BeefWatch Archive

Beefwatch Archive

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

Using Livestock Risk Protection Insurance to Protect Profits

In an effort to improve participation, several enhancements and improvements to the Livestock Risk Protection (LRP) insurance program for cattle have taken place over the last three years. 

They include:

Managing Early Weaned Calves

Early weaning is typically defined as weaning before calves are 150 days of age. In extreme cases beef calves may be weaned at 45 days of age, but more commonly early weaned calves are over 90 days of age. Early weaning may be advantageous in times of drought, when cows are in a confinement system, or as a body condition management tool for very young or old cows. Once weaning has occurred, the cow, now without the demands of lactation, can be maintained on poor quality forage and little to no supplement.

Ensuring Beef Quality Assurance to Beat the Heat

The summer heat is bearing down across the nation. With the summer heat comes the concern for animal welfare, specifically towards cattle in feedlots. With rising temperatures and high humidity, cattle are more prone to heat stress. This concern increases when winds die down reducing air movement.

When cattle experience heat stress, producers may see reduced intakes and gains. However, in extreme cases, cattle can succumb to the detrimental effects of the heat stress they are experiencing. 

Early Pregnancy Detection

Early pregnancy detection in replacement heifers or cows is a tool producers can use to increase profit. Traditionally, cows and replacement heifers are pregnancy tested in the fall of the year and then non-pregnant cows and cull cows are marketed at that time. This is also when cull cow prices are seasonally at their lowest.

Timing of Pregnancy Test

Pregnancy can be detected in cows as early as 30 days using ultrasound and blood tests.

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. Options for managing non-pregnant beef females are discussed in a BeefWatch article appearing in this issue. 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.

How Stocker-Yearling Cattle Complement a Cow-Calf Operation in the Sandhills - A Producer’s Perspective

Stocker-Yearling cattle can complement cow-calf operations by providing flexibility in utilizing grazing resources. In this month’s BeefWatch Producer Perspective Podcast, John Ravenscroft from Cherry County, Nebraska discusses how the Three Bar Cattle Company utilizes home raised and purchased calves to grow as stocker-yearlings to complement their cow-calf operation.

Topics discussed include:

Blue-Green Algae Impacts on Cattle

Hot, dry weather is impacting part of the state which in turn is impacting the water quality for grazing cattle.  In some pastures, the only water source available are ponds and dugouts which can contain hidden dangers to the cattle.

Blue-green algae also known as cyanobacteria blooms are caused by excess levels of nitrogen and phosphorus.  These nutrients are commonly introduced from runoff or soil erosion from fertilizer and manure.

Gudmundsen Sandhills Laboratory Open House sponsored by Elanco

The 22nd annual University of Nebraska–Lincoln Gudmundsen Sandhills Laboratory (GSL) Open House will be held on Wednesday, August 25, 2021. This year’s Open House will be a hybrid format with our traditional in-person event held at GSL along with being live streamed online webinar. The online webinar will only cover the morning sustainability topics. 

Quality of Forage and Impacts on Intake and Animal Performance

As we progress into summer, forage quality can rapidly change depending on factors like rainfall, temperature, etc.  A good example of the dynamic interaction of rainfall and forage quality is shown in Table 1. In the Sandhills, 2002 and 2018 were drastically different in total precipitation; however, forage quality driven by forage growth and maturity in terms of crude protein were very similar in a drought or wet rainfall year.  Understanding these relationships is important in making proactive management decisions.

Cattle Markets React to USDA Reports: Implications for Risk Management

This article was first published in the June 2021 issue of The Nebraska Cattleman magazine.

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