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Updated: 6 min 18 sec ago

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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Live Cattle Basis Due to Covid-19: Deviations and Convergence

Fri, 05/08/2020 - 08:59
Friday, May 8, 2020 A Fundamental Review on Basis

Basis is defined as the cash minus futures. Cash market reflects today's supply conditions and price. Futures market reflects upcoming supply and demand conditions. If it is anticipated that there will be a period of increasing supplies, futures prices will decline to reflect that information. Likewise, periods of time with expected decreasing supplies, future prices are expected to increase.

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Guidance on the Prevention and Spread of COVID-19 for Farmers, Ranchers and Agricultural Workers

Mon, 04/27/2020 - 11:19
Friday, May 1, 2020

The Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health (CS-CASH) at the University of Nebraska Medical Center is providing guidance on the prevention and spread of COVID-19 for farmers, ranchers and agricultural workers. Precautions include eliminating exposure, finding ways to reduce person-to-person contact, using administrative authority to establish new work guidelines as necessary, and making use of all appropriate Personal Protective Equipment.
 

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Management Strategies for Minimizing Early Pregnancy Loss

Mon, 04/27/2020 - 10:24
Friday, May 1, 2020

As we approach the breeding season, cows and heifers are faced with a variety of stressors from the metabolic pressure of providing for a calf to changes in environment. Stress during early pregnancy is well documented to cause embryonic death and loss of pregnancy. However, making strategic management decisions during the fragile 2 months after breeding can help minimize those losses.

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#socialdistancing: Create Physical Distance but Stay in Touch

Mon, 04/27/2020 - 09:27
Friday, May 1, 2020

You do not have to go far on social media to find farmers in tractors or families out with newborn calves with the hashtag “social distancing” and the caption “I’ll be engaging in social distancing this spring, like I do every year!”

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Flooded Sandhills Subirrigated Meadows and Upland Sites

Mon, 04/27/2020 - 08:52
Friday, May 1, 2020

Meadows cover approximately 10% of the land area in the Nebraska Sandhills. These meadows have both subirrigated and wetland ecological sites and are an important forage resource for many ranches and provide 2 to 3 times more forage than associated Sandhills uplands. Meadows are also vital to biodiversity and hydrology in the Sandhills and there are many native wildlife and plant species that are found in these subirrigated and wetland areas.

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Flies on Pastured Cattle

Wed, 04/22/2020 - 09:52
Friday, May 1, 2020

As livestock producers prepare for another grazing season, thoughts are often directed towards grass conditions, animal conditioning, and fence repair. An additional very important consideration should include what type of flies will impact their pastured cattle, and what method of fly control will work best for their management system. Livestock fly control should be viewed as having a positive economic impact on livestock operations. In Nebraska and elsewhere, there are three fly species that economically impact pastured cattle; horn fly, face fly and stable fly.

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