority of the listings have been for available corn residue. Crop producers who have listed residue available for grazing in the past are encouraged to log in and update their listings on the Exchange for the upcoming fall and winter grazing season. Recent updates to the Exchange have expanded its geographical reach to include large portions of the states that surround Nebraska.

National Changes in Intensity and Type of Antimicrobials used for Metaphylaxis

A recent publication entitled Antimicrobials Used for Metaphylaxis and Implications for Product Diversification in the Animal Health Sector provides context on how metaphylaxis use in U.S. cattle feedlots has changed between 2011 and 2016.

Using Weaning Date as a Supplement Strategy

Many beef producers are preparing to wean, or at least thinking about it. After weaning and prior to winter can be one of the most economical times to improve the body condition score (BCS) of a spring-calving cow. Producers should look at weaning date within each year as a supplement strategy to put body condition back on cows before winter. If cows are thinner than normal, a producer may want to consider weaning earlier to give those cows a chance to gain body condition, especially with the younger females. Heifer and cow BCS at calving can impact subsequent rebreeding performance.

Gudmundsen Sandhills Laboratory Open House Highlights

Over 200 ranchers and beef industry leaders attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) Gudmundsen Sandhills Laboratory (GSL) 20th Annual Open House Wednesday, August 21. 

Dry Edible Beans as Livestock Feed When Hit by Drought and Hail

Dry edible beans such as pintos, great northern, and black beans are a very valuable commodity raised in western Nebraska and eastern Wyoming ranking Nebraska second, and Wyoming eighth in national dry bean production. However, hail and drought can easily reduce bean quality and the feasibility of harvest for the rigorous human consumption standards. So the question becomes, when dry edible beans are not suitable for human consumption, what options are available?

 

What are Lectins?

Harvesting Prevent-Plant Sudans and Sorghums

September has arrived so crops like sorghum-sudangrass planted on prevent-plant acres now can be harvested or grazed.  How should you do it? 

Hunting Rights on Leased Cropland and Pasture Land

There are many questions regarding the differences between written and unwritten agricultural land leases for cropland and for pasture. This Q&A focuses on the status of hunting rights on leased crop or pasture land. 

Who has the hunting rights for leased land with a written lease? A written cropland or pasture lease can specify who has hunting rights. If the written lease does not reserve hunting rights in the landlord directly or indirectly, the hunting rights would go to the tenant for the duration of the lease.

Detecting Pregnancy in Heifers and Cows with Technology - A Producer’s Perspective

Two technologies that are available to producers to utilize to detect pregnancy in heifers or cows are blood tests and ultrasound. These two technologies can be utilized to detect pregnancy as early as 30 days post breeding. Early detection of pregnancy in beef heifers or cows provides producers with information that allows them to make timely management decisions. A recent article Choosing a Method for Pregnancy Diagnosis discusses the use of these two technologies.

SHOULD YOU BE CONSIDERING SILAGE BAGS? Bagged Silage vs. Silage Bunkers & Piles

Making silage is an effective way for many producers to best use the resources available to their operation. However, for some, spoilage and shrink can result in significant loss that can greatly increase the cost of silage fed and impact animal performance. Bagging of silage offers flexibility for operations of all sizes to produce silage while potentially reducing spoilage and shrink loss.

2019 Nebraska Cow-Calf Pair and Stocker Rental Rates

Recent findings published from the Nebraska Farm Real Estate Market Highlights 2018-2019 indicate changes in cow-calf and stocker monthly rental rates trended slightly lower when compared to 2018 (Table 1). Nebraska monthly grazing rates represent a typical fee for one month of grazing during the summer. Many leases run for a five-month grazing season subject to annual weather conditions. 

Nebraska Farm Credit Mediation

Your lender informs you that your unpaid operating loan will not be renewed. What are your options? Loan foreclosure? Bankruptcy? One important option in Nebraska is farm credit mediation. This is when you and your creditor (or creditors) sit down with a trained mediator who tries to facilitate a compromise among the parties that avoids loan foreclosure and bankruptcy.

The Implications of this Year’s Rains on Next Year’s Calf Crop

A snowy/rainy spring gave way to above average rainfall for the summer in much of the mid-section of the country. While most of us know better than to complain about rain, the moisture has sure presented challenges for this year’s hay crop.

Abundant moisture resulted in rapid growth and maturity in forages. The continued rain delayed cutting the forage, adding to the maturity of the crop, and unfortunately, a lot of hay has been rained on between cutting and baling. This combination is most certainly going to result in poor quality hay, even if tonnage is adequate.

Cow Udder Score and Calf Performance in the Nebraska Sandhills – A Review

This article is a summary of the 2019 Nebraska Beef Cattle Report “The Effect of Cow Udder Score on Subsequent Calf Performance in the Nebraska Sandhills”. Joslyn K. Beard, Jacki A. Musgrave, Rick N. Funston and J. Travis Mulliniks were collaborators on this research study and report.  The report is summarized by Aaron Berger, Nebraska Extension Beef Educator.

University of Nebraska Cow Symposium sponsored by Elanco and GSL Open House

The 20th annual University of Nebraska–Lincoln Gudmundsen Sandhills Laboratory (GSL) Open House will be held on Wednesday, August 21, 2019. In addition, the University of Nebraska Cow Symposium will be held on August 20th in Ord and 22nd in Norfolk.  Both the GSL Open House and the UNL Cow Symposium are sponsored by Elanco.  A variety of educational sessions, activities, demonstrations and exhibits are planned for the symposium.

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

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.

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.

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.

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
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:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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