BeefWatch Articles from All

BeefWatch Articles from All

Registration Opens for 2021 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 2021 Nebraska Ranch Practicum offered by Nebraska Extension.

Extension Study Seeks Ranchers’ Input on Grassland Conservation Programs

A newly launched survey by Nebraska Extension seeks ranchers’ input on the design of grassland conservation programs in the state. The survey, a partnership among Nebraska Extension, Nebraska Cattlemen's, Nebraska Grazing Lands Coalition, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, and the University of Nebraska, is a targeted effort to get feedback directly from the ranchers in the state.  

2021 Feedlot Roundtable Webinars

The 2021 Beef Feedlot Roundtable presentations are now available on the Beef Webinars page.

Beef feedlot managers, owners, employees and allied industries will learn new information related to feedlot management at Nebraska Extension’s 2021 Beef Feedlot Roundtables via webinar in February and March.

Grazing and Forage Management During and After Drought

Winter is a good time of year to begin making grazing and forage plans for the upcoming season. Of course, there can be a tremendous amount of uncertainty on what type of growing conditions we will see in the spring and summer. This is especially true if we had droughty conditions the previous summer or little fall and winter precipitation.

Calving Season – Not the Time to Skimp on Nutrition

The 2020 drought across the Great Plains has made hay scarce for many producers. Additionally, the pandemic has affected oil prices which in turn has impacted ethanol production and subsequently reduced the supply of distillers grains, a supplementation staple for many beef producers in the region. This tight feed supply may have resulted in pregnant cows entering the calving season with little to no extra body condition reserves.

Winter Interseeding Legumes

From a forage perspective, winter is typically a time for using the resources we have on hand and planning ahead to next year’s growing season.  However, there may be some opportunity to take this time to improve your pasture with some alternative legume seeding options.

Improvements to Livestock Risk Protection Insurance Implemented in January 2021.

After remaining relatively unchanged since inception in 2002, several enhancements and improvements to the Livestock Risk Protection (LRP) insurance program have taken place over the last 18 months.  Several changes that affect the cattle industry took effect on January 20, 2021.

They include:

Sandhills Rangeland Monitoring Cooperative (SRMC) Hosts Rangeland Monitoring Webinar February 25th

The SRMC is a collaborative project between UNL Extension, USDA-NRCS, and cattle producers in the Sandhills of Nebraska. The SRMC conducts and evaluates monitoring data on a growing number of ranches in the Nebraska Sandhills, connecting ranchers, range managers, scientists, and the public in a network of knowledge exchange relating to rangeland health and management.

Managing for Heterogeneity on Rangelands in the Nebraska Sandhills

The Nebraska Sandhills is one of the most intact grasslands in the Great Plains of North America. The topography and soil substrate of the Sandhills has limited farming development and allowed for this region to be one of the prime native working landscapes for cattle production in the United States. While range managers use the Sandhill’s nutrient rich forage for grazing to support livestock, pride is also taken in the abundant wildlife and plant habitat this ecosystem provides.

How Valuabull?

The spring bull sale season is underway.  Catalogs are being studied, EPDs and individual animal performance numbers are being compared, and choices are being made as to which bulls will be the next herd sires. One of the primary drivers in the choice of which bull will be bought is the bull’s price. The perceived breeding value and the expected value of a bull’s offspring are evaluated by the potential purchaser and compared to the bull’s price. As long as the perceived value the bull is expected to bring to the operation exceeds the bull’s cost then the bidding continues.

Calving Management and Reducing Calf Losses in Beef Herds

Factors Causing Calving Difficulty 

Will Seasonality Patterns for Beef Export Sales and Commitments Hold in 2021?

This article was first published by In the Cattle Markets

Trade occurs when price differences between the two locations are large enough after accounting for transportation cost, exchange rates, tariffs, etc. Exports vary throughout the year since prices reflect current and future supply and demand situations. Seasonality in cattle production, meat demand, and market disruptions are some examples of why wholesale beef prices increase and decrease within a year.

February 2021 Beefwatch Webinar Series Registration Now Open

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

Considerations for Maintaining Condition in Breeding Bulls during Winter

For bulls coming out of the breeding season, body weight loss may have occurred, and we need to make sure that we get bulls back in condition before the next season. Also, with the weather starting to change, starting to think about how we are going to manage our breeding bulls through the winter to prepare them for the next breeding season will be important. This will be a good time to evaluate body condition and ensure that bulls have adequate protection from harsh weather.

The Livestock Indemnity Program Year-end Updates

This article is a summary of the December 10, 2020 Cornhusker Economics article titled: “The Livestock Indemnity Program: A Case for Managing Risk with Good Recordkeeping.”

The Likelihood of Regional Triggers Under the Industry’s Proposed '75% Rule'

This article was first published by In the Cattle Markets.

The New Face at Nebraska BQA

Jesse Fulton

Adding Sheep to a Cattle Operation in central Nebraska - A Producer’s Perspective

Multi-species grazing can be an option to more fully utilize grazing resources. In this month’s BeefWatch Producer Perspective Podcast, Jim Jenkins from Custer County, Nebraska discusses why he made the decision to add a band of sheep to his operation and the opportunities he sees for sheep to complement cattle in Nebraska.

Topics discussed include:

January 2021 Beefwatch Webinar Series Registration Now Open

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

Making Dollars out of Decisions: Three State Beef Conference

In a joint effort, Nebraska, Iowa, and Missouri Extension are hosting a free three day webinar series in January to address how producers can capture the economic value of decisions. Each webinar will begin at 7:00 PM Central Time and will last for about an hour. Registration includes all three webinars.

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

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

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

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

What facilities need to be inspected?

Winter Tetany in Beef Cattle

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

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

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

December 2020 Beefwatch Webinar Series Registration Now Open

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

Great Plains Veterinary Educational Center - Meet the Faculty

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

Crop Residue Exchange Links Available Residue with Cattle Producers

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

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

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

Common Mullein and Cheatgrass Control in Rangeland

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

Beef Profit Tips Programs for 2020

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

Things to Consider before Harvesting a Market Animal at Home

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

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

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

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

2020 Applied Reproductive Strategies in Beef Cattle Webinar Series

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

November 2020 Beefwatch Webinar Series Registration Now Open

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

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

Grazing Alfalfa in Fall or Winter

KEY RECOMMENDATIONS:

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

Assessing Temperament in Cattle Using Chute Score – New Learning Module

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

Fencing & Water for Beef Cattle

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

Fall Fly Control for Pastured Cattle in Nebraska

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

Hunting Leases as an Added Enterprise

A review of articles on hunting leases. 

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

Cautions for Cattle Grazing Frosted Forages

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

Grazing Corn Stalks or Corn Residue?

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

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

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

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

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

Limitations of Remote Drug Delivery Devices for Cattle Health Management

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

Calf Health Management on Arrival – Producer Perspective

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

Role of Nutrition in Health Maintenance of Calves

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

Arrival Health Programs for High-Risk Calves

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

Systems Approach to Maintaining Health in High-Risk Calves

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

Nebraska Extension to Host BeefWatch Webinar Series

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

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

Drought and Pasture Lease Considerations

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

Drought Decisions: Profit Maximizing Decisions During and After Drought Conditions

Forage, pasture, and weather conditions

Windrow Grazing Annual Forages to Extend the Grazing Season

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

Limit Feeding Cows Corn as an Alternative to Hay

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

Forage Testing Can Save Dollars

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

Keeping an Eye on Body Condition in Fall Calving Cows

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

Keep it Tight; Store Hay Right

Setting the Stage 

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

Selecting Replacement Heifers Based on Birth Date and Age of Dam

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

Selecting and Developing Replacement Heifers

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

Selection

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

Choosing a Method for Pregnancy Diagnosis

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

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

Pasture mature and brown early due to drought?

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

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

Overgrazing Pastures

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

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

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

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

Leafy Spurge

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

Leafy Spurge 

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

Nebraska Extension to Host Calf Health Management on Arrival Webinar Series

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

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

Feeder Cattle Future Price Spreads: Opportunities to Hedge?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gudmundsen Sandhills Laboratory Open House Online Webinar sponsored by Elanco

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

Utilizing Summer Annuals

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

Pollinators and Nebraska Rangelands

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

Creep Feeding Calves

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

Managing Cows through Dry Conditions

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

Options for Reducing Stocking Rates Due to Dry Conditions

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

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

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

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

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

Phragmites / Common Reed

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

Pinkeye in Cattle

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

Nebraska Small Business Stabilization Grant

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

Preparing for Summer Heat

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

Dealing with Blister Beetles

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

Fermenting for Forages: Finding the Right Moisture

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

Field Bindweed

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

Cattle and the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) Payments

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

Checking Water from Afar

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

Working Cattle and Managing Employees During COVID-19

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

Managing Bull Fertility Prior to the Breeding Season

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

Musk Thistle

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

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

Fermenting for Forages: Small Grain Silage

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

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

A Fundamental Review on Basis

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

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

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

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

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

COVID-19 Branding Guidelines

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

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

It is Canada thistle, not Canadian thistle . . .

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

Flies on Pastured Cattle

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

Flooded Sandhills Subirrigated Meadows and Upland Sites

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

#socialdistancing: Create Physical Distance but Stay in Touch

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

Management Strategies for Minimizing Early Pregnancy Loss

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

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

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

What is your Competitive Advantage?

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