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Updated: 19 min 23 sec ago

More than 419,000 Tons of Rangeland Production are Lost Annually in Nebraska to Woody Encroachment

Mon, 09/25/2023 - 10:52
Sunday, October 1, 2023

Did you know that Nebraska’s grasslands lose over 419,000 tons of forage production every year due to woody plant encroachment? When woody plants like eastern redcedar spread and take over grasslands, they displace grasses and broadleaf plants and reduce forage production by up to 75%1 (Fig.1). New rangeland monitoring data shows that tree cover increased by over 402,000 acres in Nebraska’s rangelands from 1990-2019 (https://www.wlfw.org/yieldgap/). This means less forage for livestock and wildlife needs.

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Strip grazing annual forages in the fall: Is it worth the effort?

Mon, 09/25/2023 - 10:32
Sunday, October 1, 2023

After about 5 years of fall cover crop grazing, one thing became apparent: the amount of grazing achieved when we gave cattle access to the whole field from the start did not appear to be determined by the amount of forage that was in the field. This was because the weather seemed to determine how much trampling loss occurred. In wet years, we harvested less than 15% of the forage, and on average, we captured about 30%.

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Making Silage from Late Season Hail Damaged Corn

Wed, 08/30/2023 - 09:29
Friday, September 1, 2023

The first step in dealing with hail damage is to contact your insurance agent, so that you know what is required to meet obligations for hail or revenue insurance.

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Corn Silage as a Feed Source for Beef Cows this Winter

Tue, 08/29/2023 - 15:27
Friday, September 1, 2023

As you prepare to inventory feeds for feeding the beef cow this winter, corn silage may be an option. In last month’s BeefWatch, the article, “Is That Corn Crop Worth More as Silage or Grain?” walks through the calculations to determine price of corn silage standing in the field, chopped and packed in the silo, and corn silage delivered to the bunk. If the price of corn is $5.00 per bushel, corn silage delivered to the bunk with 10% shrink is $60.83.

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Feed Prices Favor Limit Feeding Stockers a High Energy Diet

Tue, 08/29/2023 - 13:22
Friday, September 1, 2023

For cattle producers that are set up to feed calves in a bunk, limit feeding a high energy diet may be a cost-effective option for growing calves this fall and winter. While limit feeding is not a new concept, current forage prices relative to grain/co-products may make it an attractive alternative to feeding high roughage growing diets. For instance, hay priced at $200/ton with a total digestible nutrients (TDN) value of 52% equates to approximately $0.22 per pound of TDN.

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Windrow Grazing Annual Forages to Extend the Grazing Season

Tue, 08/29/2023 - 09:24
Friday, September 1, 2023

In many areas of central and eastern Nebraska, drought conditions have resulted in reduced forage production on rangeland and pasture.  This is resulting in a shortage of feed for many producers and a need for forage between now and when cornstalks are available for grazing.  Windrow grazing annual forages allows producers to cut the crop at an optimum time for quality and increase harvest efficiency through strip grazing the windrows.   

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Will you Capitalize on Increasing Cow Value?

Mon, 08/28/2023 - 09:42
Friday, September 1, 2023

What a difference a year makes when it comes to cow prices!  Whether it is weigh up cows at $1.10 per pound or young bred heifers and cows pushing $2,500 - $3,000 per head, the recent rise in prices has been dramatic. Many cow-calf producers will sell calves this fall and make a solid profit. For areas that have received rain and forage is available, this will encourage retaining of heifers and the rebuilding of cowherds that have been reduced due to drought. The motivation of many will be to keep and acquire as many bred cows as possible to produce more high dollar calves.

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Resources for Helping Cattle Deal with Heat Stress

Fri, 08/18/2023 - 16:50
Friday, August 18, 2023


While we can’t control the heat, there are some things we can control to help cattle through it. 

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New Custom Rates for Livestock Services Published

Sun, 07/30/2023 - 09:41
Tuesday, August 1, 2023

A new report from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Center for Agricultural Profitability features current rates for custom services related to livestock production in Nebraska. It reflects the results of a statewide survey that was circulated in early 2023 to those who either provide or pay for custom work related to livestock.

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Drought-damaged Smooth Bromegrass Pastures: Assessment and Recovery Considerations

Thu, 07/27/2023 - 17:42
Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Top 5 Takeaways

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Why Consider Drylotting Cows this Fall?

Thu, 07/27/2023 - 17:17
Tuesday, August 1, 2023

This fall as pastures continue to recover from drought in previous years, some producers who traditionally pasture their cattle are considering feeding cow-calf pairs in confinement. Drylotting can be a feasible way to allow pasture recovery, while feeding grain, forage, and crop stover to pairs. A few of the many advantages of a drylot system include closer observation of the herd, low weaning stress, and providing opportunity to bunk break calves prior to weaning.

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Registration Open for Applied Reproductive Strategies in Beef Cattle Symposium

Thu, 07/27/2023 - 17:11
Tuesday, August 1, 2023

In partnership with the University of Wyoming, the Beef Reproduction Task Force will host the Applied Reproductive Strategies in Beef Cattle (ARSBC) symposium at the Little America Hotel and Resort (2800 W. Lincolnway) in Cheyenne, Wyoming on Sep. 6-7th, 2023.

The event will run from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. on Wednesday, Sep. 6, and 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on Sep. 7. Producers, veterinarians, artificial insemination technicians, students and others interested in beef cattle production are encouraged to attend.

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Pros and Cons of Fall-planting Winter and Spring Small Grains

Wed, 07/26/2023 - 17:37
Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Using small grains as a dependable fall or spring forage source will depend on several factors, including production potential based on planting date, availability of moisture and adequate fertility, season of production, and winterhardiness. All small grains can produce forage, so the options are:

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Storing Wet Distillers Grains in the Summer for Fall and Winter Feeding

Wed, 07/26/2023 - 17:05
Tuesday, August 1, 2023 Introduction  

Wet distillers grains (WDGS) are a good source of energy (108% TDN) and crude protein (30%) (dry matter basis). Therefore, they are a popular commodity for beef cattle supplementation. 

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Why Larkspur is Dangerous for Cattle and How to Manage It

Wed, 07/26/2023 - 13:42
Tuesday, August 1, 2023

As a result of this year’s wet weather in areas of Nebraska, ranchers and land managers can expect some changes in weed species abundance in range and pastures. Larkspur is one weed that’s showing up and causing some problems. At the Panhandle Research, Extension and Education Center in Scottsbluff we have had more phone calls and in-person visits from ranchers regarding larkspur management in the last month than we have in the previous five years combined.

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What are Your Options with Wet Hay?

Wed, 07/26/2023 - 11:56
Tuesday, August 1, 2023 Top 5 Takeaways
  • Wet bales are at risk for combustion; store appropriately and check temperatures. Anything above 170°F is high risk.
  • Mold may produce mycotoxins, so roll out and let animals select good portions of moldy bales. Make sure other clean feed is available.
  • Protect yourself from respiratory issues while working with moldy bales by using a dust mask.
  • Hay testing is especially important when hay quality and safety are concerns.
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Don’t Get Caught Off Guard, Be Prepared to Beat the Heat

Sat, 07/22/2023 - 15:34
Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Summer is officially here, and temperatures are beginning to heat up across the nation. With increasing temperatures, special attention is needed when it comes to mitigating heat, especially those animals being housed in a dry lot. While some only consider temperature when assessing the effects of heat, other environmental factors such as humidity, air movement, and solar radiation contribute to the heat load cattle experience.

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Is That Corn Crop Worth More as Silage or Grain?

Sat, 07/22/2023 - 15:18
Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Ongoing dry and drought conditions in many parts of the state are supporting hay and forage prices as we look towards this fall. Perennial dryland hay production in many parts of Nebraska has been less than average. Forage production on rangeland and pasture in central and eastern Nebraska is, in many situations, significantly less than average. This diminished production is going to result in less fall and winter grazing.   

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What Will You Do with Profits?

Sat, 07/22/2023 - 15:10
Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Cow-calf producers are looking at the potential for significant profits for 2023 due to high calf prices. This income may give cow-calf producers the rare opportunity to invest capital back into the ranch.

The following are options, in no particular order, to consider when thinking about and planning for investments into the ranch or cow-calf enterprise.

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Don't use tanks that have been used to haul fertilizer for hauling drinking water for cattle

Tue, 07/11/2023 - 10:31
Saturday, July 11, 2015

Tanks that are used to haul nitrogen-based fertilizer should not be used to transport drinking water for cattle as there is a risk of poisoning. Any nitrogen remaining in the tank can potentially cause nitrate or non-protein nitrogen (urea) toxicosis in ruminants (depending on form of fertilizer).

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