Beef Tips

Author: Sandy Johnson

Options for managing cows through the winter with limited forages

by Jaymelynn Farney, beef systems specialist, Parsons, KS

Drought-stressed pastureThe drought that plagued most of the state through the previous winter and this summer was a perfect storm that has some operations concerned about forages for this winter.  There are areas that have limited pasture growth and even with some of the recent rains, the rain may be too late or insufficient to change the pasture situation.  Through last winter, around the nation, there were producers that fed more hay than typical and that has used up a significant amount of hay reserves.  Given all these factors, cattle producers need to find alternative feedstuffs to maintain current cow numbers.  This article will address a few things to think about when trying to stretch forages. Continue reading “Options for managing cows through the winter with limited forages”

Drought challenges linger despite welcome rains

By Bob Weaber, extension cow-calf specialist

drought-stressed pasture after rainFor many producers in Kansas, the last couple of weeks have brought much needed rain to our rangeland and helped fill ponds on which we depend for watering livestock.  Much of central and northeast Kansas received 2 – 10 inches of rain over the Labor Day weekend.  Undoubtably, the rain was welcomed by many and does much to relieve the short surface water supplies. The spring and summer of 2018 will be remembered by many cattle producers due to the hot and dry conditions that persisted. The lack of rain resulted in subpar forage production for both cool and warm season grasslands. As a result, cattle producers will face a wide range of lingering effects of the drought over the coming months and perhaps years.

The lingering effects of a drought can be broadly classified into cow nutritional effects, cow reproductive effects, calf performance effects and rangeland/forage effects. All will take time for recovery but in each case, careful management can hasten the progression of recovery. Continue reading “Drought challenges linger despite welcome rains”

Tally Time- Use of parentage testing in commercial operations

by Sandy Johnson, extension beef specialist, Colby, KS

One of the options now available to producers with multi-sire pastures is to identify offspring parentage.   Research using parentage tests have shown us the wide range in number of offspring sired by bulls in these setting.  Despite economic difference between offspring of sires, for most commercial producers determining parentage of all offspring it is not currently cost effective.  However, it may pay to determine parentage in certain situations. Continue reading “Tally Time- Use of parentage testing in commercial operations”

Access workshop materials from Applied Reproductive Strategies in Beef Cattle meeting

Beef Reproduction Task Force LogoOver 200 cattlemen, industry representatives and academia interested in increasing the reproductive efficiency of beef cattle gathered at the Ruidoso Convention Center, Ruidoso, N.M., for the 2018 Applied Reproductive Strategies in Beef Cattle symposium Aug. 29-30.

The newsroom at the meeting website (appliedreprostrategies.com) provides summaries of the presentations, proceedings, audio and slides from the various speakers.  Each presentation was shared via Facebook live on the Beef Reproduction Task Force Facebook page and the Angus Journal’s Facebook page.  Take advantage of these great resources to sharpen your skills on your own time schedule.

Managing Footrot in Beef Cattle

by A.J. Tarpoff, DVM, MS, extension beef veterinarian
Red Angus Females

During the summer 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 treatment considerations. Continue reading “Managing Footrot in Beef Cattle”

Considerations for use of drought-stressed corn for cattle

by Jaymelynn Farney, beef systems specialist, Parsons, KS

Throughout Kansas, there are areas of extreme drought and even in areas that show adequate moisture on the drought monitor, rain has been very “spotty” so some corn is beginning to look tough.  Luckily, cattle are one potential option to salvage some value if the corn crop does not look like it will yield.  Continue reading “Considerations for use of drought-stressed corn for cattle”

Tally Time – BIF meeting provides more evidence: you can’t manage what you don’t measure

By Sandy Johnson, extension beef specialist, Colby, KS

The recent Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) Conference marked the organization’s 50th meeting, and this landmark provided a good opportunity for reflection.  Over the years, BIF has sought industry cooperation in applying science to improve beef cattle genetics.   When the first performance data was collected, a hot topic was if anything other than visual phenotypic selection was appropriate for the industry.  While phenotypic evaluations for traits not easily measured are still part of selection, collection of data and development of EPDs have allowed the industry to make significant changes in animal performance. A key role that BIF has played is the standardization of performance records and procedures to do so. Continue reading “Tally Time – BIF meeting provides more evidence: you can’t manage what you don’t measure”

“Clean-Up” Now Pays Off Later in the Season

By Herschel George, Watershed Specialist and Pat Murphy, Biological and Agricultural Engineering

It’s mid-winter and we are looking forward to moving cattle to new grass!  New grass means an opportunity to stop feeding hay and getting the cattle out of the muddy conditions.  New grass season is also the time to “Clean-Up” the manure and waste hay around the winter feeding site(s).

Feeding site maintenance can improve cattle health and performance, protect groundwater and surface water, reduce odor, and reduce insect populations. It does take some time and effort to properly clean feeding sites, but the benefits far outweigh the negatives. Continue reading ““Clean-Up” Now Pays Off Later in the Season”

Tally Time – Determine Estrous Response to Optimize Artificial Insemination Expenses

by Sandy Johnson, Extension Beef Specialist, Colby, KS

For an increasing number of producers, artificial insemination (AI) and estrus synchronization are tools that help them reach their production goals and allow them to take advantage of genetic choices only available through AI.  Reduced risk of calving difficulty from use of high accuracy calving ease sires on replacement heifers is a great advantage to AI users.

Fixed-time AI protocols have allowed producers to eliminate the time and expense of heat detection and still achieve industry-acceptable pregnancy rates to AI.  However, information about estrous status at AI may allow producers to target expenditures for AI more effectively.  While this may seem hard to understand coming from someone who has spent years talking about fixed-time AI, let me share some research that will explain further. Continue reading “Tally Time – Determine Estrous Response to Optimize Artificial Insemination Expenses”

Differences Between High-, Medium-, and Low-Profit Cow-Calf Producers: An Analysis of 2012-2016 Kansas Farm Management Association Cow-Calf Enterprise

By Dustin L. Pendell and Kevin L. Herbel, Ag Economics

The economic returns to beef cow-calf producers vary considerably over time (Figure 1) due to a number of factors, including the cattle cycle. The record high average return in 2014 was a result of a drought and strengthening beef demand. Although beef demand has been relatively strong in 2015 and 2016, herd expansion has led to larger supplies, lower cattle prices and lower returns to the cow-calf enterprise. The 2012 to 2016 Kansas Farm Management Association summary of data from cow-calf enterprises has lessons for producers given the wide range of variability inherent to this industry. Continue reading “Differences Between High-, Medium-, and Low-Profit Cow-Calf Producers: An Analysis of 2012-2016 Kansas Farm Management Association Cow-Calf Enterprise”