BeefWatch Archive

Beefwatch Archive

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

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?”

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.

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 – 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.

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