Beef Tips

October 2020 Feedlot Facts

“Focus on Feedlots: Spring 2020”

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

There has been considerable interest in the K-State Focus on Feedlots report and more specifically fed cattle performance during the Spring of 2020. The graphs below illustrate average days on feed, final weights and feed conversion of steers and heifers in 2020, 2019 and 2018 in the Focus on Feedlots data.

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

October 2020 Management Minute

“Video Conferencing Fatigue”

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

Video conferencing fatigue (i.e. Zoom Fatigue) is unfortunately become a term that many in the workplace have become familiar with. In today’s business environment, we are meeting more virtually than ever before. What exactly is it that makes a two-hour remote meeting more tiresome than the same meeting in person? Experts suggest that video conferencing is more difficult because we have to work harder to stay engaged and some aspects of video conferencing are more stressful than we think. The most common source of distraction is multi-tasking while on a video conference. The platform lends itself to reading emails, and do other things at the same time, but these distractions are more stressful than most realize. Another source of stress is that we become more aware of what is behind our cameras, that pile of papers that need filed on our desk or all the other stuff that accumulates in an office. The third common source of stress is simply that technology often lets us down and the fear of an unstable internet connection or mic failures during a meeting is real. So what can we do to make video conferencing less stressful?

1. Stay engaged in the meeting, take notes just as if you were in a real face-to-face meeting.

2. Don’t be afraid to turn off your camera and mute your microphone. Just because it is a video conference does not mean you have to be on camera or that everyone needs to hear your dog barking. Do your part to minimize distractions.

3. Organizers should schedule breaks. We all need mental, physical and visual breaks from our workstations and screens.

4. Have an agenda for the meeting and attempt to make conferences held remotely as short as possible. Consider what you can get accomplished during a 30-minute session when everyone is actively engaged.

5. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Things happen – internet connections become unstable, microphones quit working and cell phones still drop calls.

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

September 2020 Feedlot Facts

“Feedlot Heifer Performance in 2019”

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

Each year, I summarize the data from the K-State Focus on Feedlots, in an effort to document annual trends in fed cattle performance. The Focus on Feedlots data for heifers from 2019, 2018 and 2017 is summarized in the table below. The number of heifers marketed decreased in 2019 with more than 26,900 fewer heifers being marketed in 2019 than 2018. Heifer in weights were slightly lower, averaging 704 lbs in 2019. Final weights of heifers were on average 7 lbs lower in 2019 at 1265 lbs, compared to 1272 lbs in 2018. Heifer days on feed increased to 175 days, an increase of 9 days relative to the 166 days reported in 2018. Heifer average daily gain was similar across years, but feed conversion increased relative to 2018 and 2017. Death loss increased to 2.01% relative to 1.75% and1.64% death losses reported in 2018 and 2017, respectively.

Total cost of gain increased in 2019 to $89.48/cwt. Heifer cost of gain was $5.11/cwt greater on average than that of steers, $84.37/cwt versus $89.48/cwt.

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

September 2020 Management Minute

“Talent Management”

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

The concept of “Talent Management” came up in a recent conversation. This is the strategy which an organization or business uses to hire, manage, retain, and develop employees for leadership roles. Many businesses lose exceptionally talented employees because their strengths and talents were not recognized. Additionally, an effective talent management strategy is a mechanism to groom and develop future leaders and managers. Managers play a key role in an organization’s talent management strategy, as they must identify talented, exceptional employees. Managers also serve as mentors, providing coaching and feedback to develop employees. Research conducted by the American Society for Training and Development documented that those organizations with the most successful talent management systems also asked managers to discuss the talents and skills of their most talented employees with other managers and leaders. Discussing the organizations most talented employees creates an internal talent pool that various departments can draw from to fill current positions. Do you have exceptional employees in your organization? What is your talent management strategy?

Are you at risk of losing your best employees? For more information, contact Justin Waggoner at jwaggon@ksu.edu.

Dealing with Anaplasmosis

by Sandy Johnson, extension beef specialist, Colby and A.J. Tarpoff, DVM, beef extension veterinarian

A 2017 survey of herds across Kansas found Anaplasmosis positive herds in all reporting districts.  See the May 2018 Beef Tips for a summary.  It has been a more common problem in the eastern third of the state where prevalence is still higher, but increasingly noted across the state.  The disease is caused by the Anaplama marginale bacterium which lives in the red blood cells of infected animals.  Once an animal becomes infected, the body’s own immune system recognizes the abnormal red blood cells and removes the infected cells from the body. When the normal creation of new red bloods cells can’t keep up with the loss of the infected ones, the animal becomes anemic.  The loss of red blood cells leads to a decrease oxygen carrying ability which results in clinical signs of disease. It usually takes about a month from time of infection to clinical disease but the range is 6-70 days. Although this disease can be spread during any time of year, clinical cases are most common during the late summer and early fall when transmission threats increase.  Continue reading “Dealing with Anaplasmosis”

Role of the Bull in Poor Pregnancy Outcomes

By Sandy Johnson, extension beef specialist, Colby and Gregg Hanzlicek, DVM, Veterinary Diagnostic Lab

When the number of cows pregnant is far below expectations, poor reproductive performance by both cows and bulls must be considered.  Keep in mind that in some cases multiple issues may contribute. The focus of this piece will be on the bull. Continue reading “Role of the Bull in Poor Pregnancy Outcomes”

Spices Fed to Growing Heifers on Bromegrass Result in Increased Gains with Some Effects on Tick Populations

Alternative methods to antibiotics/chemical usage in cattle production have been of interest in recent years and essential oils/spices have been promoted to fill this niche. The purpose of this research was to evaluate effect of feeding spices on heifer gains and as a control method for ticks. Continue reading “Spices Fed to Growing Heifers on Bromegrass Result in Increased Gains with Some Effects on Tick Populations”

2019 Kansas Summer Annual Forage Hay and Silage Variety Trial

Data is now available from the 2019 summer annual forage variety trials 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 95 hay varieties, 99 sorghum silage varieties, and 12 corn silage varieties were evaluated.  The report (https://newprairiepress.org/kaesrr/vol6/iss6/1/) includes yield and forage quality data.

Feedlot Steer Performance in 2019

By Justin Waggoner, Ph.D., Beef Systems Specialist, Garden City

Each year I summarize the data from the K-State Focus on Feedlots in an effort to document annual trends in fed cattle performance. The Focus on Feedlot data for steers from 2019, 2018 and 2017 is summarized in the table below. In 2019, participating feedlots marketed 291,127 steers, approximately 58,000 fewer steers than were marketed in 2018. Continue reading “Feedlot Steer Performance in 2019”

“Early Weaning….It’s About the Cow”

By Justin Waggoner, Ph.D., Beef Systems Specialist, Garden City

Many cattle producers are weathering an exceptionally dry grazing season and may be considering early weaning calves. Many discussions about early weaning focus on managing lightweight calves with the benefits to the cow and the ranch becoming lost in the discussion. Continue reading ““Early Weaning….It’s About the Cow””