BeefWatch Archive

Beefwatch Archive

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

New Drought Center Dashboard Steps Ranchers Through Key Questions

When faced with developing drought, ranchers often have questions. How severe is this drought? How long could it last? Is this as bad as the last drought we experienced, or is it the worst one? What are the chances it rains enough to produce normal forage over the coming weeks or months, and how much rain would be needed for a “normal” grazing year?

Forage Production, Beef Cows and Stocking Density and Their Implications for Partial Herd Liquidation Due to Drought

This article was first published in the May 11, 2021 edition of “In the Cattle Markets.”

Are Livestock Producers Willing to Pay for Traceability Programs?

The following is a summary of the webinar “Are Livestock Producers Willing to Pay for Traceability Programs?” given on February 4, 2021, as part of the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Farm and Ranch Management team’s weekly webinar series. The webinar can be accessed at https://farm.unl.edu/webinars.

Tips for Managing Free Choice Mineral Intake

Free choice mineral mixes are commonly used to provide the mineral that grazing cattle need. However, ensuring that cattle are getting enough mineral without overconsuming can be a struggle. Being on either side of the spectrum can be costly either in reduced performance due to deficiency or in increased feed cost due to over consumption.  An extra 1 oz per cow per day can cost $4 to 8 per cow per year. If your mineral mix is designed to meet the cows needs at 4 oz per day, intake above this only adds unnecessary cost.

Beware of Stocking Rate Creep

Is your average cow size greater than it was ten or twenty years ago? As breed genetics and harvest weights change, the cows grazing pasture today tend to be larger than they were 10 or 20 years ago. Larger cows eat more, and if an operation is running the same number of cows today for the same amount of time on the same amount of rangeland as 10 or 20 years ago, the stocking rate has increased. But has the forage production increased to match the stocking rate? 

Impact of Higher Grain Prices on Feedlot’s Decision to Feed Distillers Grains

The historical demand from China and domestically low stock-to-use ratios has led to the most recent run-up in grain prices. The direct impact of higher grain prices is that it increases the cost of gain (COG) for feedlots. In other words, it costs more dollars to put on the same amount of weight. Higher COG generally creates incentives for feedlots to place heavier feeder cattle and to ship cattle at lower finished weights. These two incentives combine to require less feed and effectively limit the impact of higher feed costs.

Pasture and Forage Minute: Selecting Summer Annual Forages

Are you planning to plant a summer annual grass, maybe to build hay supply or have some extra grazing?  Which one will you plant? 

It can be confusing because there are six different types of major summer annual forage grasses.  These include: sudangrass, sorghum-sudan hybrids, forage sorghum (which we often call cane or sorgo), foxtail millet, pearl millet, and teff.  Each one has its own strengths and weaknesses.  So, base your choice primarily on how you plan to use it.

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.

Feed, Ship or Sell – Three Options to Reduce Stocking Rates

Current drought conditions across many parts of Nebraska are prompting cattle producers to consider options for reducing stocking rates on rangeland and pasture as we look forward to this spring and summer. There are three main options to reduce stocking rates: supplement/substitute feed, ship cattle to non-drought areas and sell cattle.

The Role of Water Intake in Rumen Development of the Nursing Calf

Calving season is wrapping up for some producers, in full swing for others, and just getting started for others. While the focus is definitely on making sure milk intake, particularly colostrum, is adequate for the young calves; it is also time to be thinking about water intake.

Pages