Nebraska is nationally known as the Beef State. Our team provides research-based information and resources to beef producers to help them provide an economical, safe, quality product to consumers while protecting and preserving Nebraska's vast natural resources.

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Beef Systems

Click to view Archived News Articles by Ben Beckman
Ben Beckman is a beef systems Extension Educator serving the counties of Antelope, Cedar, Knox, Madison and Pierce.  He is based out of the Cedar County Extension office in Hartington.  You can reach him by phone: (402) 254-6821 or email:

Summer annuals are a great option for producers wanting lots of biomass production during the warmest months of the year. Species like sudangrass, sorghum-sudan hybrids, forage sorghum, teff grass, and millets are all great options. These summer annual crops are a great opportunity for often much needed forage. Sudangrass for grazing, forage sorghum for silage, teff and foxtail millet for hay. Sorghum-sudan hybrids and pearl millet are great all-around choices. With a bit of planning, your summer forage crop will be a success.
Pinkeye is a highly contagious infectious disease that is known to occur during all seasons of the year and in all breeds of cattle. Excessive weeping of the affected eye and closure due to pain are the two signs most commonly observed. As the disease progresses, the cornea becomes cloudy or white. There are other infections that look like pinkeye so it is recommended that you consult with your veterinarian to assist you in the diagnosis, treatment and control of pinkeye if you suspect it in your herd.
While there are many species livestock producers consider pasture weeds, one that is held in particular dislike is leafy spurge. Not only is this hardy perennial on the state noxious weed list, but it spreads aggressively and is hard to control once established.
With first cutting alfalfa, comes the annual appearance of alfalfa weevils chewing through stands and destroying yields and quality. Proper scouting, identification, and treatment are needed to properly handle these hay field pests. Use economic thresholds to decide if harvest or insecticides are the best option when larval levels pass thresholds and keep an eye out even after first cutting for a late flush.
Implanting suckling calves is a decision every operation needs to make, considering how it will impact overall herd and production goals. While we know that implementation will increase average daily gain if grass production is adequate, we can’t predict what the exact response will be.