BeefWatch Articles from All

BeefWatch Articles from All

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.

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.

Timing Manure Application to Avoid Neighbor Nuisances

Roughly half of all neighbor complaints of livestock odors originate from land application of manure. A weather forecast and a little knowledge of odor dilution can be a powerful tool for keeping your neighbors happy, or at least avoiding those irate phone calls. This article summarizes those weather conditions that should be considered when planning manure application.

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.

Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) Focus on Transportation

Transportation plays an important role in cattle production. The majority of cattle in the United States have been transported with a stock trailer or semi cattle truck at least once in their life time.

Data on transportation was collected in the 2016 National Beef Quality Audits for both fed cattle and market cows/bulls being moved to harvest facilities.

2018 Nebraska Cow-Calf Pair and Stocker Rental Rates

Recent findings published from the Nebraska Farm Real Estate Market Highlights 2017-2018 indicate changes in cow-calf and stocker monthly rental rates were mixed when compared to 2017 (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.

Using Artificial Insemination in a Commercial Cow Herd – A Producer's Perspective

Artificial insemination (AI) provides the opportunity for cow-calf producers to use elite genetics. In this BeefWatch Producer Perspective Podcast, Shannon Sims who is part of a family ranch operation from McFadden, Wyoming, discusses how they utilize AI in their cowherd.

Starting Newly Weaned Calves on Feed

Proper management during the receiving phase is critical to overall health and long-term performance of cattle in the feedlot. Newly weaned calves are faced with the stress of separation from the cow, deprivation of feed and water during transportation, and adaptation to the feedlot environment. Whether calves are being introduced into a backgrounding or finishing program, implementing low-stress management practices to ensure this is a smooth transition for incoming calves becomes a major priority.

Heat Stress: Handling Cattle Through High Heat Humidity Indexes

As cattlemen enter the summer months, they need to understand and deal with heat and humidity. We need to consider some guidelines to help us reduce additional stress on cattle during these events and incorporate some of the following practices into our management practices.

Beef Improvement Federation Meeting Summary

The 2018 Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) meetings were recently held in Loveland, CO, with over 600 people in attendance. This year’s meeting marked the 50th anniversary of BIF. With this milestone came an opportunity to reflect back on accomplishments made and given thought relative to the direction of activities going forward. One opportunity that was raised throughout several talks during the meeting was the need to collect phenotypes that are economically relevant but have largely only been collected in research settings.

Grazing Trampled Grass

How should you graze regrowth in pastures that had tall growth trampled during a previous grazing? I don’t know but I have some ideas.

Grass growth got away from many of us Nebraskans this spring. For some reason the rainfall and temperatures and sunshine all combined to quickly produce so much tall grass that cattle couldn’t eat fast enough.

Mixed Seeding of Winter and Non-winter Hardy Annual Forages

August to early September is a time when some producers are planting various annual forages or cover crop mixtures for fall forage. This typically includes non-winter hardy small grain cereals such as oats and spring varieties of triticale, barley, or wheat. Brassicas such as turnips, rape, or kale can be mixed with these small grain cereal grasses. Most brassicas have high energy content even when mature and tend to maintain their quality later into the winter than the small grain cereal grasses.

Accounting for Agriculture: Federal Withholding after New Tax Bill

The new US tax bill is in full effect. While we wait for the IRS to provide a full interpretation, we do have more information on some sections. One in particular that has some tax preparers nervous for their clients is federal withholding. With the higher standard deduction and changes in child credits, taxpayers may need to reconsider how much to withhold for federal taxes in each pay period.

Livestock Risk Protection (LRP) Insurance Performance 2008-2017

Livestock producers have many of the same risk management insurance needs as crop producers. Price and market uncertainties pose a significant risk to cattle producers with a substantial amount of money invested in breeding livestock, land, and other infrastructure. Price protection through the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) futures contracts can introduce financial burdens in the form of margin calls and may not be a good option for many smaller-scale producers.

Increasing Retention of May Calving 2-Year Old Heifers in the Cowherd

Across the Great Plains the end of summer generally brings hot and dry conditions to the region. Both warm and cool season grasses begin to mature and decline in forage quality by late July and August. This decrease in diet quality can present challenges for the May calving heifer, who is still growing and nursing her first calf. The breeding season for May calving cows starts in late July and August.

Managing Dust in Open Beef Feedlots

Open cattle feedlots combined with hot and drier summer conditions can often times lead to periods of increased dust issues that can become a nuisance. Observations suggest that the worst time for dust to develop is during the late afternoon and at dusk when the temperature begins to drop and wind speed decreases. This is when cattle that have been resting during the hotter part of the day, become more active. This activity creates increased dust that hangs in the cooler evening air.

Late Summer Calving Cows and Cornstalks – 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 grazing summer born calves on cornstalks with their dams and compared that to feeding pairs in a dry lot.

Common Mullein, an Invasive Weed on Nebraska’s Horizon

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

Can I Irrigate Animal Manures On Growing Crops?

The high rainfalls experienced in recent weeks have left many feedlot holding ponds full and operators looking for irrigation options for applying animal manure during the growing season. This article focuses on important considerations for application of open lot holding pond effluent and diluted manures during the growing season without damaging the crop. Three take home messages from this article include:

Drought-stressed Corn: A Feed Opportunity

The game of “what-if” can be tricky. What if the corn crop becomes drought damaged this year? Am I prepared to utilize this forage? Drought-stressed corn will start to wilt and roll its leaves. If drought occurs for four days during the silking and pollination period, the early reproductive stages of the corn plant, as much as 40-50% drop in yield can occur. Cattle producers looking to make use of the drought-stressed corn may harvest it for forage but it should be done with a few considerations.

Managing Windrow Disease in Alfalfa

Rained-on hay plagues all of us eventually. This year maybe more than usual. The 'windrow disease' that often follows presents lingering problems.

Windrow disease — that’s the name I give to the striped appearance in fields where alfalfa windrows remained so long that regrowth was delayed. Usually it’s due to rained on hay and sometimes, insects.

Pricing Field Peas as a Protein Supplement for Beef Cattle

Field peas are a popular crop included in wheat rotations in western Nebraska and eastern Wyoming and Colorado because they contribute nitrogen to the soil and naturally break up weed and pest cycles. Field peas are normally sold for human consumption and utilized in the pet food industry. However, when they are rejected for human consumption and the pet food market is saturated, the field pea grower needs to find an alternative market for the crop.

Nebraska BQA: The Right Way Is The Only Way!

Nebraska is the epicenter of the beef cattle community. Nebraska beef cattle producers are the Nation’s leaders and produce top quality beef for today’s consumers. When it comes to running a strong cattle operation, they do things the right way. Nebraska Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) is here to help with the training and certification to build more value into your operation.

Learning on the “Go” with Podcasts!

Progressive ranchers and farmers committed to lifelong learning often find podcasts as a way to expand their knowledge base while using time effectively. For a majority of people involved in production agriculture, a significant amount of time is spent behind the wheel of a vehicle or piece of equipment. This “drive time” can be an opportunity to listen to podcasts through using smartphone technology.

Weighing the Costs and Benefits of Preconditioning

Cow-calf producers have the option of preconditioning calves at weaning to improve health status and ultimately add value to their calf crop. Preconditioning programs can vary greatly from one operation to another but share the common goal of preparing calves for the next phase of production. The preconditioning period is typically a minimum of 45 days and includes a nutritional program, health protocol, and series of management strategies designed to minimize stress and boost the immune system of the newly weaned calf.

Dry Lotting Cow-calf Pairs as an Alternative to Summer Grass – A Producer's Perspective

In this month's BeefWatch Producer Perspective Podcast, Alex Wiese, who is part of a family owned and operated farm near Newman Grove, shares how he has started a cow-calf enterprise as part of his family's operation. In the podcast Alex shares management practices and techniques he is using to dry lot cow-calf pairs through the summer.

A “New” Invasive Weed - Absinth Wormwood

The Sandhills have a “new” invasive weed — absinth wormwood. This weed is on Colorado, North Dakota, and South Dakota’s noxious weed list. However, absinth wormwood was absent in Nebraska until a few years ago. Now absinth wormwood has been identified in over 15 counties in Nebraska, including several counties in the Sandhills.

Implant Strategies for Calf-Fed Steers: Is Bigger Always Better?

This is a review of two research studies conducted at the University of Nebraska that evaluated the impact of initial implant program on performance and carcass characteristics of calf-fed steers.

Nutrition at Conception and Early Gestation Influences Gene Expression

Research continues to demonstrate the impact of maternal nutrition on the developing fetus in beef cattle. A recent study at North Dakota State University with yearling beef heifers in early pregnancy examined and compared two groups of heifers that were managed the same prior to breeding, but after breeding were assigned to different levels of nutrition.

Precipitation Risk Management for Annual Forages

The Annual Forage Insurance Plan offers an opportunity to manage precipitation risk.

New Genetic Evaluation Released by the American Simmental Association

The American Simmental Association (ASA) recently released a new genetic evaluation that includes multiple changes that seedstock and commercial producers alike should be aware of. Although there were changes to the entire suite of EPD, examples of key changes are listed below.

Precipitation Risk Management for Annual Forages – New NebGuide Released

Drs. Jay Parsons, Jerry Volesky and Extension Educator Aaron Berger recently released a new NebGuide titled Precipitation Risk Management for Annual Forages.

How Are They Shedding?

Research has shown that calves from cows that shed their winter hair coat earlier tend to weigh more at weaning.

Wait! Wait! Is Your Pasture Ready to Graze?

To prevent damaging forage production, grass needs a head start to grow leaves and replace the resources used to grow leaves before grazing.

Nebraska BQA: Handling Animal Health Products

As the beef cattle industry focuses on stewardship in animal health and antimicrobial use, we are continually reminded to follow FDA Labels on all animal products. We understand the importance of strong vaccination programs, proper diagnosis and treatment, and the good stockmanship when handling livestock.

How Good Accounting Practices Aid Decision Making

Allocating costs is a tool used to assist in financial and managerial decision making within your operation.

Implanting the Suckling Calf

As branding season approaches, consider using calfhood implants as a management strategy to maximize returns.

Should You Creep Feed Your Calves This Summer?

Creep feeding must be carefully appraised in view of economics of cost of gain, potential market, and the influence on sale price of the calves.

A Reminder about Forage Intake in the Nursing Calf Raised in a Limit Fed Confinement System

As grass leases continue to get harder to find and more expensive to acquire, and drought continues to threaten the Great Plains, cow/calf producers are showing more and more interest in feeding pairs in a confinement system.

Four Webinars on Genetic Selection Tools for Cattle Producers now Available

As part of the National Cattlemens' Beef Association webinar series, the eBEEF team conducted four webinars in the spring of 2018 focused on genetic selection tools available to beef cattle producers and how to put them into practice. The first webinar, "Fake News: EPDs don't work", focused on the fundamental principles of EPDs and common misconceptions. Examples include the differences between birth weight and calving ease EPD, what "milk" EPD really is, and the perception that "more is better".

Characteristics of Top Agricultural Business Managers

In this month's BeefWatch Producer Perspective Podcast, Dr. Danny Klinefelter who is a retired agricultural economics and professor from Texas A&M University shares about The Executive Program for Agricultural Producers (TEPAP) which is a designed for ag business owners and managers looking to develop their skills.

Topics discussed include:

Controlling Horn Flies on Pastured Cattle

Pasture fly season is approaching and now is the time to evaluate your horn fly management plan for the 2018 grazing season. First, re-evaluate last year’s plan. Did it provide adequate fly control?

Dryland Pastures for Western Nebraska

Planting perennial grasses on marginal dryland cropping areas has long been recommended as a sound conservation practice. Planting perennial grasses for conservation also may provide opportunities to increase livestock production.

Dry, Wet, or Average: Planning for the Grazing 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. In 2017, many areas in the state experienced dry conditions during the month of June and some areas were very dry during both June and July.

Manure's Impact on Yield, Nitrogen, and Carbon

Manure is often viewed by many as an environmental liability. However, if manure is applied at rates equal to or less than the nitrogen (N) requirement of a crop, can manure produce environmental benefits over commercial fertilizer?

Stretching Grass while Maintaining Cattle in the Pasture

As drought conditions worsen through a large portion of the Great Plains, many beef cattle producers are starting to evaluate ways to stretch forage resources potentially in jeopardy.

Calculating Forage Demand and Forage Availability

A common conversation I have with producers usually goes something like this, “I’m renting out 50 acres to my neighbor who wants to run 30 cows on it, does that sound about right to you?” This is a perfectly legitimate question, however, more details are needed on both the cattle and the pasture to fully answer this question. 

Injectable Trace Mineral did not Influence Reproductive Performance in Beef Heifers

Many producers provide a free-choice trace mineral to grazing cattle throughout the year. Trace minerals have been shown to have an essential role in reproduction. When a free-choice trace mineral supplement is provided, some individual animals will consume more than the recommended amount, while others may consume none at all.

Grass Tetany Considerations with a Late Spring

The cool spring followed by a quick warm up could make for the perfect storm. Grass tetany usually occurs in the spring when cool weather is followed by a warm period. It is typically seen in early lactation cows grazing cool-season grasses during cool, cloudy, and rainy weather. 

Capturing Value in Cropping Systems Using Cattle

The University of Nebraska is conducting research around the idea of integrating cattle and cropping systems to best use the resources in Eastern Nebraska. Recently, a field day was held at ENREC (formerly ARDC) near Mead to showcase this work.  The proceedings for the field day are available at https://go.unl.edu/2018capturingvalueresources.

Using Annual Forages as Part of the Feed Resource for the Ranch – A Producer's Perspective

In this month's BeefWatch Producer Perspective Podcast, Brian Sprenger who is part of a family owned and operated ranch near Sidney shares how his family utilizes annual forages as grazing resource. Some of the topics that Brian discusses in the interview include:

Differences Between High-, Medium-, and Low-Profit Cow-Calf Producers: An Analysis of 2012-2016 Kansas Farm Management Association Cow-Calf Enterprise

Producers who aggressively controlled costs while producing more pounds of calf to sell per cow than their competitors were the most profitable.

Plan for Drought When Preparing Pasture Lease

Do you rent pasture? What happens if drought lowers pasture production below expectations? Specifically, what does your pasture lease say about drought?

It’s hard to think about drought in mid-winter but drought can play havoc on pasture leases. All too often, pasture leases fail to include an appropriate plan to adjust to this problem.

Economics of Producing Forage on Cropland

Current corn prices coupled with reduced perennial pasture availability have producers asking questions about the economics of using cropland to produce forage for cow/calf production. This was the subject of a webinar offered by Nebraska Extension on the evening of February 13.

Estrus Synchronization Protocols

Estrus synchronization optimizes labor and time, and improves the ease of using artificial insemination (AI) (Lamb et al., 2009). Use of AI allows access to superior genetics, accelerates genetic change within a herd, and is frequently less expensive than natural service (Johnson and Jones, 2004). Synchronized females 1) exhibit estrus at a controlled time, 2) have increased calf uniformity, 3) calve earlier in the season, and 4) wean calves that are older and heavier (Perry, 2004).

Estrus Synchronization Products

Estrus synchronization can lead to an increased proportion of females conceiving earlier in the calving season and will wean older and larger calves at weaning.

Colostrum Helps Newborn Calves

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.

Using Early Season Forage Growth – Is There Enough for Growing, Calving Heifers?

As spring approaches most producers are anxious to get cows out of the lot and make use of early spring grazing. While there are certainly some advantages to sending pairs out into fresh air and wide open spaces, there are some forage availability and diet quality considerations producers need to evaluate.

Utilizing Annual Forages as part of a Diversified Production System – A Producer's Perspective

In this month's BeefWatch Producer Perspective Podcast, the Peterson family who own and operate Plum Thicket Farms near Gordon share how they utilize annual forages as part of their diversified crop and cattle operation. Some of the topics that the Peterson family discusses in the interview include:

Changes to National Cattle Evaluation Benefits Bulls Buyers in 2018

National Cattle Evaluation has never been static, and future changes are inevitable as science continues to advance.

Prepartum Nutrition

Recent research has shown maternal nutrition during late gestation can have lasting impacts on calf health, growth, and performance postnatally. These impacts can include improved weaning weights, yearling weights, and marbling scores of progeny.

Across-breed EPD Adjustment Factor Updates

Since 1993, the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (USMARC) has produced a table of factors to adjust Expected Progeny Differences (EPDs) so that the genetic merit of individual animals can be compared across breeds. These adjustment factors are needed because EPDs published by one breed are inherently not comparable to those published by another breed.

Ammonia Loss and Emission Reporting: Considerations for Cattle Operations

A resource reality of cattle production is that only 10-30% of the nitrogen (N) that is consumed (i.e. fed protein) is utilized by animals for growth, reproduction, milk production, and maintenance needs. Unused N is excreted, primarily in urine. Nitrogen is an essential, valuable plant nutrient, so recycling of N is highly desirable and occurs when urine and feces are applied directly onto soil in a pasture, range or other grazing scenario, or collected manure is applied to cropland.

Adding a Sheep Enterprise to a Cow-Calf Operation – A Producer's Perspective

In this month's BeefWatch Producer Perspective Podcast, Brock Terrell from Hay Springs shares how his family added a sheep enterprise to their operation. Some of the topics that Brock discusses in the interview include:

What is the Economic Value of Beef Manure?

Manure has value. That value may result from improvements in soil quality, increases in yield, and replacement of commercial nutrient required for crop production.

Research Demonstrates the Resilience of Sandhills Grassland to Wildfire

The Nebraska Sandhills are often viewed as an ecosystem vulnerable to erosion of the sandy soil dunes following the reduction of aboveground vegetation. When vegetation is removed, the wind is free to move the sand particles, hindering vegetation recovery. The potential for this to occur is evident at a small-scale in the form of blowouts that act as a reminder of the long-term impacts of vegetation removal.

Mineral Supplementation Changes When Feeding Distillers Grains

Providing the right type of mineral with diets containing distillers can alleviate potential health problems and often times be more cost effective as well.

Where’s Optimum?

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

Interpreting Forage Quality of Grass Hay

Have you ever tested the quality of your grass hay and been disappointed at the low relative feed value? Well, maybe your worry is unnecessary. Farmers and ranchers often tell me their prairie hay or cane hay or other grass hay looks really good but when a lab tested it the relative feed value, also called RFV, was surprisingly low, maybe in the 70s or 80s. So what’s wrong with the hay?

Remove Net Wrap and Twine

Is twine or net wrap good feed? Obviously not, but it can cause health problems if animals eat too much of it. Feeding hay is work. To lighten the work load feeding hay, we often take short cuts and leave some twine or net wrap on the bales. Whether we want them to or not, animals eat some of that twine.

Cow-Calf Cost Breakdown – Breeding Expense

A critical component of the cow-calf business is reproduction. Getting cows or heifers pregnant comes with the cost of breeding expense. The fourth largest expense for many cow-calf operations is breeding expense.

Cow-Calf Cost Breakdown – Labor and Equipment

An economic analysis of annual cow costs in Nebraska shows labor together with owning and operating equipment is often the second or third largest expense to the cowherd.

Pasture and Grass Hayland Grubs

There have been several inquiries from landowners in central Nebraska concerning damage to pasture and hay meadows from grubs. Affected areas have included subirrigated meadows in the Sandhills and Platte River valley and other pasture sites that are dominated by smooth bromegrass or Kentucky bluegrass.

Estimate Corn on the Ground Prior to Grazing Cornstalks

Prior to grazing cornstalks with cattle, an estimate should be made of the amount of corn that is present in the field. The UNL Extension Circular EC 287 Grazing Crop Residues with Beef Cattle provides information on a simple method for estimating the bushels of corn that are on the ground.

Meeting the Nutrient Demands of Cows Grazing Cornstalks

As fall harvest comes to a close many cows will be turned out on cornstalks to graze the crop residue left after harvest for the winter. This can be an economical forage resource for many producers. Keeping feed costs low while maintaining production is an important part of profitability. Knowing the nutrient needs of cows is key to knowing what supplementation strategy is necessary.

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.

Wintering Growing Calves Using Corn Residue: The Value of Bypass Protein

Corn residue is an outstanding forage resource for wintering cows, but is also an option for backgrounding calves or growing heifers. Given the typical rental rates for corn residue and the cost of distillers’ grains, these two feed resources together make one of the lowest cost growing rations. To understand why distillers’ grains are such a good supplement for growing calves, one must first understand a little about how protein is used in ruminant animals.

Manure Impact on Erosion and Runoff

Can manure be part of the solution for the erosion in this photo?

Choosing a Method for Pregnancy Diagnosis

Previous research has shown the benefit of pregnancy diagnosis and how it adds to a producer’s bottom line. Keeping one cow over winter can cost $100-$200 in feed and supplements so removing open cows can help decrease winter feed costs.

Stockpiling Manure and Biosolids

Manure, litter or other biosolids originating from feedlots, poultry houses, municipal waste treatment systems or industry sources are often stockpiled at the edge of a field to be readily available for land application when field conditions permit entry, such as after crops have been harvested. Selecting an appropriate place to stockpile these materials is important to minimize risks to surface and ground water and to avoid potential nuisance issues for neighbors.

Comparing 2 Development Systems for March and May-born Heifers

Previous studies have indicated heifers developed to less than 65% of mature weight have comparable reproductive performance to heifers developed in higher input systems. This study determined how heifer development system impacted subsequent growth and reproductive performance in March and May-born replacement heifers.

Cow-Calf Cost Breakdown – Cow Depreciation

Cow depreciation is frequently the second or third largest expense to the cow-calf enterprise after feed. Depreciation is a non-cash expense that is often overlooked by cow-calf producers.

Depreciation for a cow is calculated as the following:

Purchase Price or Replacement Cost – Salvage Value/Productive Years in the Herd

To demonstrate how significant this expense can be, examine an example of current bred replacement heifer prices against today's cull cow values.

Fall Cattle Louse Treatments

As livestock producers start planning for fall weaning, pregnancy observation, and vaccinations they often will apply an endectocide treatment for internal and external parasites such as cattle lice. While this practice is efficacious for most internal parasites and horn flies, it does not always completely control a cattle louse problem. Cattle lice are a cold weather insect, thriving during wintery conditions. During summer months cattle lice undergo a process called estivation (a period of dormancy) when their reproduction is reduced significantly.

Managing Common Mullein

Common mullein is becoming an increasing concern to grassland managers as the aggressive forb spreads from old fields, abused areas, and rights-of-way to grasslands. Woolly leaves complicate control by discouraging grazers and obstructing herbicide contact. Although seeds are not produced until the second growing season (the first year’s growth is only a vegetative rosette and does not produce a stalk or seed head), this yellowed flowered biennial is a prolific seed producer with each plant producing over 175,000 seeds and each seed remaining viable for over 100 years.

Pasture Grown After Rain

Today let’s play a little game of ‘what if’. As in ‘what if it rains enough this fall for your pastures and hay meadows to green up and grow’. Should you graze?

Nutritional Management of Gestating Spring-calving Cows Grazing Dormant Upland Pastures

As we progress into the fall and winter months, forage quality in dormant upland pastures will be low while nutrient requirements of spring-calving range cows will increase.

Management of Non-Pregnant Cows

Traditional practice has been to cull an open beef female after pregnancy diagnosis to avoid additional feed and labor costs on a non-productive animal. Frequently, cull cows are sold into slaughter in the fall when cull cow inventory is highest and prices are lowest.

Manure Impact on Soil Aggregation

Manure increases formation of larger (macro) and more stable soil aggregates.  Several benefits result for fields fertilized by manure compared to commercial fertilizer including:

Cow-Calf Cost Breakdown – Feed Cost

An economic analysis of annual cow costs in Nebraska shows that feed cost represents approximately 40-70% of all costs when labor and depreciation are included. An economic analysis values owned pasture and raised feed at market value. The cows are asked to pay fair market value for both grazed and fed feed. When pasture, cornstalks and hay are calculated in at market value, feed costs for the cow herd can easily be north of $550 per cow.

Nebraska BQA: Preconditioning and Weaning Preparation

Cow-calf producers are nearing weaning time of their 2017 calf crop, with current market and industry trends, producers should be considering and preparing for preconditioning or weaning programs. It is important to consider the best programs for the health of calves during these stressful periods and into the feeding phases.

Make Informed Range and Pasture Management Decisions

Planning and monitoring are often underutilized tools in range and pasture management. Growing and harvesting forage with livestock is the foundation of a ranch business and development of a written plan increases your ability to effectively manage your resources. A written management plan details the steps needed to achieve specific goals and objectives you identify for your operation including the management of forage resources.

Silage Considerations

Silage time has arrived for many producers. Some producers have been forced to put up silage due to hail but many are considering silage over grain based on economical beef production when feeding silage. Here are some key considerations for beef producers to consider before and during use of silage in their operation.

Consistency is Key to Proper Feed Bunk Management

Proper bunk management is the art of matching feed deliveries to the amount of feed cattle need for optimal performance. Underfeeding cattle results in poor gains and feed efficiency, longer days on feed, and reduced carcass quality.

Evaluation of the Value of Fiber in Distillers Grains plus Solubles on Performance of Finishing Cattle

Distillers grains are a common component in finishing diets in Nebraska. Their inclusion has resulted in improved performance while also improving cost of production. Recently, ethanol plants have been removing fiber components and corn oil, thus changing the composition of the available distillers grains.

Feeding Dried Distillers Grains on the Ground or in a Bunk – How Much Loss Occurs?

This article is a summary of the 2012 Nebraska Beef Cattle Report “Comparison of Feeding Dry Distillers Grains in a Bunk or on the Ground to Cattle Grazing Subirrigated Meadow”. Jacqueline A. Musgrave, L. Aaron Stalker, Terry J. Klopfenstein and Jerry D. Volesky were collaborators on this research study and report. The report is summarized by Aaron Berger, Nebraska Extension Beef Educator.

Effect of Feeding Distillers Grains and Supplementing with Dietary Antioxidants on Ground Beef Shelf Life and Fatty Acid Profile

The following article is a summary of research conducted by University of Nebraska meat scientists evaluating dietary impacts on ground beef shelf life and fatty acid profile. The original article can be found in the 2016 Nebraska Beef Report pages 164-166.

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