BeefWatch Archive

Beefwatch Archive

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

Preparing for Cattle Transport Saves Time, Money and Stress

With fall upon us, many producers are beginning to plan shipment of this year’s calf crop or moving cattle from summer pasture to crop residues, fall/winter pastures, or to a dry lot. Each and every year, millions of head of cattle are transported from point A to point B. During this time, our bumper-pull trailers, gooseneck trailers, or cattle pots are giant billboards for the cattle industry.

Exercise Caution when Grazing Cattle on Drought Stressed Cornstalks

Cornstalk residue is a tremendous resource for fall and winter grazing; however, this year care needs to be taken in grazing drought stressed cornstalks due to the potential of high nitrates in the feed.

Cattle prefer and will select the grain as well as leaves and husk first which tend to be lower in nitrates. Because drought stressed corn is smaller and stunted, it is more likely that cattle will eat lower into the stalk where nitrate levels may be high. Nitrates are usually more concentrated in the bottom third of the stalk in the corn plant.

Where is Value being created in your Ranch Operation?

For many ranch operations multiple enterprises are a part of the overall business.  In addition to the cow-calf enterprise, land is owned, replacement heifers are developed, hay is harvested, and often, yearlings are wintered and grazed through the summer before being sold. Breaking the whole ranch into enterprises and identifying where value is being created and costs are occurring can show where opportunities exist to change and improve the profitability of the ranch business.

Questions to Ask When Developing Winter Cow Care Agreements

Watch the Sept. 2, 2021 webinar, "Considerations When Developing Winter Cow Care Agreements," for a more in-depth look at creating good agreements for all parties.

Crop Residue Exchange Links Cattle Producers with Available Feed Resources

With dry conditions in much of the western half of the United States, reports of livestock producers looking for fall and winter forage are accumulating. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Crop Residue Exchange (http://cropresidueexchange.unl.edu) is a free online tool designed to link cattle producers to other producers with available grazing resources.

How Far is too Far to Transport Cows to Winter Cornstalks?

There are times feed in the local area is scarce or expensive. This may happen during a time of drought or other natural or manmade disaster. With the help of UNL’s modified Feed Cost Cow-Q-Later it was straightforward to make some comparisons among methods of feeding cows and with some additional information estimate comparison costs among feed sources, including transporting cows. With the current drought conditions in many parts of the Western US, we felt it was worth the effort to develop the tool and provide some commentary on what we found about those costs.

What to do with High Nitrate Forage?

Given the drought conditions in some locations this year, many producers may be asking themselves how to handle the annual forages they have standing in the field that may not have grown as much as would be expected under normal conditions. These drought stressed forages can be high in nitrates and may be potentially toxic to cattle.

Feeding Elevated Levels of Corn Silage to Reduce Liver Abscesses

This article was originally featured in the Wyoming Livestock Roundup.

Making Soybeans as Hay or Silage

Some parts of the state are not getting the moisture for their soybean crop so the decision to salvage them for hay or silage may have to be made. Soybean hay or silage can have feed values very similar to alfalfa; but it is very important to put it up properly.

The first thing is not to get in a big hurry because August rains could make a crop. Harvest soybean forage when leaves start to turn yellow; just before they drop off. It’s especially important to harvest before a freeze to prevent rapid leaf loss.

Test, Don’t Guess - sampling and testing hay

Fall is here and the weather reminds us of the changing of the seasons. This is the time of year when many producers are hauling hay home for the winter as well as pricing and purchasing hay. There is a tremendous range in hay quality depending upon level of maturity, fertilization, growing conditions, harvest circumstances and storage methods. Accurately sampling and testing hay is the only way to get a real understanding of the nutritive value of feed.