Beef Tips

Author: Sandy Johnson

Evaluating Rules of Thumb for Grazing Management

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.   The following is a list of some common rules of thumb, along with an explanation of whether or not the rule of thumb has any merit or basis of support.  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.  Below is the first set in a series of three sets of rules of thumb that will be shared in upcoming newsletters. Continue reading “Evaluating Rules of Thumb for Grazing Management”

Consider the Value Of Genomics: Bull Buying Resolution For The New Year

by Bob Weaber, Cow-calf Extension Specialist

Bull buying is an activity on the horizon for many cow-calf producers. With the winter/spring sale season just around the corner it is a great time consider your bull buying strategy.  In addition to revisiting your breeding system (make sure you capture the value of maternal heterosis) and alignment of selection criteria to production/marketing constraints, producers should evaluate the opportunity to purchase bulls that have been genotyped. Many seedstock producers are genotyping their sale offering to support the purchase decisions of their commercial customers. Sometimes the genotyped bulls cost a little more, but the added value far exceeds the cost, in my opinion. Continue reading “Consider the Value Of Genomics: Bull Buying Resolution For The New Year”

Tally Time – Benchmarks of Western Canada Calving Management

By Sandy Johnson, Extension Beef Specialist, Colby

Benchmarking is a useful tool that allows businesses to compare their performance to others.  However, limited data is available to cow/calf producers for this purpose.  Management practices associated with calving can influence calf health and survival.  A recent publication reported data from western Canada and describes calving management practices used in 2016 and the relationship of herd demographics with various measures of calf health. Continue reading “Tally Time – Benchmarks of Western Canada Calving Management”

Determine value of gain with BeefBasis.com tool to aid marketing decisions

by Dale Blasi, stocker, forages, nutrition and management specialist

Cow/calf producers who may be considering the retention of their calf crop and adding weight (and additional value) for a short period of time rather than marketing calves directly off the cow are encouraged to consider using Beefbasis.com to assist in their decision making process. Beefbasis.com is the result of a partnership with the Department of Agricultural Economics, USDA’s Risk Management Agency and Custom Ag Solutions, Inc and was developed because of the recognized volatility of basis of the futures markets to lighter weight calves. Continue reading “Determine value of gain with BeefBasis.com tool to aid marketing decisions”

An Itchy Situation, Managing Lice in our Cattle Herds

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

Cattle lice infections can affect the health and performance of our cows, stockers, and feedlot cattle during the winter months. These months generally range from December through March. The USDA has estimated that livestock producers lose up to $125 million per year due to effects of lice infestations. Not only can they be the cause of direct animal performance losses, but also increases wear and tear on our facilities and fences. The direct losses to cattle come in forms of decreased average daily gains (documented 0.25 lbs/day reduction in growing calves), skin infections, and potentially blood loss and anemia. Continue reading “An Itchy Situation, Managing Lice in our Cattle Herds”

Using Data to Identify Management Practice Impact on Profitability

By Kevin Herbel, Executive Director – KFMA Program

The Kansas Farm Management Association (KFMA) has worked together with cow-calf producers keeping records of the cow-calf enterprise for many years. This has allowed for analysis and assessment of the cow-calf enterprise on individual operations.  The data available through this process has provided the opportunity for benchmarking to be completed against the averages and against the data based on profitability levels.  Reports have included looking at differences between high-, medium-, and low-profit producers, with the most recent report covering cow-calf enterprises in the KFMA database from 2014-2018 (http://agmanager.info/livestock-meat/production-economics/differences-between-high-medium-and-low-profit-cow-calf-1). Continue reading “Using Data to Identify Management Practice Impact on Profitability”

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”

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”

Response of vegetation to flooding

By Walt Fick, extension rangeland management specialist

Excessive rainfall in much of Kansas in 2019 has caused flooding.  Vegetation response to flooding depends primarily on duration and frequency. Flooding impacts the amount of oxygen, carbon dioxide, temperature, and light available for photosynthesis.  Impeded gas exchange results in a depletion of carbohydrate reserves, reduced energy available to the plant, disrupts cells, and impairs nutrient uptake, resulting in plant death.  Loss of vegetation is also temperature dependent.  It takes fewer days of submergence to cause stand loss as soil temperatures increase. Continue reading “Response of vegetation to flooding”