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Estrus Synchronization and the Breeding Season - Resources to Review for 2020

Latest Updates from beef.unl.edu - Fri, 03/20/2020 - 13:26
Wednesday, April 1, 2020

For most producers the spring breeding season is still a ways off, but now is a good time to review estrus synchronization protocols and develop a plan for this year.  There are several Extension resources that can be helpful in preparing for the upcoming breeding season.


Simple Synchronization of Cows - One Injection, One Time through the Chute, and Bull Breed

Latest Updates from beef.unl.edu - Fri, 03/20/2020 - 11:43
Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Have you wanted to have more calves born earlier in your calving season, but did not want to deal with the increase in labor, cost and facilities to utilize estrus synchronization and artificial insemination?  The protocol shown (Figure 1.) can increase the number of cows coming into estrus early in the breeding season, with one time through the chute, one injection, and breeding using only natural service.


General Management Considerations to Increase the Proportion of Early Calving Heifers and Cows

Latest Updates from beef.unl.edu - Fri, 03/20/2020 - 11:36
Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Artificial insemination (AI) is the most powerful tool cow-calf producers have to improve beef cattle genetics. Still, they have been slow to adopt this technology due to the time and labor of heat checking and a market structure that until recently did not reward genetic improvement. However, markets are now rewarding improved genetics (e.g. premiums) and improved fixed time AI (FTAI) protocols make it easier for the cow-calf producer to use AI.


Nebraska Range Short Course June 22 - 25, 2020

Latest Updates from beef.unl.edu - Fri, 03/20/2020 - 10:22
Wednesday, April 1, 2020

The Nebraska Range Short Course is scheduled for June 22 to 25, 2020 on the campus of Chadron State College. The short course is sponsored by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Chadron State College, and the Nebraska Section of the Society for Range Management. It is designed to provide individuals who have a background in ranch, natural resource, or wildlife management an opportunity to increase their knowledge in many topics associated with the field of range management.


Join Us for Boredom Buster Challenges!

Latest Updates from Statewide 4-H - Thu, 03/19/2020 - 19:09

Tune in every Monday and Wednesday afternoon at 2:00 PM CT/1:00 PM MT for Nebraska 4-H's Boredom Buster Challenge! Each week, youth will be given a problem to solve using materials found in their home. Through these hands-on virtually guided challenges youth will learn about entrepreneurship, healthy living, science, technology, and more! Each session will be recorded and made available for on-demand viewing. Youth do not need to be 4-H members to participate. 

Register now!

What Should My Pastures Look Like? Interpreting Rangeland Monitoring Data

Latest Updates from beef.unl.edu - Thu, 03/19/2020 - 16:56
Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Conducting rangeland monitoring is an important task to help managers understand how rangeland management practices affect plant communities and soil health. A network of knowledge exchange between cattle producers and scientists can help this data become more meaningful and useful in an adaptive rangeland management framework. The Sandhills Rangeland Monitoring Cooperative (SRMC) is a new collaborative project between UNL Extension and cattle producers in the Nebraska Sandhills.


Considerations for Successful Estrus Synchronization Programs

Latest Updates from beef.unl.edu - Thu, 03/19/2020 - 15:42
Wednesday, April 1, 2020

With spring calving in full swing, it is a good time to start thinking about if your cows are prepared for breeding season. Making sure your cows are in a good body condition score prior to calving is one of the most important steps to ensuring your cows stay on track to rebreed whether you plan to turn bulls out, synchronize, AI, or a combination. If you plan to utilize synchronization to tighten your breeding season, there are a few things you should consider.


Join Us for Living Room Learning!

Latest Updates from Statewide 4-H - Mon, 03/16/2020 - 15:44

Tune in every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon at 2:00 PM CT/1:00 PM MT for Nebraska 4-H's Living Room Learning! Each day, youth will participate in a hands-on virtually guided activity where they will learn about healthy living, science, technology, and more! Each session will focus on a new activity that can be done with materials found at home. Youth do not need to be 4-H members to participate.

Register now!

COVID-19 Response

Latest Updates from Statewide 4-H - Sun, 03/15/2020 - 13:36

Nebraska 4-H takes the health and safety of our community very seriously and we are carefully monitoring the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation.

As United States and global health officials continue to address the spread of the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 infection, health and emergency preparedness officials at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln are monitoring the situation in collaboration with our university and governmental partners. In doing our part to be responsible for convening large groups of people, we are carefully reviewing calendars and determining how we proceed with each scheduled event. This will be a fluid process as we continue to monitor all available information in the days and weeks ahead. In doing our part to be responsible about convening large groups of people, we are carefully reviewing calendars and determining how we proceed with each scheduled event. This will be a fluid process as we continue to monitor all available information in the days and weeks ahead.

Presently, we have made the decision to cancel all events scheduled for March 16-29. While this was an extremely difficult decision, we are putting the health and well-being of our staff/families/youth at the forefront. From March 30 - May 9, Nebraska 4-H programming will resume in a virtual format. This includes all scheduled educational programs, competitive events, and meetings hosted by Nebraska 4-H.

For up to date information regarding Nebraska 4-H's response to COVID-19, including state-level event cancellations and postponements, visit 4h.unl.edu/covid-19.

Nebraska 4-H COVID-19 Response Website

4-H Event Postponement

Latest Updates from Statewide 4-H - Thu, 03/12/2020 - 15:28

Due to concerns surrounding the spread of COVID-19, Nebraska 4-H has decided to postpone the following upcoming events:

  • 4-H Chick Days, originally scheduled for March 14, 2020
  • 4-H Horse Stampede, originally scheduled for March 28, 2020
  • 4-H Companion Animal Challenge, originally scheduled for March 28, 2020

Please stay tuned to specific program pages for more information and details regarding rescheduling.

4-H Chick Days4-H Horse Stampede4-H Companion Animal Challenge

4-H Photography Showcase - March

Latest Updates from Statewide 4-H - Wed, 03/11/2020 - 10:24

Windmill by Lauren Burhman (15), Cuming County

"This photo was taken at my home in Northwest Cuming County. I like how it shows the beauty of Nebraska with the corn, sky and windmill. I received purple ribbons on this photo at the Cuming County and the Nebraska State Fair."

Flaunt your photography, and submit your favorite photo for a chance for it to be showcased online by Nebraska 4-H!

The NEW 4-H Photography Showcase offers a project exhibition opportunity beyond traditional print media. 4-H'ers are invited to submit their favorite photos through the online submission form. Through this opportunity, youth are encouraged to practice and apply skills learned in their photography projects throughout the year. Each month, a new photo will be selected from the submissions and showcased online by Nebraska 4-H. 

Submit Your PhotographyView Past Showcase Photography

Nebraska 4-H Members Show at Omaha Fashion Week

Latest Updates from Statewide 4-H - Mon, 03/09/2020 - 15:31

Congratulations to Nebraska's most talented student designers! Omaha Fashion Week kicked off with a Student Night on Tuesday, February 25. Over 50 looks by high school student designers were shown on the runway as OFW kicked off its spring 2020 season at the Omaha Design Center. Over 1000 students and guests were in the audience to watch the runway show and pre-show panel discussion.

Emcee Waverle Monroe of KETV NewsWatch 7 brought the show to life! Lights dimmed and the show began with Joslyn’s Fashion Arts Mentor Program in partnership with Yates Community Center, full of creative looks in floral and iridescent prints. Omaha South High School kept the show going with clean lines and tailored pieces. Nebraska FCCLA hit the runway, mixing minimalist looks with euphoric pieces. Joslyn Art Museum’s Kent Bellows Mentoring Program finished out the first half of the show with bold patterns and statement pieces on the Allure Med Spa Runway to Beauty.

Develop Model Management models styled by the Omaha Fashion Week Beauty Alliance lined up backstage, ready to present breathtaking collections during the second half. Collections from Omaha Central High School captured the audience’s attention with edgy pieces and pops of color. Nebraska 4-H mixed classic business pieces with shimmery formal wear. The final collection from Burke High School closed the show, with funky streetwear and dramatic pops of red!

Nebraska 4-H members applied to participate in the 4-H collection. Garment entries were to be fashion-forward, runway appropriate, and display high-quality construction. The collection features garments with high-level skill and creativity.

The 4-H collection consisted of twelve garments from across the state and featured the following 4-H members:

  • Kiersten Preister of Humphrey – Platte County
  • Matalie Wallin of Imperial – Chase County
  • Amber Gonzalez of McCook – Red Willow County
  • Mariah Dather of Bloomfield – Knox County
  • Karla Herrarte of Lexington – Dawson County
  • Saidi Ringenberg of Lexington – Dawson County
  • Sydni Ringenberg of Lexington – Dawson County
  • Audrey Glaubius of Wisner – Cuming County
  • AnnaLiese (Anni) Reha of Hampton – Hamilton County
  • Ellie Babcock of Waverly – Lancaster County
  • Addison Zook of David City – Butler County
  • Mackenzie Sudbeck of Wynot – Cedar County

In addition, Omaha Fashion Week panels select one winning designer each night of fashion week. This year was extra special because one of our 4-H’ers won the designer prize of the night! Congratulations to Amber Gonzales on her $500 prize for the best Student Night design!!

Ranch Equipment - Needed or Nice to Have?

Latest Updates from beef.unl.edu - Thu, 03/05/2020 - 11:42
Wednesday, April 1, 2020

For a cow-calf enterprise, the second largest expense after grazed and harvested feed is often overhead expenses related to labor and equipment.  In ranching, an overhead expense is one that doesn’t change very much based on the number of cows that are in production.  For example, the pickup, tractor, ATV, trailer, feeding equipment, and working facilities used to care for 150 cows would also likely be adequate to care for 500 cows.  On a cost per cow unit basis, spreading that equipment cost over 500 cows versus 150 cows drastically reduces the equipment cost per cow. 


Benefits of Reading Aloud

Latest Updates from child.unl.edu - Tue, 03/03/2020 - 08:36
Image source: http://www.pexels.com

Parents want what’s best for their children, and many ask what expensive toys they should buy, what extracurricular activities they should be involved in, or if they should be playing classical music at home to advance brain development. 

Jim Trelease, the author of The Read-Aloud Handbook, has a straightforward answer in regards to what’s best for children.

He says, “Read to your children.

Starting at birth, reading with children puts them on the path to success. In fact, researchers determined that reading aloud to young children is the single most important thing that parents can do to prime children for school success.

Here are three benefits of reading aloud with children.

Benefit #1: Increased Vocabulary and Sophisticated Language Patterns

When it comes to prekindergarten skills, vocabulary is a prime predictor of school success or failure. When you read aloud to children, they hear words that do not ordinarily come up in conversations. Because of this, it expands a child’s vocabulary faster than anything else does. 

The value picture books play in vocabulary development should not be underestimated. Many of them are written grammatically correct and include sophisticated writing that is rich in content and meaning. As children listen to these stories, their vocabularies strengthen without effort. 

Benefit #2: Ability to Make Connections

Reading comprehension is critical. We take the work of decoding out when we read aloud. This lets children use their mental energy to enjoy and make connections, which improves reading comprehension. 

Children need to understand what they read and apply it to what they know. That is making connections. Children connect the information they encounter for the first time with other facts and ideas they have already encountered. They compare it to other stories they’ve heard, personal events they’ve encountered, and to the world beyond themselves. 

Without even intending to, children make connections every time a book is opened. Stories allow them to slip into another world, think deeply, bond with characters, and educate their hearts and mind.   

Benefit #3: A Love for Reading

More important than teaching children, the actual skill of reading is to cultivate natural curiosity and love of reading. When we focus on nurturing children’s love of stories, we get both kids who can read as well as kids who do read. A healthy reading life has a tremendous impact on children’s academic success.

In a world full of noise and the hustle and bustle, pulling a child on your lap and reading is one of the best uses of your time and energy. It may seem simple, but being fully present and sharing good stories makes a huge and lasting impact because a childhood filled with stories inspires and nurtures children. Therefore, read widely to spark that ember. Author Linda Sue Park said, “A book can’t change the world on its own, but a book can change readers. And readers? They can change the world.”

So, the next time you spend time reading with your children, just remember, each time you turn the page you just might be changing the world.


Mackenzie, S. (2018). The read-aloud family: making meaningful and lasting connections with your kids. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

National Association for the Education of Young Children. (1998). Learning to Read and Write: Developmentally Appropriate Practices for Young Children. Retrieved from https://www.naeyc.org/sites/default/files/globally-shared/downloads/PDFs/resources/position-statements/PSREAD98.PDF

TEDxBeaconStreet. (2015, December). Can A Children’s Book Change the World? Linda Sue Park. [Video File]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/40xz0afCjnM


Peer Reviewed by Linda Reddish, Extension Educator, The Learning Child and Lynn DeVries, Extension Educator, The Learning Child

Make sure to follow The Learning Child on social media for more research-based early childhood education resources!

Foreign Animal Disease: Implications for Traceability

Latest Updates from beef.unl.edu - Fri, 02/28/2020 - 15:02
Sunday, March 1, 2020

Two statements commonly spoken by market analysts and producers are: 1) beef is a differentiated product and 2) global beef supply impacts domestic prices. These are so frequently quoted that we might forget how these two statements imply modifications in local risk management and production practices. So, how do these statements apply to a hypothetical Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) situation in the United States (US)?

FMD Implications for US Beef Supply


Value Added Fed and Feeder Cattle Practices: Are they Paying?

Latest Updates from beef.unl.edu - Fri, 02/28/2020 - 14:16
Sunday, March 1, 2020

A lot of time is spent on analyzing trends and movements in the quality and yield grade of slaughtered cattle and for good reason. These premiums indicate whether the market is willing to pay for producing a higher quality product. As producers respond to these premiums or discounts the relative share of quality graded cattle changes. For example, as the Choice-Select spread widens there is a greater incentive to feed cattle longer.


Consumers Pay Organic Premiums – Chicken is King and Beef Lags

Latest Updates from beef.unl.edu - Fri, 02/28/2020 - 13:55
Sunday, March 1, 2020

Local” and “Organic” are two forms of production that have received considerable public attention in the last 10 years. The label of “Local” and “Organic” are noticeably vague and at times can cause confusion among consumers. The USDA has no specific definition of the “Local” label but work to promote locally grown products.


Is the Price Right?

Latest Updates from beef.unl.edu - Mon, 02/24/2020 - 14:48
Sunday, March 1, 2020

With many producers utilizing annual forage/cover crops and prevent plant acres, the amount of “non-traditional” forage options on the market have increased this past year.  As long as we keep an eye out for potential nitrate issues, sorghum/sudangrass, milo, or small grains like oats, rye, and wheat can all make great forage options as hay or silage.  Whether you are looking to buy or sell these products, answering the question, “Is the price right?” can often be a difficult undertaking.


Registration opens for 2020 Nebraska Ranch Practicum

Latest Updates from beef.unl.edu - Mon, 02/24/2020 - 14:30
Sunday, March 1, 2020

Ranchers interested in learning about the latest cutting-edge research in range livestock production from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln are encouraged to register for the 2020 Nebraska Ranch Practicum offered by Nebraska Extension.


Economics of Yearling Systems – A Review

Latest Updates from beef.unl.edu - Mon, 02/24/2020 - 11:00
Sunday, March 1, 2020

This article is a summary of the 2020 Nebraska Beef Cattle Report, “Economics of Yearling Systems.”