Beef Tips

Drought Preparedness for the Cow-Calf Producer Webinar To Be Hosted on Zoom July 9

Registration is now open for a webinar that will help Kansas beef cattle producers prepare to manage and reduce the impacts of drought and reduced forage availability on cow herds.

The webinar will be hosted by the Kansas State University (K-State) Animal Sciences and Industry Department and K-State Research and Extension via Zoom on Thursday, July 9, 2020, at noon CDT. Continue reading “Drought Preparedness for the Cow-Calf Producer Webinar To Be Hosted on Zoom July 9”

Differentiating Pasture Lameness in Beef Cattle

by A.J. Tarpoff, DVM, MS, beef extension veterinarian

During the summer grazing months many producers run into issues with lame cattle. The effects of lameness may show itself by decreased fertility, weight loss, decreased performance, and increased labor and medicine costs. It has been estimated that 88-92% of lameness in cattle stems from the foot. Several issues could be the culprit, but we will review some of the common causes and the key differences between the clinical signs. Continue reading “Differentiating Pasture Lameness in Beef Cattle”

Bucking the Trend of Insecticide Resistance

by Cassandra Olds, extension entomologist

As temperatures rise and we move into the throes of summer, many are evaluating their insect control options. Controlling insects and related arthropod pests has been a challenge since the dawn of human history. Descriptions of these early attempts exist as preserved archeological artifacts, some of which date as far as 4000 years ago! Continue reading “Bucking the Trend of Insecticide Resistance”

Tally Time – Opportunities and Options for Pregnancy Staging

By Sandy Johnson, Extension Beef Specialist, Colby

For any number of reasons from shortage of pasture to cattle marketing opportunities, knowledge of if and when a cow or heifer is pregnant is valuable.  That information can be used to identify early bred yearlings for replacements and late bred or open females to remove from pasture in order to extend the grazing season.  Heifers that are known to be pregnant to an AI sire bring premiums. A group of yearling heifers pregnant with heifer calves and consequently less expected calving difficulty may be worth more than those with male calves. Continue reading “Tally Time – Opportunities and Options for Pregnancy Staging”

Heat Stress Resources for Cattle Producers

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

The first weeks of June often bring summer-like temperatures to the southern Great Plains and with those first hot, humid days comes heat stress. Recent market conditions have created a scenario when there are greater inventories of heavier cattle on feed in many feedyards. The convergence of these two factors prompted our KSU Beef Extension Team to host a webinar highlighting the current weather outlook and how to prepare for heat stress events. The webinar was recorded and may be accessed Continue reading “Heat Stress Resources for Cattle Producers”

Do’s and Don’ts Upon Returning to Work

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

Many businesses and organizations are now beginning to reopen after several weeks of modified operations or closures. A recent article – – highlighted several items that both employees and managers should consider when returning to work. Continue reading “Do’s and Don’ts Upon Returning to Work”

May 2020 Feedlot Facts

“Protein Sources for Growing Cattle”

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

One of the outcomes of the recent Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation that unexpectedly affected many cattle feeding operations throughout Kansas and the Midwest was a sudden reduction in the availability of distiller’s grains. As many Americans heeded “stay at home” orders, demand for fuel, oil, and ultimately ethanol fell resulting in price declines that forced many ethanol plants to scale back production. The cattle feeding industry has relied heavily on distiller’s grains as the primary source of protein in both growing and finishing rations for many years. Distiller’s grains comprise 10-30% of many cattle rations depending upon the nutrient composition and price of other commodities. The reduced supply of distiller’s grains forced many cattle producers to look at traditional sources of protein, such as soybean meal, cottonseed meal, alfalfa and urea that many producers had not used for at least a decade. The prices of several common commodity protein sources (central, KS; obtained 4/28/2020) on a per ton and a cost per unit of protein basis are shown below. It is essential that producers evaluate protein sources on a cost per unit of protein prior to making purchasing decision. All of the traditional protein sources in the table were comparably priced on a cost per unit of protein basis ($0.44-0.49 /lb CP) with the exception of urea. However, urea must be used with caution, should not comprise more than 0.5 to 1.0% of the total diet on a dry matter basis, and it is generally recommended that urea be added into the ration using a premix or liquid to ensure that urea is appropriately mixed in the ration.

For more information, contact Justin Waggoner at

May 2020 Management Minute

“Return to Normal”

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

The outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the United States has affected the workplace in many different ways over the past few weeks. As many states and counties begin to ease restrictions, many employers in KS are now beginning to consider the necessary steps to “return to normal”. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has several resources for businesses posted on its website ( The resources on this page range from details on the current plan to re-open the state to how to properly clean and disinfect your business. As we transition back into the workplace, our “return to normal” will likely not be the normal we once knew and will likely create anxiety for both employers and employees. Experts suggest that one of the most important things employers can do to ease the transition is communication. Employers must communicate social distancing and cleaning protocols, as well as expectations regarding working remotely. Some employees may have safety concerns, especially if they or a family member falls within a high-risk category. Employers will likely have to make reasonable accommodations on an individual basis, which is challenging. However, there have been many challenges associated with this situation and most organizations/employers have demonstrated that they are more resilient than they ever imagined and that we will “return to normal” even if normal looks a little different.

For more information, contact Justin Waggoner at

Tally Time – This year’s calving distribution

By Sandy Johnson, Extension Beef Specialist, Colby

How did the calving season go this year?  For western Kansas, milder, drier weather was easier on both cows and calves.  However, given the stresses of last winter, cycling and rebreeding may have been delayed in some cows with calves being born later than expected.  In other cases, abundant spring moisture making “washy” grass (result is lower nutrient intake) may have hindered resumption of normal estrous cycles. The calving distribution from this year’s calf crop is your score card of how well nutritional and environmental challenges were met.   How did you do? Continue reading “Tally Time – This year’s calving distribution”

Evaluating Rules of Thumb for Grazing Management – Part 3

by Keith Harmoney, Range Scientist, Hays

Over the years, I’ve heard rangeland managers develop rules of thumb, or short phrases, to try to help them simplify decisions that need to be made to manage their pastures.  Some of these rules of thumb have merit and scientific or economic data to support the rules of thumb; however, some rules of thumb may be unfounded and lack informational support.   In previous Beef Tips Newsletters, I listed some common rules of thumb, along with an explanation of whether or not the rule of thumb has any merit or basis of support.  You can go back and read Rules of Thumb 1-4 in the January Beef Tips, and Rules of Thumb 5-8 in the March Beef Tips.  This month, another four Rules of Thumb are listed, and a Thumbs Up means it’s a rule of thumb with merit, and a Thumbs Down indicates the rule of thumb lacks support and has room for improvement.  A Thumbs Up and a Thumbs Down means that arguments may be made for and against the rule of thumb. Continue reading “Evaluating Rules of Thumb for Grazing Management – Part 3”