Beef Tips

Category: May 2020

Tally Time – This year’s calving distribution

By Sandy Johnson, Extension Beef Specialist, Colby

How did the calving season go this year?  For western Kansas, milder, drier weather was easier on both cows and calves.  However, given the stresses of last winter, cycling and rebreeding may have been delayed in some cows with calves being born later than expected.  In other cases, abundant spring moisture making “washy” grass (result is lower nutrient intake) may have hindered resumption of normal estrous cycles. The calving distribution from this year’s calf crop is your score card of how well nutritional and environmental challenges were met.   How did you do? Continue reading “Tally Time – This year’s calving distribution”

Evaluating Rules of Thumb for Grazing Management – Part 3

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.   In previous Beef Tips Newsletters, I listed some common rules of thumb, along with an explanation of whether or not the rule of thumb has any merit or basis of support.  You can go back and read Rules of Thumb 1-4 in the January Beef Tips, and Rules of Thumb 5-8 in the March Beef Tips.  This month, another four Rules of Thumb are listed, and a 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. Continue reading “Evaluating Rules of Thumb for Grazing Management – Part 3”

Variability in Production in Summer Planted Annual Forages for Grazing

Cover crops can provide benefits for soil health and crop production systems but they use moisture which can be limiting in lower rainfall areas such as western Kansas.  Post-wheat planted cover crops offer a potentially longer and more flexible grazing period than spring planted cover crops within wheat-based dryland cropping systems.  However, low available soil moisture and variable weather patterns at this time of year can make cover crop establishment and productivity highly variable. In addition, concerns regarding diminishing good wheat stubble, managing volunteer wheat to reduce disease transmission, and controlling weeds need to be considered. Continue reading “Variability in Production in Summer Planted Annual Forages for Grazing”

An Efficient Stocking Strategy for Grazing Replacement Heifers

Even though Kansas native rangelands often have steep slopes or shallow soils not con­ducive to many other uses other than livestock grazing, native rangeland and perennial grassland acres in Kansas have been declining. Cropland acreage over this same time frame has increased, and rangelands have also become more fragmented by small ranch­ettes and urbanization. Producers may be looking to increase production efficiency on a shrinking forage land base. Continue reading “An Efficient Stocking Strategy for Grazing Replacement Heifers”

Beef Improvement Federation Online Symposium Program Announced

This year’s BIF Research Symposium and Convention moves to virtual event scheduled for the week of June 8.

MANHATTAN, Kansas – It was announced on April 2 the Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) board of directors, along with the Florida 2020 BIF Research Symposium and Convention committee, made the decision to transition this year’s conference to an online format due to COVID-19.

BIF leadership is in the process of planning an updated symposium online. “Our BIF program committee working with the Florida group has honed the original schedule to work in the new online format,” says Joe Mushrush, BIF vice president and program chairman. “Our goal is to provide learning opportunities that will help producers continue to improve their bottom line focused on beef improvement. As our President Tommy Clark said last week, ‘Our mission as an organization is intact during this challenging time and we will continue to provide educational programing focused on how the beef industry can enhance value through genetic improvement.’” Continue reading “Beef Improvement Federation Online Symposium Program Announced”

Cowherd Mineral Supplement Selection Tips: Phosphorus

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

Cattle producers are anxiously preparing for the upcoming grazing season. Among those preparations is selecting a mineral supplement. It can be challenging to select a mineral program, as there are many different products and mineral formulations currently available. When evaluating mineral supplements, the phosphorous concentration may be used as a guide to determine if the mineral fits the production stage of the herd and forage base. Continue reading “Cowherd Mineral Supplement Selection Tips: Phosphorus”

Circumstances and Assumptions

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

The recent outbreak of Coronavirus (Covid-19) in the United States has affected the workplace in many different ways. The current situation has many of us, like myself, working from makeshift workstations located in spaces formerly known as dining rooms, living rooms, or bedrooms. These unforeseen circumstances have come with many challenges and made us appreciate items like our desks and office chairs designed for optimum functionality and long-term use. As humans, we often erroneously assume that everyone’s resources/environment (circumstances) are similar to our own. In this “new” work environment, that we find ourselves we cannot assume that people have the same resources available in their homes as they would have had at their former workstations. Continue reading “Circumstances and Assumptions”