BeefWatch Archive

Beefwatch Archive

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

Farm Program Disaster Assistance for 2022 Drought and Fire Losses

The 2022 production year presented several challenges to Nebraska producers. Widespread drought conditions and several large wildfires created loss situations with significant financial impact. This article is a quick reminder to producers of available assistance from USDA programs that may apply to their situation.

2022 Cattlemen’s College

Nebraska Cattlemen and Nebraska Extension will be hosting the 2022 Cattlemen’s College on December 6 at the Buffalo County Extension Building (1400 E. 34th Street, Kearney, NE). Registration, and a chance to begin viewing the graduate posters on display, will be at 12:00 p.m. The program will run from 12:30 p.m. – 8:45 p.m.

Soybean Residue Value

Baling of soybean residue after harvest has gained popularity again this fall due to higher hay prices and forage shortages following drought. Further, delayed corn harvests are also slowing stalks residue baling and stalks grazing. According to the USDA AMS Nebraska Direct Hay sales report, large round cornstalks bale values are $110 per ton versus $80 per ton for large round soybean residue bales. So, the question arises, do soybean residue bale values justify raking and baling costs, reduced soil protection and nutrient removal?

Technology in Cow-Calf Production Systems: A good or bad thing?

In the last few years, buzzwords like precision livestock management have been thrown around quite a bit. Although the official name of “precision livestock farming” debuted in a European conference in 2003, usage of technology in beef production systems isn’t a new thing. Artificial insemination began in the 1950s, use of growth implants became commercially available in 1957, and use of EPDs in bulls started in the 1970s. These 3 technologies adopted in commercial cow-calf systems would be considered precision livestock management tools.

Post-weaning Cowherd Management

To build a nutrition program for a cow-calf system, it is important to know the herd’s nutritional requirements, have set trigger points to make rapid changes in nutritional management if needed and know the quality and quantity of your forage resources. With many producers across the state starting to or already weaning calves, it’s a good time to note the body condition score (BCS) of the cowherd.

Feeding Ionophores in Mineral Supplements

Ionophores have been safely utilized in the beef industry for a long time. If fed according to the recommended rates, ionophores are considered safe and effective. Ionophores are feed additives used in cattle diets to increase feed efficiency and body weight gain. In addition, ionophores can decrease the incidence of bloat and coccidiosis.  Ionophores can be fed to cattle in several different supplemental packages from liquid feeds, cakes, pellets, and loose minerals.

Protein supplementation: What should I know before purchasing?

Daily energy intake can be a limiting factor for cow performance while grazing winter range or dormant forages. As forages advance in stages of maturity, there is an inadequate supply of crude protein, which effectively limits energy intake and overall intake itself. Intake declines rapidly as forage crude protein falls below about 7%, a relationship attributed to a deficiency of nitrogen (protein) in the rumen, which inhibits activity of the rumen microbes.

Drought Risk Management Planning: PRF Insurance Signup Deadline is December 1

Pasture Rangeland Forage (PRF) insurance coverage is available on a calendar year basis with a signup deadline of December 1. For coverage in calendar year 2023, producers must sign up for PRF by December 1, 2022. At this point, many producers across the state are thinking about the impact of drought. Some may already be implementing PRF, and others may be thinking about adding it as a part of their drought risk management strategy. PRF insurance is administered by the USDA – Risk Management Agency (RMA) and is available for purchase through local crop insurance agents.

Cow Costs Higher In 2022

As the 2022 calendar year winds down, this is a good time for spring calving herds to look at what it cost them to produce a calf in the past year. What did it cost to run a cow on your operation this year? How do you calculate the costs? How do you value raised feed, labor, equipment, as well as replacement females grown on the ranch? These questions are frequently asked when the conversation of annual cow costs comes up.

Single Trait EPDs vs. EPD Indexes vs. Production Ratios

The numerous tools to aid in genetic selection allow for expedited progress toward breeding objectives. However, there are variations in how values are calculated and the units they are reported in. Single Trait Expected Progeny Differences (EPDs), EPD Indexes, and Production Ratios are typical of reported data and can provide guidance towards breeding objectives when applied as they are intended. While the bells and whistles vary across breed associations, the basics of each measurement can be applied across breeds and genetic reporting platforms.