Beef Tips

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”

Use BeefBasis.com to evaluate alternative weaning dates

By Glynn Tonsor, livestock and meat marketing specialist

Calendar year 2019 is sure to go down as a memorable on many fronts for Kansas cattle producers.  The abnormal weather conditions may have cow-calf producers considering several adjustments in their operation.  As with any decision, it is prudent to gather information and assess the situation before proceeding.  While some producers may seek to wean later given additional forage availability, here some base information is shared for producers considering weaning calves earlier in the fall than normal.  Projected revenue is the focus; however, producers are encouraged to utilize personalized cost impacts to guide their final decision. Continue reading “Use BeefBasis.com to evaluate alternative weaning dates”

Helpful items from other K-State departments and USDA

Mosquitoes: How to avoid being “Bitten” by this “Sucking” insectJune 28, 2019 Extension Entomology Newsletter

Bluestem Pasture Release 2019 – The 2019 results on bluestem pasture leases utilize the responses from the 2019 Kansas Bluestem Pasture Survey conducted from January through April of 2019 over the 14 Bluestem counties. It is important to point out that the format of the 2019 survey is different from previous surveys. The 2019 survey changes were in response to the long-time request to change the questions to better reflect bluestem prairie leasing practices. The new survey format incorporated suggestions from a focus group of report users that included landowners, livestock owners, livestock care providers, and Flint Hills extension agents. Because of the format change, discussion on leasing rates are not directly comparable to prior years. Please refer to previous Bluestem releases for historical leasing rates.

2018 Kansas Summer Annual Forage Hay and Silage Variety Trial Summary.  In 2018, summer annual forage variety trials were conducted across Kansas near Garden City, Hays, and Scandia. All sites evaluated hay and silage entries. Companies were able to enter varieties into any possible combinations of research sites, so not all sites had all varieties. Across the sites, a total of 77 hay varieties and 87 silage varieties were evaluated.

Kansas weather outlook: Late summer and early fall 2019
Wet conditions continue to dominate the state.  May 2019 was the wettest month on record, leaving saturated soils and full streams, ponds, and reservoirs. The outlook for July calls for a continuation of that pattern with an increased chance of wetter-than-normal conditions across Kansas. The temperature outlook favors a cooler-than-normal pattern across the entire Central Plains. A normal or slightly below normal precipitation pattern for July would be favorable in the eastern divisions, where saturated soils continue to be problematic. Cool temperatures would slow the normal drying pattern. While slightly cooler temperatures could reduce heat stress, it would also increase disease pressure. In addition, with low evaporation rates, flooding could also be an issue due to the fact that streams, ponds, and reservoirs are full.  The complete article and other topics can be found in the Agronomy Department June 28, 2109 E-Update

KSU Corn Market Outlook on June 22, 2019: “A ‘Short’ U.S. Corn Crop Market Scenario in “New Crop” MY 2019/20”

An analysis of Corn Market Outlook on June 24, 2019 for “new crop” 2019/20 marketing year is provided in the following article from Kansas State University Department of Agricultural Economics.  This information follows the USDA World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) and other USDA reports through mid-day on Monday, June 24, 2019, with info from the USDA NASS Crop Progress reports on June 17, 2019.  Note that the USDA Acreage Report to be released on Friday, June 28th will provide more solid numbers on U.S. corn planted acreage in 2019 – from which more accurate supply-demand and price projections can then be made. More at Focused on Grains Blog– Grain & Bioenergy Markets Plus Crop Risk Management by Daniel O’Brien, Colby and Monte Vandeveer, Garden City; extension agricultural economists.

Prevented Plant website

– USDA Risk Management Agency

  • Prevented Planting Insurance Provisions – Flood (revised June 2019) – notable excerpts :You may-
    • Plant a cover crop during the late planting period and receive a full prevented planting payment, but for the 2019 crop year do not hay, graze or cut for silage (haylage or baleage) this cover crop before September 1, or otherwise harvest it at any time. If you hay, graze or cut for silage (haylage or baleage) it before September 1, you will not receive a prevented planting payment for your first crop. If the cover crop is harvested at any time, you will not receive a prevented planting payment (Note: Cutting a cover crop for silage, haylage, and baleage will be treated the same as haying or grazing.);
    • Plant a cover crop after the late planting period and for the 2019 crop year hay, graze or cut for silage (haylage or baleage) it before September 1 and receive 35 percent of a prevented planting payment for your first crop or wait to hay, graze or cut for silage (haylage or baleage) it on or after September 1 and receive a full prevented planting payment for your first crop; or
    • Plant a second crop after the late planting period (if you are also prevented from planting through the late planting period). You can also plant after the final planting date if no late planting period is available. You may receive a prevented planting payment equal to 35 percent of the prevented planting guarantee.

(These changes were made for 2019 only and producers should not plan that the policy will remain the same for subsequent years)

Prevented or Delayed Planting -Farmers.gov US Department of Agriculture
Did heavy rainfall, flooding, or other weather event prevent or delay planting on your farm? USDA is here to help farmers navigate challenges when it comes to prevented planting. USDA offers:

  • Prevented planting coverage through USDA-administered crop insurance policies;
  • Technical and financial assistance in planting cover crops, a practice common on lands unable to be planted to an insured crop.

May 2019 Feedlot Facts

“Early Weaning: A Tool to Improve Cow Condition”

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

Early weaning may be one of the management tools that beef cattle producers should consider using this fall. The recent winter weather conditions have resulted in cows and replacement females that may be lacking body condition coming into the grazing season.

Yes, cows will likely pick up some body condition over the upcoming grazing season. However, it can be difficult to put condition on lactating cows, especially higher producing females, even under ideal grazing conditions. Therefore, some cows may still be lacking condition during the later months of the grazing season. One of the easiest ways to manage cow nutrient demands is by weaning the calf. This reduces the energy requirements of the cow by 25-30%. This effectively means that the nutrients consumed by the cow that were being used to sustain lactation may now be used to improve cow condition.  A study designed to evaluate preconditioning duration conducted at K-State documented that cow body condition scores improved as calf age at weaning decreased. The cows on this study remained on native grass pastures following weaning and the observed increase in body condition score in this study occurred over a 60 day period. The results of this study suggest that early weaning calves may improve body condition of cows grazing native pastures late in the grazing season.

Early weaning is a management tool, most often associated with drought. However, it may be an even more valuable management strategy to manage the nutrient demands associated with lactation and improve cow condition, especially on young cows. Additionally, early weaned calves may be managed to target a number of different value-added programs or sales.

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

May 2019 Management Minute

“Hiring the Best Person”

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

Whether you are a small business with just a few employees or a larger enterprise with several employees, hiring the right person for a position is essential. Making a good hiring decision can inspire others and improve the operations productivity. The unfortunate truth is that the number of qualified applicants for most skilled position isn’t large. “Good people are truly hard to find.”  So what can you as a potential employer do to attract and hire the best person for a position? There are many thoughts on this topic.  However, most experts agree that knowing what you are looking for and clearly stating the roles and responsibilities of the position is a great place to start. Applicants want/need to know the expectations of the position. Another point of consensus on the topic is to involve others in the hiring process. Allowing the candidates to interact with others in the organization through tours, or an informal dinner, can be a great way to know whether a person is a good fit.  An informal setting often allows an employer to gather more information about the applicant than the traditional interview questions can allow. People spend a great deal of time at work, thus co-workers, colleagues and the culture of the organization is important to both parties. Additionally, different people have different perspectives on the applicants, and usually there is some degree of consensus. Lastly, be prepared to move quickly with a competitive offer. The best people will usually have multiple opportunities.

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

Avoid a winter hangover this breeding season

by Sandy Johnson, extension beef specialist, Colby

Winter has been long and difficult.  Cold and wet weather increased energy demands. Cows could be thinner than normal after calving and winter conditions could have negatively influenced bull fertility as well.  Hopefully, weather will support good forage growth this spring but that remains an unknown for now.  Monitoring breeding activity and use of timely pregnancy detection are risk management tools that should be used routinely but are especially important given the recent weather challenges. Continue reading “Avoid a winter hangover this breeding season”

Improve cow condition with earlier than normal weaning

by Justin Waggoner, extension beef systems specialist, Garden City

Although it may seem a little too early to think about weaning. Early weaning may be one of the management tools that beef cattle producers may need to consider using this fall. The recent winter weather conditions have resulted in cows and replacement females that may be lacking body condition coming into the grazing and breeding season. Continue reading “Improve cow condition with earlier than normal weaning”

Spring cleaning of winter feeding sites important

by Joel DeRouchey, environmental management

The winter of 2018-2019 is one that producers will want to soon forget.  In many parts of Kansas, extended cold periods with excess moisture in the form of snow and rain caused significant surface and drainage “damage” to confined pen surfaces. Additionally, many producers utilized higher than normal amounts of bedding for calving areas and in pens for confined cattle to have a dry area to rest and reduce their environmental stress. However, this additional bedding material also now must be removed when cleaning pens or calving areas. Continue reading “Spring cleaning of winter feeding sites important”

Symposium on Bovine Anaplasmosis to be hosted by K-State College of Veterinary Medicine

K-State’s College of Veterinary Medicine will host its second Symposium on Anaplasmosis May 20, 2019 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Manhattan, Kansas.

The producer-oriented workshop will highlight the current state of anaplasmosis in the U.S. with an emphasis on Kansas beef cattle. The workshop will feature presentations by national experts on the economic impact of anaplasmosis, prevalence of anaplasmosis, anaplasmosis diagnostic considerations, anaplasmosis treatment and prevention, and the Veterinary Feed Directive. Continue reading “Symposium on Bovine Anaplasmosis to be hosted by K-State College of Veterinary Medicine”

April 2019 Feedlot Facts

“The Impacts of a Tough Winter”
By: Justin Waggoner

One of the common topics of discussion, regardless of what segment of the beef industry you operate in has been winter and the collective impacts of a winter that was wetter and colder than most of us in Kansas and to some extent the Central United States are accustomed to. Although, green is slowly replacing the brown in the pastures, the effects of this winter in the cattle industry may be felt for longer than many of us would like. The combination of wet and cold conditions increases energy expenditures and maintenance energy requirements of the animal.

In the feeding sector cattle performance, most notably feed conversion (lbs. feed: lbs. gain) increases. In the March Focus on Feedlot report, (February closeouts) the average steer feed conversion was 7.08 lbs. feed: lb. gain. In February 2018, the average steer feed conversion was 6.15, lbs. feed: lb. gain. Thus, 0.93 more lbs. of feed (15%) were required to produce a pound of live weight gain in steers marketed in February of 2019 versus 2018. More feed ultimately results in higher cost of gains and lower profit potential. Overall steer death loss was similar at 1.68% in February 2019 and 1.97 in 2018. Feed conversion will likely remain high for next two to three months and death losses could foreseeably trend upward as cattle placed on feed during the coldest months may have experienced greater health risk and cold stress early in the feeding period.

In the cow-calf sector, winter conditions have resulted in cows that may be lacking condition or replacement heifers that are lighter than they would normally be under normal conditions. Body condition and plane of nutrition drives reproductive performance, which is one, if not the, most important determinant of productivity/profitability on a cow-calf operation. It takes longer for thin cows to begin cycling, which means that thin cows are at greater risk of being open and if cows do begin cycling they will be bred toward the end of the 2019 breeding season and subsequently calve later in 2020. Later calving typically results in younger, lighter calves at weaning, which ultimately results in less pounds of sale weight and dollars being generated by those cows in the Fall of 2020.

A large part of managing cattle is responding to weather conditions be it a cold, wet winter or drought. Cattle feeders may adjust market endpoints and cow-calf producers may consider adjusting breeding seasons, early weaning, or other ways to add additional market value to calves. The good news is the days and nights are getting warmer, and every day brings us closer to summer.

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