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Updated: 12 min 43 sec ago

How Many Pounds of Meat Can We Expect From A Beef Animal?

Wed, 07/15/2020 - 15:53
Saturday, August 1, 2020

Consumers who buy a live animal from a local cattle producer or 4-H member for custom processing are often surprised by the amount of beef they receive, the amount of freezer space needed and that they did not get back the entire live weight of the animal in retail cuts.  This article will discuss how to estimate how much meat you will receive when purchasing an animal to harvest.

Dressing Percentage is an important term to remember as it represents the portion of the live animal weight that transfers to the hot carcass weight.

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Pinkeye in Cattle

Tue, 06/30/2020 - 10:03
Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Driving or riding through a pen or pasture of cattle is a favorite chore for many producers.  Making sure our cattle have plenty of clean water, access to feed or forage and monitoring herd health are important aspects of daily care.  When examining cattle, one important disease not to overlook is pinkeye.  Pinkeye is a highly contagious infectious disease that not only affects cattle in Nebraska but worldwide. The incidence and severity of this common disease can vary widely from year to year.

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Phragmites / Common Reed

Mon, 06/29/2020 - 14:41
Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Early Detection and Rapid Response (EDRR) is a concept to identify potentially invasive species prior to or just as the establishment of the invasive is taking place.  An Integrated Pest Management plan (IPM) can be developed to manage, contain and eradicate the invasive species before it can spread further.  This will avoid costly, long-term control efforts.

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Silage for Beef Cattle Conference Moves to Free, Online-Only Webinar Series

Fri, 06/26/2020 - 17:06
Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Nebraska Extension, Lallemand Animal Nutrition and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach are hosting the third Silage for Beef Cattle Conference with one major change:  this year, the event will be a series of four, hour-long free webinars held from July 7 through Aug. 4, 2020.

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Annual Forages Planted in Middle to Late Summer can be Excellent Fall Feed

Fri, 06/26/2020 - 14:28
Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Dry conditions in many parts of the state are challenging producers to consider options for growing additional forage to provide feed for this fall and winter. In some parts of the state, less than 50% of long-term average precipitation has been received from the middle of April to the middle of June. This has severely impacted forage production from perennial dryland hay fields as well as yields from winter and spring annual forages.

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Pollinators and Nebraska Rangelands

Fri, 06/26/2020 - 11:50
Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Native rangelands are well known for their importance as a forage resource to beef cattle and other livestock. These same rangelands are also an essential resource for smaller six-legged foragers: insect pollinators. Insect pollinators include a diverse number of species of beetles, flies, wasps, butterflies, moths, and bees, many of which are found on rangelands in Nebraska. Pollinators are integral in maintaining healthy ecosystems and food security for humans.

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Options for Reducing Stocking Rates Due to Dry Conditions

Wed, 06/24/2020 - 16:59
Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Hot and dry conditions are persisting in Wyoming, Colorado and Kansas and have expanded into portions of Nebraska, reducing range and pasture production. Forage production on cool-season dominate pasture and rangeland is highly correlated to precipitation and soil moisture from March through May. If adequate soil moisture is not present during this period, vegetation will not be able to fully express its growth potential. On rangelands with predominately warm-season grasses, precipitation in June and July will contribute to continued forage growth.

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Managing Cows through Dry Conditions

Wed, 06/24/2020 - 12:06
Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Hot, dry conditions in early summer have taken a toll on grass growth in much of the Great Plains this year. There are several options cattle producers may want to consider to conserve grass in these dry areas. Every producer should have a drought plan that includes trigger dates and a culling strategy, but once those top cuts are made, what feeding options are there for the core herd?

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Creep Feeding Calves

Wed, 06/24/2020 - 11:27
Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Keeping a tight grip on feed costs is a priority for every beef producer. Creep feeding calves can be a good return on investments in certain situations. Maintaining the calf’s efficiency at an early age is becoming much more critical with modern market requirements. The gross income of the cow/calf enterprises is partially dependent on the weaning weight of the calves. Outside of changing weaning date, there are management strategies that can  increase calf weaning weight.

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Nebraska Small Business Stabilization Grant

Tue, 06/16/2020 - 12:13
Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Nebraska, utilizing federal COVID-19 relief funding, has established a program to help businesses, including ranching, impacted by COVID-19.  The Department of Economic Development expects to award grants of $12,000 to eligible businesses, for a total of approximately $330,000,000.  The original window of application is relatively short with sign up going from June 15th, 2020 through June 26th, 2020.  As this is a developing opportunity changes will and often occur.  One such change is that applications of livestock producers has temporarily

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Preparing for Summer Heat

Wed, 06/03/2020 - 10:20
Wednesday, June 3, 2020

As cattle feeders hold on to fat cattle until the opportunity to be harvested arises, it is important to prepare for periods of extreme heat by developing a heat stress management plan. The combination of hot temperatures, high humidity, and lack of air movement can result in severe cases of heat stress for cattle. When temperatures remain above 70°F during the night, cattle are unable to recover before the next episode of heat exposure. This can result in reduced intakes and gains, and in extreme cases, death.

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Cattle and the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) Payments

Thu, 05/28/2020 - 08:33
Monday, June 1, 2020

The USDA recently announced more details on the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) aid payments. In total, $19 billion is included in the aid package, $16 billion in direct payments to producers and $3 billion in commodity food purchases. Payment details are a bit complicated depending upon whether producers sold their commodities during the time period from January 15 to April 15, 2020.

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Field Bindweed

Wed, 05/27/2020 - 09:55
Monday, June 1, 2020

Early Detection and Rapid Response (EDRR) is a concept to identify potentially invasive species prior to or just as the establishment of the invasive is taking place.  An Integrated Pest Management plan (IPM) can be developed to manage, contain and eradicate the invasive species before it can spread further.  This will avoid costly, long-term control efforts.

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Fermenting for Forages: Finding the Right Moisture

Wed, 05/27/2020 - 09:27
Monday, June 1, 2020

Developing cattle rations without distillers products to provide moisture and protein is an issue on many producers’ minds.  One option this summer is to cut fall planted rye or spring oats, wheat, triticale, or barley for silage.   Small grain silage can add moisture and some protein to rations and help fill the gap before corn silage is ready to harvest this fall.

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Fermenting for Forages: Small Grain Silage

Wed, 05/27/2020 - 07:47
Monday, June 1, 2020

When the term silage is used, typically what comes to mind is corn silage. This is especially true in the Great Plains and Midwest where corn is king. Another silage that may be less known is small grain silage.

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Dealing with Blister Beetles

Tue, 05/26/2020 - 09:55
Monday, June 1, 2020

Blister beetles, from the family Meloidae, are sometimes referred to as oil beetles and found in all parts of the Unites States and Canada. Adult blister beetles vary in size and color but are recognized by the elongated, narrow, cylindrical, and soft bodies. In Nebraska, the three-striped, grey, and black blister beetles (Fig. 1) are the most common species. Blister beetles produce a chemical called cantharidin which is toxic to animals and humans. The male blister beetle secretes cantharidin and presents it to the female after mating.

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Musk Thistle

Tue, 05/19/2020 - 10:42
Monday, June 1, 2020

Early Detection and Rapid Response (EDRR) is a concept to identify potentially invasive species prior to or just as the establishment of the invasive is taking place.  An Integrated Pest Management plan (IPM) can be developed to manage, contain and eradicate the invasive species before it can spread further.  This will avoid costly, long-term control efforts.

Musk Thistle  
a.k.a. – Nodding thistle, Nodding Plumeless thistle 
Scientific name:  Carduus nutans L.
Family:  Asteraceae (Sunflower family)

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Managing Bull Fertility Prior to the Breeding Season

Mon, 05/18/2020 - 16:29
Monday, June 1, 2020

As we prepare for the breeding season or for those in the midst of the breeding season, it is important to think about how we can manage bull fertility and understand critical factors that can impact fertility. There are many factors that can affect sperm production; however, the main factors that can decrease sperm production are disease, fever, injury, and extreme environmental conditions. We must keep in mind that spermatogenesis, the production of sperm, is a 61-day process in bulls; therefore, it will take upwards of 60 days to have normal sperm again following an injury/insult.

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Working Cattle and Managing Employees During COVID-19

Mon, 05/18/2020 - 14:56
Monday, June 1, 2020

Food production is essential, and that requires beef producers to carefully consider how COVID-19 infections may impact cattle work. It is important to remember how the virus is transmitted (source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention):

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Checking Water from Afar

Mon, 05/18/2020 - 14:02
Monday, June 1, 2020

For cattle producers who rely on wells in pastures and rangelands as a water source for their cattle, much time is spent checking water to make sure that windmills and submersible wells are delivering the water cattle need.   These water checks are often made daily or every other day to ensure water is available.  When problems occur with a water source cattle depend on, time is limited to get the problem fixed, haul water or move the cattle to another location where water is.  Timeliness of knowing there is a problem with a well or a tank that stores water is essential

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