BeefWatch Articles from All

BeefWatch Articles from All

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.

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.

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. 

Five Ways to Reduce Unit Cost of Production in a Cow-calf Enterprise

Unit cost of production is a ratio where costs in the numerator are divided by the units produced in the denominator.

 

There are five ways to reduce unit costs of production in a cow-calf enterprise.

Economics of Yearling Systems – A Review

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

Registration Opens for 2020 Nebraska Ranch Practicum

Ranchers interested in learning about the latest cutting-edge research in range livestock production from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln are encouraged to register for the 2020 Nebraska Ranch Practicum offered by Nebraska Extension.

Is the Price Right?

With many producers utilizing annual forage/cover crops and prevent plant acres, the amount of “non-traditional” forage options on the market have increased this past year.  As long as we keep an eye out for potential nitrate issues, sorghum/sudangrass, milo, or small grains like oats, rye, and wheat can all make great forage options as hay or silage.  Whether you are looking to buy or sell these products, answering the question, “Is the price right?” can often be a difficult undertaking.

Consumers Pay Organic Premiums – Chicken is King and Beef Lags

Local” and “Organic” are two forms of production that have received considerable public attention in the last 10 years. The label of “Local” and “Organic” are noticeably vague and at times can cause confusion among consumers. The USDA has no specific definition of the “Local” label but work to promote locally grown products.

Value Added Fed and Feeder Cattle Practices: Are they Paying?

A lot of time is spent on analyzing trends and movements in the quality and yield grade of slaughtered cattle and for good reason. These premiums indicate whether the market is willing to pay for producing a higher quality product. As producers respond to these premiums or discounts the relative share of quality graded cattle changes. For example, as the Choice-Select spread widens there is a greater incentive to feed cattle longer.

Foreign Animal Disease: Implications for Traceability

Two statements commonly spoken by market analysts and producers are: 1) beef is a differentiated product and 2) global beef supply impacts domestic prices. These are so frequently quoted that we might forget how these two statements imply modifications in local risk management and production practices. So, how do these statements apply to a hypothetical Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) situation in the United States (US)?


FMD Implications for US Beef Supply

Evaluating and Preparing Bulls in Advance of the Breeding Season

Although the breeding season for many herds is still a few months away, it is time to be evaluating bull body condition. Body condition is just as important in bulls as it is in cows. Research has shown that bulls in a body condition 5-6 have better semen quality than those in a 4 or 7.

A Calf’s Most Important Meal: Colostrum

Colostrum is the "first milk" produced after calving. It has a different composition than milk as it has an important role in being the first meal a calf receives. Colostrum is more nutrient dense than milk and contains antibodies essential for calf health.

2020 Beef Feedlot Roundtables in Bridgeport, Lexington, West Point

Beef feedlot managers, owners, employees and allied industries will learn new information related to feedlot nutrition and health at Nebraska Extension's 2020 Beef Feedlot Roundtables Feb. 18-20 in Bridgeport, Lexington and West Point.

Sugar Beet Pulp Shortage and Alternative Energy Sources for Beef Cattle

The adverse weather conditions experienced by most agriculturalists in 2019 certainly impacted sugar beet production. The reduced volume of sugar beets available for sugar production has impacted the amount of the by-product, sugar beet pulp, available for beef cattle diets this winter.

Sugar beet pulp is often used in gestating cow diets in the winter to increase the energy density of a forage based diet. The highly digestible fiber in sugar beet pulp gives it a total digestible nutrient or TDN value of 85-90%. The crude protein value is approximately 10%.

Asking “Why?” with Systems Thinking: A Powerful Tool for Problem Solving

Beef production from conception to consumption is a complex, biological system where cause and effect are often distant in time and space.   For example, things that occurred to a calf while it was developing inside of a cow, can impact that animal throughout its life all the way to harvest. This can make it challenging to identify and address the actual source of a problem when it is observed.   To better understand and address the source of problems, consider asking the question “why?”  

Nebraska Women in Agriculture Conference is Feb. 20-21

The annual Nebraska Women in Agriculture Conference will celebrate 35 years Feb. 20 and 21 at the Holiday Inn Convention Center in Kearney.

Workshops and presentations will offer tools and information to help women better manage risk, improve their farms and ranches and become more successful operators and business partners.

Beef Profit Tips for 2020

During the winter and spring of 2020, Nebraska Beef Extension Educators will host 7 beef profitability workshops in Eastern Nebraska to help beef producers evaluate their operations to make them more profitable through the latest research information. Topics will vary depending on the presenters at each location. These workshops have been held across Nebraska for the past sixteen years. The cost is $15.00 but may vary from location to location depending on local sponsorship. There will not be a meal unless otherwise stated.

2020 Locations are as follows: 

Sharing Animal Agriculture’s Sustainability Story

Animal agriculture often endures criticism from our neighbors and consumers relative to sustainability. But when it comes to management of carbon and nutrients, animal agriculture has a positive story to share.  Many environmental and sustainability organizations promote the importance of a “circular economy” for increasing sustainability.  Farmers should help our neighbors and consumers recognize agriculture’s long term practice of implementing this circular economy.

Manure: Waste or Valuable Agricultural Resource?

manure piled

Stories about manure often illustrate two opposing sentiments. Is manure a “Waste” that pollutes our water resources and creates undesirable nuisances for communities?  Or, is manure a “Resource” that reduces the demand inorganic fertilizers and improves the health of our soils? 

Wet Bales Can Tip the Scales

The past few months, we’ve been focusing quite a bit on the issues that can arise when hay gets a bit too wet: combustion, mold, and Maillard reactions.  One often overlooked issue that can arise from wet hay is just the moisture itself. 

Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP)

Nebraska USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) is reminding livestock producers of an approaching deadline for the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP). Producers who filed a LIP Notice of Loss with FSA for livestock losses due to natural disaster in 2019 have until Monday, March 2, to supply appropriate supporting paperwork and complete the application for payment, if they haven’t done so already.

Principles for Care and Management of the Cow and Calf at Calving

In this roundtable podcast, the veterinary team at the Great Plains Veterinary Educational Center discusses calving principles that producers can use to enhance their care and management of both cow and calf.

Winter Nutrition: Are You Staying Ahead or Getting Behind?

As winter progresses, winter nutrition and increased environmental stress on cows may concern many cow-calf producers. Winter nutritional management affects not only the profitability of a beef cowherd, but also the future performance of the cow and her offspring. With that in mind, building a nutritional program for a cow-calf system requires understanding nutritional requirements, knowing the “stress periods” that can happen, and knowing the quality and quantity of your forage resources. 

UNL Beef Roundup Webinars January 21 and 28

Nutrition, profitability, and health are the themes of the 2020 University of Nebraska-Lincoln Beef Roundup hosted by Nebraska Extension on Tuesday, January 21, and Tuesday, January 28, at 6pm MST (7pm CST). This series features topic experts from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Kansas State University. Each evening features two presentations that can be viewed from any location with internet access or at several locations across Nebraska. Sites and registration information is listed below.

Nebraska Extension Offering Land Application Training in January and February

map showing manure benefits
Which field benefits the most from manure? Participants combine personal experiences and management principles to identify preferred fields for receiving manure.

Livestock producers with livestock waste control facility permits received or renewed since April 1998 must be certified, and farms must complete an approved training every five years.

University of Nebraska Lincoln Extension Beef Economics Team Annual Beef Heifer Replacement Forecasts for the 2019 – 2020 Production Season (Summary Briefing)

What is a respectable value of a beef replacement heifer for the coming 2019-2020 production season? This can be a complicated choice, but a vital one that requires some clear thinking. It is important to have a handle on this value since future prosperity partially depends on it. Pay too much and future profits and net worth will suffer. Non-participation in the market is not likely to be an option since cow numbers are necessary to maintain productivity.

Use the Numbers (correctly) this Bull Sale Season

This bull sale season, profit-minded cattle producers will utilize expected progeny differences (EPD) and economic selection indices when selecting their next group of bulls. These tools are far more accurate at predicting the average difference in offspring than visual appraisal or actual weights. This is beyond contestation.

Differences Between High-, Medium-, and Low-Profit Cow-Calf Producers: An Analysis of 2014-2018 Kansas Farm Management Association Cow-Calf Enterprise – A Review

This study by Whitney Bowman, Dustin L. Pendell Ph.D. and Kevin L. Herbel can be found at the Kansas State University AgManager.info website. Review and summary by Aaron Berger, Nebraska Extension Educator.

West Central Cattlemen’s Day Series Offered at Seven Locations

Nebraska Extension will be hosting a series of winter meetings for cattle producers in seven locations across western Nebraska. The program is designed to help producers evaluate management practices that could improve their bottom line. Extension Specialists and Educators will discuss a variety of topics including heifer development, nutritional considerations during cold weather, benchmarking and measuring costs, considerations for retained ownership, parasite control, and more.

Dates and locations include: 

Manure: Waste or Valuable Agricultural Resource?

Is manure a Waste or Resource?

Stories about manure often illustrate two opposing sentiments. Is manure a “Waste” that pollutes our water resources and creates undesirable nuisances for communities?  Or, is manure a “Resource” that reduces the demand for importing greenhouse gas intensive inorganic fertilizers and improves the health of our soils? 

Burning Your Bottom Line: How Hot Hay Changes Forage Quality

Hay put up too wet can lead to a number of issues, most notably mold and heat.  Moisture keeps otherwise dormant microbes and fungi active, decreasing forage quality and creating heat.  Too much heat can actually create a risk of combustion. 

New Cow-Calf Budgets Available for Nebraska

As a part of the UNL multidisciplinary Beef Systems Initiative and a complementary project funded by the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR), five geographically identified Nebraska producer panels were formed to provide input and feedback on University research and extension projects involving integrated beef systems. These panels have met a combined eight times over the last two years. One of the tasks being worked on is the development of representative cow-calf enterprise budgets for typical cow-calf herds in different geographic regions across the state.

Soybean Stubble for Cows

After soybeans are harvested, cows sometimes are put out on the residues to graze.  Some bean residues are even baled.  But how good is this feed? 

We’re all familiar with the usefulness of grazing corn stalks, but I see more and more residue from soybean fields grazed every year.  Cows seem to like licking up what’s left behind after combining.  But frankly, I’m a little concerned that some folks may think their cows are getting more from those soybean residues than what truly is there.

Are You a Great Person to Work For?

In a recent conversation with a ranch owner, he said they were once again looking for an employee for their operation.  It was also mentioned that employee resignations seem to be a pattern.  He then said, almost tongue in cheek, “I couldn’t be part of the problem with this situation, could I?” 

Early Low Temperatures May Impact Sugar Beet Quality

Temperatures dropping below 15 degrees in early October may have put some sugar beets in western Nebraska at risk of decaying at the crown. When decay begins in the beet before it can be processed, it makes the beet unacceptable for sugar production for human consumption.

Do Your Herd and Your Bank Account a Favor - Test Your Hay!

Every year I get calls for help with balancing rations and most don’t have a hay analysis. All hay of the same species is NOT created equal.  For instance, smooth bromegrass hay can range from 48 to 58% total digestible nutrients (TDN) with crude protein (CP) ranging from 6 to 11% CP. This can be the difference between a growing heifer losing 0.25 lb/d or gaining 0.37 lb/d. If you were targeting the heifer gaining 1 lb/d you would need to supplement between 1.5 and 3 lb/d of dried distillers to reach this goal.

Improving the Bottom-line of Breeding: Three State Beef Conference

In a joint effort, Nebraska, Missouri and Iowa Extension are hosting three meetings to address how to set up an economical and successful breeding season. The registration fee is $25 per person. It includes a meal and a copy of the conference proceedings.

Presentations include:

Pre-calving nutritional strategies: Am I staying ahead or getting behind?
Dr. Travis Mulliniks, Range Cow Nutritionist, University of Nebraska

2019 Women Managing Agricultural Land Conference

Female agriculture landowners, farmers and ranchers, and industry professionals looking to increase their business management skills are encouraged to register for the 2019 Women Managing Agricultural Land conference.  The conference will be held Dec. 11 at Nebraska Innovation Campus, 2021 Transformation Drive in Lincoln.

“Know Your Numbers, Know Your Options”

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

Cattle Risk Management Workshop Offered on December 9, 2019

Nebraska Extension will be hosting a risk management workshop for cattle producers on Monday, December 9, 2019 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. CT at the Tumbleweed Cafe meeting room. Cattle producers will learn strategies designed to reduce risk exposure to achieve a profitable outcome in uncertain times. Topics covered during the workshop include marketing tools available to protect against unfavorable price declines, programs for protecting against weather related forage losses, and current issues facing the cattle industry. 

Considerations for Temporary Fence Around Cropland

Grazing crop residues is a great way to reduce winter feed costs. However, producers may run into one major issue with crop land – how does one keep cattle contained especially if the fence is only to be temporary?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

“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.

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.

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.

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