BeefWatch Archive

Beefwatch Archive

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

Do Heifers Have More Potential Value Than Steers?

When going out to tag calves, most cow-calf producers would prefer to find a new bull calf rather than a heifer. This is logical given that the bull calf, which in most cases will become a steer, will weigh more, and bring more money per pound when selling at weaning than his heifer herd mates born at the same time. In the feedyard, steer calves grow faster, are more efficient and finish at heavier weights, providing greater pounds to sell at harvest. Steer performance justifies the premiums paid for steers over heifers.

The University of Nebraska and USDA – AMS Cattle & Carcass Training Center Event

Join us on June 15-16, 2023, for a free two-day training event on Emerging Technology in the Livestock and Meat industries and CME Live Cattle and Carcass Specifications and Deliveries. We encourage stakeholders (cattle producers, feeders, processors, and allied industries) to join who are interested in the official quality grading of feeder cattle, fed cattle, and beef carcasses in the United States.  This training event is collaborative with USDA – AMS and the Animal Science Department at the University of Nebraska.

Will the Proposed Cattle Implant Labeling Changes Impact Feedlot Performance?

This article is a follow-up to “Highlights of Feedlot Implant Labeling Changes Coming June 2023” published in the May 2023 UNL BeefWatch newsletter by Alfredo DiCostanzo.

Face Flies on Pastured Cattle

Face flies can carry pinkeye and eyeworms, and cause millions of dollars of economic damage every year.

One to five face flies per eye per day can cause serious ocular lesions that mimic the symptoms of bovine pinkeye. Mechanical damage, whether sustained by face fly mouth parts, dust, weed, pollen, or excessive sunlight, predisposes the eye for infection and increases epithelial discharges.

Stable Flies on Pastured Cattle

Stable flies aren’t just an annoyance. They cause reduced average daily gain, and it may take as few as four flies per leg to cause economic injury. Animals bunching to fight stable flies damage forage, and on fragile soils, may create blow outs.

How do you know when you’re dealing with stable flies?

Animals fighting stable flies may display a variety of behaviors, including

Pasture Grasshoppers

Much of Nebraska has had several years of below normal precipitation, which may allow grasshoppers to become a problem.

Zoonotic Disease Risks during Calving Season

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), zoonotic diseases are pathogens that can be spread from animals to humans, leading to illness.  The CDC reported 59 zoonotic outbreaks in 2017, causing over 1500 illnesses and three reported deaths.  There are several different germs that have the potential to be zoonotic, with some more prevalent than others.  The disease lists can be categorized in different ways, such as route of transmission, type of pathogen, or production season.  While it is important to familiarize yourself with all potential areas

Sizing and Siting a Shade Structure

With winter reluctantly fading in the rear-view mirror, those hot days of late spring and summer are not very far off for cattle operations here in the Central Plains.  It’s certainly not too soon to take another look at the role that shade can play in limiting heat stress in cattle.  Consider the recently published findings of two studies overseen by Dr. Terry Mader (now retired UNL feedlot environment extension specialist).

Keeping Stress in Check – Strategies and Tools that May Help

The weather impacts producers right and left. A storm can come up suddenly and be short-term, whereas a drought can build and persist long-term. Stress can be similar in nature. We can have acute, stressful moments when we get into town too late to pick up that important part to fix equipment before chores the next day.  Stress can become chronic when one bad thing happens after the other. Many have experienced the effects of drought, first with not enough rain for pasture and forage production leaving us short and having to spend extra money to find additional hay or forage.