Weekly News Releases and Columns

Week of January 23, 2023


Maas Competes at National Western Roundup in Horse Presentation

Taylyn Maas qualified to be one of the competitors at the 2023 Western National Roundup, after winning the state competition last June. This opportunity was held in Denver, Colorado from January 4-7, 2023. Taylyn Maas competed in the Individual Horse Demonstration. She proudly represented Cuming County 4-H & the state of Nebraska. Taylyn was recognized at the banquet and was Reserve Champion. There were four other competitors in her contest.

Taylyn was able to attend the event with help from the Nebraska 4-H Foundation, the Nebraska 4-H Horse Fund, Cuming County 4-H Council and the Cuming County 4-H Foundation.

SOURCE: Melissa Hagemeister, Extension Assistant
RELEASE DATE: January 23, 2023

Manure education coming to a site near you

LINCOLN, NE - Turning manure nutrients into better crop yields while protecting the environment will be the focus of nine Nebraska Extension workshops being held across the state this February and March. "The workshops will help livestock producers put to use the nutrient management planning requirements of Nebraska's regulations and increase the economic value of manure," said Leslie Johnson, UNL animal manure management coordinator.

Participants who attend the day-long (9 am – 4 pm) event will receive NDEE Land Application Training Certification. The initial land application training certification requires participation in the full. Attendance at the afternoon session will meet minimum needs for recertification, but participants who only need recertification may choose to attend the full event if they wish. Sessions will include an update on regulations and discussions on how to best use manure on your operation. Anyone is welcome regardless of whether you need certification. Crop farmers and livestock operations will learn useful information to apply to their operations.

Sessions will focus on what fields should be chosen to best utilize manure nutrients and other benefits. Each session will be highly participant-led with limited seating. Participants will be given a scenario and asked to determine priority ranking of each field within the scenario. This ranking will be done at the end of each activity focused on manure nutrients, transportation cost, soil health, water quality, as well as neighbors and odors. Regulations and record keeping pertaining to manure storage and application will also be addressed during each session.

Sessions include:
• February 15 – Norfolk
• February 22 – Lexington
• March 1 – Alliance
• March 7 – West Point
• March 14 – O'Neill
• March 21 – Beatrice
• March 28 – Columbus

Because of participation limits in each session, registration is required. If registration numbers exceed expectations, more sessions may be added. To ensure your attendance, register at water.unl.edu/lat. Cost of the sessions will be $75 per operation.

The workshops are sponsored by the Nebraska Extension Animal Manure Management Team, which is dedicated to helping livestock and crop producers better utilize manure resources for agronomic and environmental benefits. For additional information on the workshops and other resources for managing manure nutrients, visit manure.unl.edu or contact Leslie Johnson at 402-584-3818 or leslie.johnson@unl.edu.


2023 Beef Feedlot Roundtable Series Planned

The 2023 Beef Feedlot Roundtable Series is an event that you won't want to miss! We encourage feedlot owners, managers, employees, and allied industry to join Nebraska Extension February 7-9th as we dive into a series of timely topics covering feedlot management. Highlights from the program include the use of roller compacted concrete, implications of increasing hot carcass weight, and new requirements on implanting with speakers from UNL Extension and producers. This year's program offers a new hands-on component targeted toward feedlot employees, including processing equipment maintenance, euthanasia considerations, and pregnancy management in the feedlot covered by UNL veterinarians from Great Plains Veterinary Educational Center. Spanish translation will be available for the animal health hands-on portion.

Join us from 1:00 -6:00 p.m., with dinner to follow. Cost is $30 at the door.

- February 7th in Bridgeport, NE, at the Prairie Winds Community Center

- February 8th in Gothenburg, NE, at the Bayer Water Utilization Learning Center

- February 9th in West Point, NE, at the Nielsen Community Center

Pre-registration is requested by Friday, February 3rd, and can be completed online at: https://go.unl.edu/2023roundtable or via mail in registration.

For more information, contact Dr. Jessica Sperber, Beef Feedlot Extension Specialist; email: jsperber2@unl.edu

We look forward to having you join us!


SOURCE: Alfredo DiCostanzo, Extension Educator
RELEASE DATE: January 11, 2023

Fit & Healthy Kids Online Conference – Little Minds Big Ideas

Little Minds Big Ideas is an on-line Child Care Conference focusing on Creative Arts. This 4-hour conference will take your learning to a new level with a Zoom conference designed to help you create and move in your own living room! Are you ready to stretch your mind and bring creativity to the children in your care? Creative arts is more than glue and colors. Find out how creative art is an important part of child development. Please join us for the Little Minds, Big Ideas virtual conference on Saturday February 25, 8:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. You will enjoy the hands-on activities and mindfulness activities that are not only for you but also for the children you care for. There is also an opportunity to earn 4 additional hours of credit! The cost of the conference is $15.00 and you can register at: https://fitandhealthykids.unl.edu/early-childhood-conference

SOURCE: Lisa Poppe, Accountability Educator
RELEASE DATE: January 9, 2023

4-H Online 2.0 Now Open for Enrollment!

Nebraska 4-H has transitioned to their new 4-H Online platform. 4-H Online 2.0 is more user friendly and is compatible on cell phones. To enroll, visit: http://v2.4honline.com

• For returning families & volunteers, please do not create a new account; use your log-in credentials for 4honline used in previous years. Instructions can be found here: cuming.unl.edu
• Enrollment instructions for new families & new volunteers can be found here: cuming.unl.edu

**Please note the enrollment fee for Cuming County is $5.00 per member and is paid online with a credit card. There is no fee for leaders and volunteers.

Contact the Extension Office at 402-372-6006 with any questions.

SOURCE: Melissa Hagemeister, Extension Assistant
RELEASE DATE: January 9, 2023

4-H Leader & Volunteer Training

4-H Leader & Volunteer Training will be held on Tuesday, February 28 at Cuming County Courthouse. Light snacks will be served at 6:00 p.m. Programming updates will follow. There will also be a volunteer training with this year's event.
At this meeting, 4-H leaders also have the opportunity to sign-up for Home Ec Committees as well as Country Kitchen shifts so it's important one leader from each club attends.
Please RSVP by February 24.

SOURCE: Melissa Hagemeister, Extension Assistant
RELEASE DATE: January 9, 2023

Food, Nutrition, & Health

Hannah Guenther, Extension Educator
Nebraska Extension Serving Cuming County

Week of January 23, 2023

Fueling Your Young Athlete

So, it was a big day in the Guenther household, we spent our first Saturday in a gym! Charlotte is playing 4th grade basketball and had her first tournament. Adam and I loaded up and spent the whole day watching the girls play. I had no idea that I could get so invested in a game of basketball. Basketball is an intense game with a lot of running which meant refueling between games was key! It can be a challenge to make sure that your child is fueling their body properly, making sure that they are eating enough and enough of the right kind of foods. So today is all about how to fuel your young athlete!

Good Hydration

The nutrient of most immediate concern is water. Drinking enough water becomes especially important as temperatures drop because with cooler weather, we drink less water! Drink water before, during and after participating in physical activity for best hydration, rather than waiting until thirsty.
Sports drinks are only helpful when excessive amounts of sweat are lost by being out in the heat or participating in vigorous activity for longer than 90 minutes. If you chose a sports drink, try mixing it in a 1:1 ratio with water.

Smart Snacking

Make sure to serve snacks that will keep your child energized. Yogurt with a banana, baby carrots with hummus dip, or peanut butter with crackers and apple slices are all examples of smart snacks that require minimal time and effort to prepare. However, if these do not fit into your schedule, or you are needing an option that does not require refrigeration, look for quick, easy, non-perishable bars at the grocery store. They can be a great solution for an on-the-go family. Be sure to check the label for whole ingredients such as oats, whole grains, nuts, seeds and fruit for best nutrition. And prioritize protein content, while limiting added sugar.

Fuel and Replenish

An eating pattern high in saturated fat and added sugar will only serve to hinder your young athlete, especially right before participating in physical activity. Avoid things like fried foods and candy bars before practices or games. Be sure your child replenishes their body after being physically active, with plenty of fluids (preferably water) and a nutrient-rich meal or snack with a healthy combination of fats, lean protein and whole grains—think bean burrito, a hot dog, or a slice of pizza loaded with vegetables. For breakfast—think fruit and yogurt smoothies or an omelet with cheese and vegetables.

Balanced Nutrition

The more active your child is, the more carbohydrates they'll need to fuel their muscles. Fatigue, weight loss and lack of endurance are signs the body's carbohydrate stores need replenishing. Nutrient-rich foods like starchy vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes will help keep them on track.

The best way to ensure your child is getting all the nutrients their body needs to grow and develop is by encouraging them to eat foods from each of the five food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, protein and dairy. Practice some of these helpful tips to help fuel your young athlete!

This article was adapted from Tara Dunker, Extension Educator in Gage County.

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Week of January 9, 2023

2023 Food Trends

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Hopefully your 2023 is off to a great start. I'll be honest, I love the New Year and I have quite the routine in terms of starting my new year off on the right foot. It starts on New Year's Eve where I get dressed up, even if I have nowhere to go. New Year's Day is all about reflecting on the past year. I have a journal where I write down all the highlights from the past year including trips, accomplishments, or even funny quotes from Charlotte that I don't want to forget. After writing down my goals for the coming year and picking my word/phrase of intention for the year, it's time to get to work ... literally. I have a new year work routine as well! It starts with my vision board that I have hanging above my desk. I use pictures, quotes, and magazines to encompass what I want to do and how I want it to look in the coming year (I am very visual). Finally, it's time to scour the internet to see what the projected trends of 2023 are! Move over collagen lattes, charcuterie boards, acai bowls, and sourdough, it's time for the projected food trends of 2023.

1. Anti-Diet Culture: One of the biggest trends you will see in 2023 is the condemning of "diet culture". Unfortunately, our world has been in a chokehold of diet and exercise. Youth as young as 3 years old begin to take note of "societal preference" to bodies. In 2023, you will start to see the tables turn as an appreciation for all bodies takes center stage. Instead of low fat and sugar free, individuals are going to turn to choosing whole foods, homemade options, and viewing food not only as fuel but as an emotional, social experience. This is the year that work is done on repairing our broken relationship with food.

2. Sober Curious: As mentioned in a previous article, there is a new movement sweeping the nation – the sober curious movement! Sober curious is a term given to individuals who are not completely abstaining from alcohol but are choosing to drink less for a variety of reasons. In 2023, plan on seeing a variety of mocktails on menus and make it a goal to try one for yourself! One of my favorites mocktails is a cranberry cherry mocktail. To make, fill a glass with ice and fill halfway with cranberry juice. Add 1 tsp maraschino cherry juice and top with club soda, today!

3. Pass the Seaweed: Move over kale, spinach, and kohlrabi, there is a new vegetable in town! Seaweed and marine vegetables are forecasted to be on trend in 2023. Marine plants are enjoyed around the world but have only recently made their way to American soil due to their high nutrient density and briny flavor. I enjoy using seaweed paper on top of rice and salmon for a deconstructed sushi bowl!

4. Tip Your Waiter: We are still feeling the effects of covid, 3 years later. One of the industries hit the hardest was the restaurant industry and they are still working their way through the aftershock. 2023 is the year of appreciation toward waiters and restaurant staff. Tip your waiter, give your regards to the chef, and give grace when things don't go your way!

5. Food Prices: Have you been to the grocery store lately? Then you've seen the rise in food prices. It is affecting our entire nation and impacting the food trends in 2023. With rising prices, you will see a rise in individuals buying in bulk, reducing food waste, choosing lower prices instead of name brands, and cooking from scratch in order to save food dollars.

I know what you are thinking, these aren't the trends you expected? They weren't the ones I was expecting either, but I do think they really encapsulate and respond to the current issues of our country today! So here is to a delicious year in 2023.

I'm off to have some seaweed salad with a mocktail!

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Week of December 26, 2022

New Year, New Goals

I realize that I am unique in the fact that I absolutely embrace New Year's Resolutions ... this is another attribute handed down from my mother. I enjoy New Year's Resolutions because it allows me to be intentional and it feels so good to check big things off my list throughout the year. Now if you are anti–resolutions and before you stop reading this article, hear me out – there is a truth behind taking time to write down your goals. It has been proven time and time again that writing something down helps you remember and recall things better. This year – write down your goals and you may be surprised how many you can accomplish! Today is all about how to help you set goals for this New Year.

1. Make them SMART

If you are a recent college grad, you have probably come across the term of a "SMART" goal. This specific term stands for goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time sensitive. This is a great way to make sure that the goals you are setting are not completely off the mark, for instance a goal like: I want to be the richest individual in the world. That is not necessarily specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, or time sensitive. An example of a smart goal would be that if in an effort to live a healthier lifestyle this next year, you decided to run a 5K. You could put that into a smart goal by saying: On March 13th, I will run a 5K in Omaha, NE without stopping, by training 3 days a week. This year ask yourself if your goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time sensitive (SMART).

2. Make them Visual

One great thing my mom taught me to do with my goals is get them out of mind and onto paper. Once it is on paper, post it someplace where you will always see it to serve as a reminder to be intentional about this coming year. 2019 was a big year for me with work, life, travel, and personal objectives I wanted to accomplish. I do not think I could have handled it all had I not walked past my goals each day posted on the side of my refrigerator. It's up to you how to document your goals instead of using words, put them on paper with pictures. Collect old magazines and create a collage of images that represent what it is you want to accomplish. It is a fun and decorative ways to represent your goals for the coming year.

3. If at first you don't succeed, try again next year

For the last 5 years, at least, I have had the same goal at the bottom of my new year's resolutions. This ambiguous goal is "being on time" and yes I could simply leave it off my list but I don't. I am happy to announce that 5 years must have been the lucky number because in 2019, I was actually on time (you can even ask Larry!)

4. Crossing it Off

At the end of the year, I sit down with my goal list from the previous year and I cross off the one's I have accomplished. It is truly one of the greatest feelings in the world. I am always amazed on how many things I can draw a big line through, but what I always find interesting is that the way that I achieved those goals is not how I expected. Maybe your trip to Mexico as a family was really just a quick trip to Omaha, but what is important is to also open your eyes to the way your goals might get reached in ways you didn't quite expect.

5. YOUR goals

Most importantly, if you decide to set goals this year, make them for you. Maybe a giant poster board with pictures is not your thing, or the thought of having them posted publicly makes you cringe, that's ok! There are many ways to set goals, do what is best for you and make them your own.


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Common Sense Farming and Ranching

Alfredo DiCostanzo
Livestock Systems Extension Educator
University of Nebraska

Week of January 16, 2023

How much cold can cattle tolerate?

Cattle are prepared to tolerate cold temperatures because they benefit from heat dissipating from their digestive system. It is this heat release that serves well during winter but turns into a burden in during summer.

As calves grow into brood cows or in the feedlot, fat layers accumulate on their body further contributing to insulating internal heat from dissipating in the environment. Lastly, cattle raised in cold climates will grow thicker and longer hair coats as fall turns into winter. Hair layers prevent internal heat from dissipating in the environment.

In contrast, calves are the highest risk of experiencing cold stress because rumen fermentation is not fully developed until several weeks after birth or fermentation capacity is limited by rumen size. Further, as any cowboy knows, at birth they are covered by placental fluid which further compromises their ability to maintain body heat.

Preparations for cold weather calving include being alert and having facilities and equipment to protect newborn calves from the cold. At the very least, considerations should be made to keep calving pairs in a protected area (within a shelter belt or inside a calving barn) with plenty of dry, clean bedding. At birth, rapidly assisting the cow to dry the calf off and protecting their ears and bodies will reduce the risk of freezing. In some cases, having access to a calf-warming box may be necessary to prevent calves from freezing. A blueprint for building a calf-warming box is available at (Calf Warming Box (lsuagcenter.com)). Several livestock equipment companies also have them for sale.

Although we expect some cold tolerance in adult and finishing cattle, it is important to remember one thing: wind and moisture will reduce insulation effectiveness. How cold tolerant is a cow or a feedlot steer? When properly acclimated, cattle tolerate temperatures as low as 18 °F (Table 1). As described in Table 1, cold tolerance is dependent on coat condition. Cows not acclimated to cold or with wet hair coats can tolerate temperatures only as low as 59 °F. Dry fall or winter coats permit cattle to tolerate temperatures ranging from 45 °F (dry, fall coat) to 18 °F (dry, heavy winter coat).

As with humans, wind exacerbates the effect of cold on cattle bodies. A windchill table (Table 2) lists an effective temperature (windchill) of 0 °F for a still-air temperature of 20 °F with wind blowing at 20 miles per hour (mph). This means that a cow with a dry, heavy winter coat will feel as if the temperature was 0 °F when the still-air temperature is 20 °F and the wind is blowing at 20 mph.

Cattle feedlot managers and ranchers use bedding and windbreaks to reduce the effect of wind and moisture on insulation by winter coats. In extreme circumstances, buildings are used to bring cattle indoors to manage moisture and wind conditions. Considerations of building cost and those associated with building management (bedding and labor costs) need to be made before deciding to build a facility to cope with cold weather.

The effect of cold on cattle performance is dependent on the severity and length of cold stress. A short cold snap with subzero temperatures and dry weather creates emergency situations with keeping water lines operational and feeding on time but it generally has limited effect on performance.

Of greater concern to the feedlot manager or rancher are extended cold conditions that bring in moisture and wind. Precipitation as rain or snow contributes to deteriorating conditions in exposed pen surfaces while windy conditions further reduce insulating capacity of cattle bodies.

Generally, in confined conditions when feed access is not limited, cattle will respond by consuming more feed in response to cold. In open ranges where cattle need to cover a lot of ground to meet their intake demands, cattle prefer to hunker down than to seek grass. Similarly, in pen conditions where it is not easy for cattle to reach the bunk (slippery surfaces, frozen manure chunks, distance from the loafing area to the bunk, limited bunk access), cattle also lower their feed intake.

Consuming feed contributes to generating heat of fermentation. Results of research from the 1990's in South Dakota indicated that feeding most of the daily feed offering at night for cattle in a feedlot maintained better performance than feeding 50% of the feed in the morning and 50% of the feed in the afternoon.

Where possible, adjusting feed energy offering is recommended to help cattle cope with cold stress. A general rule of thumb is to recognize that for every 1 degree below the lower critical temperature maintenance requirements increase 1 percentage unit. In other words, for the example above and rounding the lower critical temperature up to 20 °F, a cow facing a 20-mph wind during a 0 °F day, will have 20% greater maintenance needs than if the wind was not blowing. If we expect this cow to consume 28 lb of dry matter, then she should be offered 20% more feed or 5.6 lb more.

On the positive side, the angle of the sun has now turned so that we will have greater daylight hours. This is helpful as solar radiation contributes to warming surfaces including haircoats. In other words, although we are not quite done with cold conditions, we can all begin to enjoy extended hours of solar warmth.

Please remain vigilant of slippery conditions and extreme cold and dress appropriately. Lastly, please make it a point to carry your cell phone in a pocket close to your body so that you can access it if you find yourself or others in a bad predicament.

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Week of January 2, 2023

Opportunities for ranch profit in 2023

We all recognize that the beef industry has been through difficult times brought on, initially, by larger inventories of cattle and later exacerbated by forces external to the industry. As the industry endured these difficult times, by pure resiliency of its operators, it also prepared for a better future. That future is here in 2023 and will likely last through 2024. Beef cow inventory is low, feeder cattle supplies are tightening, and, thankfully, Americans (and our good trading partners beyond this country) are willing to pay for high-quality, wholesome American beef. Therefore, the onus is now on cattle producers to take advantage of opportunities created by current conditions to profit. The window of time is narrow, so we must not waste too much time to capitalize on it. The message is clear: beef will command better prices in 2023, be sure you have beef to sell!

The only way we will have beef to sell is if cattle reproduce and remain alive thriving on good feeding, care, and management. Keeping calves healthy and growing well so the most pounds of calf are weaned is the driver. Working with veterinarians and nutritionists to ensure herd health programs support fertility, prevent disease, and support growth while nutrition programs enhance response to herd health program and are permissive to growth rates leading to the heaviest weaning weights possible pays.

Research from the University of Nebraska demonstrated that summer growing grasses and hay are likely to be deficient in copper and zinc, or copper availability is low. We seldom spend sufficient time thinking about these micro-minerals. These minerals are key to maintaining immunity and support growth. The finding that these minerals are in low concentrations or poorly available in forages we otherwise consider adequate is sufficient warning that a thorough year-around mineral supplementation program is needed to ensure health and support growth.

A question that may be asked when considering profit opportunities in 2023 is: can we afford to spend what it will take to have cattle grow so we can capture more weight at weaning or after a backgrounding period? For backgrounding cattle, the best way to answer that question is to evaluate the gross margin existing between sale price at, say 750 lb, three to four months after weaning and weaning at 550 lb; narrow margins support holding calves to background. Interestingly, this margin narrows as fed cattle prices improve. In contrast, this margin widens as fed cattle prices begin the decline resulting from increased beef production.

Similarly, a rancher may be considering using creep feed to increase pounds at weaning. The signal to deliver heavier cattle at weaning is clear. The question is how to accomplish this efficiently and without making calves "too fleshy". Firstly, creep feeding should be evaluated on the conversion of pounds of feed supplemented and gain above what calves were expected to gain. Thus, if a 2.75 lb gain daily is expected under non-supplement conditions, then the extra 0.25 or 0.33 lb gain must be evaluated against the daily cost of creep feeding. At a cost of $420/ton ($0.21/lb) and a sale price of $2.10/lb, the poorest efficiency that can be achieved by creep feeding is 10-to-1 ($0.21/lb times 10 lb to achieve one lb gain). Working with your nutritionist to determine the creep feed that will result in low consumption (under 4 lb) and gains resulting from this supplement above 0.3 lb is highly recommended before establishing a creep feeding program.

Higher costs of feeding and caring for cattle are a reality in 2023. Thankfully, we happen to be on the increasing trend for fed cattle prices. Last week, the Nebraska weighted average for negotiated purchases averaged close to $157/cwt. April Live Cattle Futures crossed over $160/cwt in mid-December. Also, as 2022 closed, prices of 550-lb calves gained $5/cwt ($28/calf) from September sales. This should lead us to consider making the appropriate investments to sell the most pounds of beef at weaning or after backgrounding.

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