BeefWatch Archive

Beefwatch Archive

To read articles prior to September 2017, please visit the article archive on UNL Announce.

Reclaiming Flood-damaged Pastures and Forage Production

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

Options for Disposal of Animal Carcasses

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

Considerations Attributing to Livestock Losses

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

Extreme Weather Events and the Livestock Indemnity Program

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

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

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

Ways to Stretch Cash Flow

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

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

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

Preventing Grass Tetany in the Lactating Beef Cow this Spring

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

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

For most producers the spring breeding season is still a ways off, but now is a good time to review estrus synchronization protocols and develop a plan for this year.  There are several Extension resources that can be helpful in preparing for the upcoming breeding season.

The Importance of Colostrum to the Newborn Calf

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

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

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