Beef Tips

Tally Time: Adjusting assumptions on calving distribution benchmarks

Sandy Johnson, Beef Specialist, Colby

Over the years I have strongly encouraged producers to spend time each year to assess calving distribution.  It provides an excellent score card for how well a given operation matches the genetics and management system with the environment.  However, I have learned that I need to clarify some details for you on calculating calving distribution. Continue reading “Tally Time: Adjusting assumptions on calving distribution benchmarks”

Region of origin in the United States affects price premiums associated with value-added health protocols of beef calf lots sold through summer video auctions from 2010 through 2018

by Maggie Smith, Graduate Research Assistant

The benefits associated with the incorporation of preconditioning practices are thoroughly understood. Increased management in the form of vaccinating and weaning have proven to reduce the risk of bovine respiratory disease, while increasing immunity and minimizing stress. While extensive research shows that preconditioning programs provide price premiums on a national basis, the effect of management level throughout different regions of the United States has not been examined. Differences in climate, management and marketing strategies, and variation in trucking distance are all regional factors that may influence the health protocol calves receive. With these concerns in mind, it is important to consider that the relative value of a vaccination or health program may be dependent on where the calf is raised.

Continue reading “Region of origin in the United States affects price premiums associated with value-added health protocols of beef calf lots sold through summer video auctions from 2010 through 2018”

Testing feedstuffs, another tool in the management toolbox

by Justin Waggoner, Beef Systems Specialist, Garden City

Many of the challenge’s cattle producers face are essentially about managing variability. Our management decisions/practices are often dictated by changes in weather, markets, genetics, animal performance and many other factors.  There are a variety of tools that have been created to help cattle producers manage different sources of variability and predict animal performance. Today we often think of complex tools like EPDs or genomic testing. However, simple tools such as body condition scoring and analytical testing of feeds are also tools that should be included in this list. Although it is often overlooked, the underlying reason we evaluate the chemical composition of feedstuffs is to gather data that can be used to more efficiently manage our feed resources and more accurately predict animal performance.

Continue reading “Testing feedstuffs, another tool in the management toolbox”

August 2019 Feedlot Facts

“Feedlot Steer Performance in 2018”

By: Justin Waggoner, Ph.D., Beef Systems Specialist

Each year I summarize the data from the K-State Focus on Feedlots in an effort to document annual trends in feed cattle performance. The Focus on Feedlot’s data for steers from 2018, 2017 and 2016 is summarized in the table below. In 2018, participating feedlots marketed 349,595 steers, 8497 fewer cattle than were marketed 2017. In weights remained steady, averaging 779 lbs. Final weights of steers increased slightly to 1398 lbs compared to 1387 lbs in 2017. Steers were on feed approximately 173 days, an increase of 9 days from 2017 and 14 days from 2016. Average daily gain and feed conversion were similar across years. Death loss remained steady at 1.58% compared to the 1.52% previously reported in 2017. Reported total cost of gain averaged $78.10/ Cwt. in 2018, an increase of $3.76/Cwt. from 2017.

For more information, contact Justin Waggoner at jwaggon@ksu.edu.

August 2019 Management Minute

“Customer Service”

By: Justin Waggoner, Ph.D., Beef Systems Specialist

Good customer service is essential to any business or organization. It does not matter if it is a restaurant or a tow truck service, having staff members who leave customers or anyone who encounters your business with that “wow that was great” feeling directly influences the bottom line. Customer service has become more important than ever as more consumers are gathering information and making purchasing decisions based on social media. What is customer service? Customer service is simply defined as the assistance provided by a company to those who purchase the goods or services it provides. Now on to the tough part, how do we as businesses or organizations provide that assistance?

Susan Ward (www.thebalancesmb.com) offers a few simple things that businesses can do to improve their customer service experiences. First, answer the phone. Potential customers want to talk to a person and don’t want to leave a message. Second, don’t make promises you can’t keep. As the old saying goes “say what you are going to do and do what you said you were going to”. Third, listen. Simply listening to what a potential customer needs is important, there is nothing worse than listening to a sales pitch for something you don’t want. Fourth, be helpful even if you don’t make the sale today. The service provided today has the potential to turn in to something much larger in the future. Fifth, train your staff to do something extra, like showing the customer where the product is located. Lastly, empower your staff to offer something extra without asking permission.

For more information, contact Justin Waggoner at jwaggon@ksu.edu.

Management Minute

“Think Safety this Summer, Agriculture is a High Risk Occupation”

By: Justin Waggoner, Ph.D., Beef Systems Specialist

Most of you reading this are likely involved in agriculture in some capacity. Do you think being a farmer or rancher is a high risk occupation?

The reality is that farming and ranching is a high risk occupation. A 2017 report from the U. S. Department of Labor contains some staggering statistics and emphasizes the need for safety. There were 5147 fatal workrelated injuries in 2017. Farmers, ranchers, and agriculture managers were the second greatest civilian occupation with regard to fatal work-related injuries; with 258 reported fatalities in 2017.

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Estimated placed cost of gain using the Focus on Feedlots

By: Justin Waggoner, Beef Systems Specialist, Garden City

The K-State Focus on Feedlots has many uses, foremost it provides many of us that are not directly connected with the cattle feeding industry a means of staying abreast of cattle performance and closeout data from commercial feeding operations. Additionally, the data generated may be used to build economic budgets for cattle producers considering retaining ownership or placing a group of cattle on feed as commodity and input prices change. One of the simplest ways to estimate placed cost of gain is to look at the relationship between reported corn price and reported projected cost of gain for steers and heifers. The data obtained from the Focus on Feedlots from 2015, 2016, and 2017 is shown in the graphs below. Continue reading “Estimated placed cost of gain using the Focus on Feedlots”

June 2019 Feedlot Facts

“Got Water…But How Much Do Those Cows Need?”

Most cattle producers fully understand the importance of water. After all, providing an adequate supply of clean, fresh, water is the cornerstone of animal husbandry and there are very few things that compare to the feeling of finding thirsty cows grouped around a dry tank on a hot day. Water is important, and in situations where the water supply is limited or we are forced to haul water one of the first questions we find ourselves asking is “how much water do those cows need?” The old rule of thumb is that cattle should consume 1-2 gallons of water per 100 lbs of bodyweight. Accurately determining the amount of water cows will voluntarily consume is difficult and is influenced by several factors (ambient temperature, moisture and salt content of the diet, body weight, lactation, etc.). Water consumption increases linearly as ambient temperature increases above 40° Fahrenheit such that cows require an additional gallon of water for every 10 degree increase in temperature. Additionally, lactation also directly increases the amount of water required by beef cows. The table below summarizes the daily water requirements of beef cows of several different body weights, milk production levels, and ambient temperatures.

The daily water requirements of beef cows represented are estimates and water consumption varies greatly during the summer months when temperatures exceed 90° Fahrenheit. Therefore, these recommendations should be regarded as minimum guidelines.

For more information contact Justin Waggoner at jwaggon@ksu.edu .

 

June 2019 Management Minute

“Tell Me Something Good”

By: Justin Waggoner, Ph.D., Beef Systems Specialist

I recently came across an interesting statistic attributed to the Gallup organization that suggests that 75% of us are at some level of disengagement with life. That essentially means that 25% of those surveyed were satisfied (happy) with where they were at in life. Does this carry over into the workplace? Absolutely.

Clint Swindall of Verbalocity Inc., a personal development company, breaks it down a bit further. “There are three types of people in an organization: 32 percent who are engaged, 50 percent who are disengaged and 18 percent who are actively disengaged. The actively disengaged people are called the “Oh No’s” because they dread being asked to work. The engaged people are called the “Oh Yes’s” because they will do whatever is asked of them with enthusiasm no matter what the task is.”

As humans it is really easy for us to get caught up in the negativity around us. Let’s face it…it is really difficult for most of us (75%) to see the opportunity in a given situation whether it is in our professional or personal life. What do you discuss at work or at home at the dinner table? The good stuff that happens during your day or the things that could have been better?

So the bigger question is what do we do about it? Clint Swindall suggests that we replace the traditional greeting of “How are you?” with “Tell me something good.” I can assure you that you will receive some really odd looks the first time you try it. However, some people will be more than willing to share something good about what is going on at work or at home. It will take some time, but maybe some of those “Oh No’s” will become “Oh Yes’s” in the workplace.

For more information, contact Justin Waggoner at jwaggon@ksu.edu.

Updates for Livestock Risk Protection, a price insurance tool for feeder cattle

by Monte Vandeveer, extension agricultural economist, Garden City

One price risk management tool available to feeder cattle producers (and other types of livestock producers) is Livestock Risk Protection, or LRP.  The LRP program from USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) is a price insurance program where insurance policies are sold through local insurance agencies but still backed up by RMA, just like traditional crop insurance.  Also like multi-peril crop insurance, LRP premiums receive a subsidy through RMA. Continue reading “Updates for Livestock Risk Protection, a price insurance tool for feeder cattle”