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.Spanish:
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%.Spanish:
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.
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.Spanish:
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.Spanish:
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.Spanish:
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.Spanish:
While we can’t control the heat, there are some things we can control to help cattle through it.
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.Spanish:
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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.Spanish:
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.Spanish:
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:Spanish:
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.Spanish:
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.Spanish:
- 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.
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.Spanish:
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.Spanish:
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.Spanish:
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).Spanish: