Beef Tips

Category: January 2019

January 2019 Management Minute

“What’s Your Mission?”

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

Have you ever given any thought to what your organization, farm, feedlot or operation is really about? Do you have a mission statement, a set of core values that you believe your organization or operation embodies? Previously, I used to think that mission statements and core value statements were idealistic and a waste of thought. However, my attitude has changed. These statements provide the organization with a foundation, a clear objective that serves to guide the organization as it makes decisions that hopefully move the organization forward into the future. Regardless of the size of the enterprise, putting some thought into what an organization or business is really about has value. These statements do not have to be long or dramatic. I recently visited a family livestock operation in which the sign on the front lawn (along a major highway) simply said “Our Family Feeding Yours.” This simple statement tells everyone that drives by that this is a family operation that is foremost engaged in the process of sustaining not only themselves but other people. So challenge yourself a bit and ask yourself, “Why do you (or your business) do what you do?” What is your mission?

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

January 2019 Feedlot Facts

“Supplementing Cows During Cold Weather”

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

The New Year often brings with it some of the coldest months of the year. Most cattle producers know and appreciate that cold weather increases nutrient requirements. However, the real question is what should producers feed or supplement when the wind blows and the mercury barely registers on the thermometer. Cattle are most comfortable within the thermonuetral zone when temperatures are neither too warm nor cold. During the winter months cattle experience cold stress anytime the effective ambient temperature, which takes into account wind chill, humidity, etc., drops below the lower critical temperature. The lower critical temperature is influenced by both environmental and animal factors including hair coat and tissue insulation (body condition). The table below lists the estimated lower critical temperatures of cattle in good body condition with different hair coats. In wet conditions cattle can begin experiencing cold stress at 59°F, which would be a relatively mild winter day. However, if cattle have time to develop a sufficient winter coat the estimated lower critical temperature under dry conditions is 18°F.

Cold stress increases maintenance energy requirements but does not impact protein, mineral or vitamin requirements. The general rule of thumb (for a cow in good body condition, BCS = 5 or greater) is to increase the energy density of the ration by 1% for each degree (Fahrenheit) below the lower critical temperature. The classic response to cold stress in confinement situations is an increase in voluntary intake. However, it has been documented that grazing beef cows may spend less time grazing as temperatures decline below freezing, which reduces forage intake, and makes the challenge of meeting the cow’s nutrient requirements even greater. In many cases, feeding a greater amount of low-quality hay will replace grazed forages but may not provide sufficient energy. Therefore providing additional energy by feeding a relatively higher-quality hay or fiber-based supplement (DDGS, Corn gluten feed, or Soybean Hulls) may be required. If fiber-based energy sources are not available, small amounts (2-3 lbs) starch-based concentrates may also be used as energy supplements.

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

K-State’s Winter Ranch Management Series Set for February

The seminar series will focus on management and profit strategies for beef producers and allow producers to ask questions of their local, district and state extension specialists.

 MANHATTAN, Kan. – Strategies to mitigate environmental factors impacting reproduction is the theme of the 2019 Kansas State University Winter Ranch Management Seminar Series. Hosted at four sites across the state of Kansas the meetings will feature presentations and comments by extension educators on profit-enhancing strategies. Continue reading “K-State’s Winter Ranch Management Series Set for February”

Tally Time – Resolve to get a Personal Assistant for your Cow/Calf Operation in 2019

By Sandy Johnson, extension beef specialist, Colby, KS

Most of our farming and ranching enterprises would welcome a little more help from time to time.  That additional help can be hard to find or find with the skills desired.  In other cases, hiring help may put too much strain on the budget.  One-way cow/calf producers can make the time they do have go a bit further is by using an electronic personal assistant called the Management Minder.  It keeps track of key dates and activities as they relate to managing the herd and shows them to you on an electronic calendar.  Reminders automatically pop-up on your smart phone based on your inputs. There is some investment of time initially to set it up, but from that point on, it’s on the job working for you.  You can find the Management Minder at www.KSUBeef.org/managementminder. Continue reading “Tally Time – Resolve to get a Personal Assistant for your Cow/Calf Operation in 2019”

Counting the Cost of Silage Losses in your Operation

By Mike Brouk, ruminant nutritionist

Silage is often the base forage for the diets of growing cattle and the cow herd.  This past year, due to the drought, thousands of acres of drought-stricken corn and sorghum were harvested as silage.  A hidden cost of silage is associated with the shrink due to fermentation, storage, and feedout.  Total shrink from harvest through feeding can result in the loss of 5 to 40% of the dry matter harvested.  This is generally a hidden cost on most operations due to the lack of accurate records to measure shrink.  However, a few basic principles can help reduce losses. Continue reading “Counting the Cost of Silage Losses in your Operation”

Management of Mold and Quality Issues of Late-Harvested Forages

By Sandy Johnson, Extension Beef Specialist, Colby, Steve Ensley, DVM, K-State Veterinary Diagnostic Lab, and John Holman, Agronomy, Garden City

In some areas of Kansas, summer moisture produced good tonnage of forage sorghum and other forages intended for winter livestock feeding. Heavy windrows extended drying time and some forage that was on the ground for weeks received both rain and snow. As a result, much of that forage had evidence of mold. In heavy windrows, the mold may have only been on the top and bottom of the windrow with the center well preserved. In other cases, and especially in thin windrows, the hay may be moldy throughout and the leaves and stalks nearly black. In some reports, mold was bad enough to turn equipment black during baling. Continue reading “Management of Mold and Quality Issues of Late-Harvested Forages”