Beef Tips

Author: Angie Denton

Forage analysis: What Numbers Do I Need

By Justin Waggoner, Beef Systems Specialist

One the more common questions I receive with regard to analytical testing of forages and other feedstuffs is, “I have the sample, now what do I test for or what analysis package should I select?”

The basic components that nutritionists need to evaluate a feedstuff or develop a ration are dry matter or moisture, crude protein, an estimate of the energy content of the feedstuff — Total Digestible Nutrients (TDN), Net Energy for Maintenance (NEm), Net Energy for gain (NEg), and the macro minerals, Calcium and Phosphorous. These are the most basic numbers that are required but including some additional analyses in the report can give us additional insight into the quality of the feedstuff or improve our ability to predict animal performance, which is the primary reason we analyze feedstuffs.

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A System Approach to Cattle Handling Facility Design

 

By A.J. Tarpoff, Beef Extension Veterinarian

Cattle handling facilities are an excellent investment for the future of an operation. A well designed handling facility allows the operator to work more efficiently saving time and reducing animal (and handler) stress. Design planning must incorporate an operation’s needs, available space, and budget to create a functional system.

Many designs available from purchased books or the internet focus on a single portion of the facility system. An example of this would be either a tub design or a Bud box design.

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The start of the third trimester, the most underappreciated day of the year

By Sandy Johnson, extension beef specialist

Each of us have special dates we celebrate on an annual basis — birthdays, anniversaries and other special holidays. For the cow herd, notable dates might include the start of calving or breeding season and weaning. An undervalued date in cow-calf production is the start of the third trimester.

Off the top of your head and without calculating back from calving, do you know when the third trimester starts for your replacement heifers or cows? I’m guessing it’s not on many people’s radar. If you have a March 1 calving herd with replacements calving before cows, the third trimester starts for both in November.

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Tally Time: Management Minder outlines your production year

By Sandy Johnson, extension beef specialist

Technology has been developed that makes many things in our lives much easier. Some of you may remember when you were the “remote control” when your Dad was watching TV. Now, new homes have heating, alarm and lighting systems throughout that can be controlled remotely with a smart phone. Cattle producers use electronic IDs to automate many data collection activities. Computer applications seem to only be limited by our imagination.

Our beef extension educational efforts have often pointed out timely management topics. For example, now is the time to sample harvested forages and get an analysis of the quality. Some of those items would relate to time of year, while others would depend on the individual operation’s calving and breeding dates. So, while those suggestions are timely for most (we hope), they certainly do not fit everyone.

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September 2017 Feedlot Facts

“Silage Harvest is Underway; Be Safe”

by Justin W. Waggoner, beef systems specialist

 

One of the busiest, most fast paced operations that occur this time of year is silage harvest. Cutters and choppers in the fields, trucks racing from the field to the pile or bunker, multiple tractors pushing and packing silage. The speed at which we can harvest silage today is amazing, but we should never allow the speed at which one can accomplish a task to compromise safety. Below are a few things to think about during this year’s silage harvest.

  • Don’t become complacent. Stay aware of the surroundings. Let’s face it there are a lot of highly repetitive operations in putting up silage. One of the No. 1 factors that lead up to an accident is almost always complacency or lack of situational awareness.
  • Truck drivers should always slow down when approaching houses and intersections on all roads, every time. Those houses along the road belong to our neighbors and friends, some of which have children. The increased traffic on gravel roads creates dust, and the crops are tall, both of which reduce visibility at intersections. Our neighbors should not fear going to their mailbox due to our silage trucks.
  • People (especially children) should never be allowed near a drive over pile or bunker silo during fill ing. If people have to approach the area, get on the radio  to inform the drivers/operators. Those on the ground in the area should always wear a bright-colored-orange safety vest.
  • Never fill higher than the top of the bunker wall. This happens more than it should and creates a dangerous situation from the day the silage is packed until it is removed. The pack tractor cannot see the edge of the bunker well if at all. The silage does not get packed well (which leads to poor silage) and the edge of the silage is unstable and more likely to collapse. Don’t do it.
  • Be aware of steep slopes. To reduce the risk of tractor roll-over, a minimum slope of 1 in 3 on the sides and end of piles should be maintained.
  • Never inspect or make repairs to equipment near the bunker or pile. Equipment should be removed from the area as soon as possible. Repairs almost always involve people on foot and potentially people who may not be familiar with silage activities and the associated risks.

 

Limit-feeding high-energy diets based on fermentable fiber for weaned and newly arrived calves offers numerous advantages

by Dale Blasi, Extension Livestock Specialist, and T.J. Spore

 

Many producers have used limit- or programmed-feeding in the past with success, especially during periods of drought when forage is not adequate. In a nutshell, limit- or program-feeding refers to the practice of limiting calves to two-thirds to three-quarters of the dry matter that they can normally consume. This feeding strategy varies greatly with traditional management where calves generally have free-choice access to forage.  Traditionally, limit-fed diets have consisted of 80 to 85% whole shelled corn and the remaining balance as a protein supplement. The total amount of the ration delivered is increased every two weeks or so to account for increased body weight gain based upon the desired level of gain.

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K-State Beef Stocker Field Day scheduled for September 21

The beef cattle outlook, early stocking strategies for optimized marketing and a panel discussion on how cover crops have helped producers improve their operations are among topics planned for the 2017 Kansas State University Beef Stocker Field Day on Thursday, Sept. 21.

The day is designed to provide the latest practical information for producers to aid decision making in the current dynamic beef industry environment.  “There will be applied information presented that attendees can apply to their operation,” says Dale Blasi, K-State Animal Sciences and Industry professor and extension specialist.

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Houser Named Extension Meat Specialist

Dr. Terry Houser has recently acquired the role of Extension Meat Specialist in the Department of Animal Sciences and Industry at Kansas State University.  Terry joined Kansas State in 2007 and is currently an Associate Professor.

Terry was born and raised on an irrigated farming/ranching/feedlot operation near Cambridge, Nebraska. He received his B.S. in Animal Science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Meat Science from Iowa State University.

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Late Season Fly Control

By A.J. Tarpoff, DVM, MS, extension veterinarian

Horn flies are blood feeding flies that impact production on cattle operations. Populations of these flies tend to peak in June. The hot dry days of summer tend to decrease the overall population. However, in late August to September as the temperatures begins to decrease and humidity increases, the horn fly population tends to peak again. Continue reading “Late Season Fly Control”

Manure Utilization – Capture the value

by Joel DeRouchey, Extension Livestock Specialist

With fall season approaching, many livestock producers will be applying solid manure to fields post-harvest.  Manure from livestock producers, both large and small, is recognized as a valuable fertilizer source.  However, it certainly involves needed equipment and labor often above that needed to apply commercial sources when considering the scraping, hauling, spreading and potential tillage incorporation into the soil. All sharp penciled livestock producers understand with the dramatic shift in fertilizer prices for nitrogen and phosphorus, the value of manure has never been higher and more economical to use as fertilizer.  With overall input costs soaring, livestock producers must utilize their manure effectively in their cropping operations and or in merchandising the manure as a potential revenue stream.

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