Past Beef Systems Articles

Resources for Nebraska Farmers, Ranchers, and Their Families
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“Ranching For Profitability” Meeting To Be Held As Webinar Across Nebraska

Efficiency and sustainability are important topics to beef consumers and the future success of the beef industry. These topics are also the theme of Nebraska Extension’s Ranching for Profitability session in 2019.

In January, Ranching for Profitability will be offered as a webinar that beef producers can join from any of 13 downlink locations across Nebraska, or from their home via the internet. A list of sites and registration information follows.

The webinar will take place on Thursday, Jan. 17, from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Mountain Time (6:30-9:30 p.m. Central). Expert university and industry speakers will address genetic changes in cattle breeds; consumer preferences at the meat counter; and protecting herd health.

Rainout Grazing Options

Summer in Nebraska is usually characterized by warm sunny days that fuel thunderstorms popping up in the afternoon and evening hours.  Heavy rain, hail, and damaging winds are no stranger to us.  This year in the northern part of the state however it seems like the heavy rain has gotten a bit carried away.  While a bit of excess moisture is always welcome, the continual deluge this summer has left low lying hay ground flooded, fields hailed out, and producers scrambling to put up they hay they can get to in the narrow window between storms.  

HIGH QUALITY HAY STILL BRINGS TOP DOLLAR

Market gurus say to make profits you must buy low and sell high.  What market gives you that opportunity today?  The stock market?  No, it's the hay market!

High rainfall in many areas produced high yields of both grass and alfalfa hay this year.  Add to that the high carryover from last year plus lots of crop residues available and you get an abundance of forage for this winter. And when winter forage is abundant, hay prices go down.

All this rain also led to some poor hay making weather which has resulted in a shortage of really high quality alfalfa.  As a result, some alfalfa growers in Nebraska are receiving well over 150 dollars per ton for superior quality dairy hay.

TESTING AND FEEDING TOBACCO-BROWN HAY AND SILAGE

Summer weather can cause hay to be baled too wet or silage chopped too dry.  Now that hay and silage has heated and turned brown.  How should you feed these forages? 

Hay baled too wet or silage chopped to dry can get excessively hot and cause certain chemical reactions to occur.  These chemical reactions and the heat that produces them will darken your forage and make it smell sweet like caramel.

Calving Workshop to be held in December

Ranchers who want to reduce calf loss at calving, and to learn how to properly assist cows at calving, should plan to attend “Assisting the Beef Cow at Calving” with Dr. Robert Mortimer, a nationally known veterinarian from Colorado State University. Programs will be held at six sites across the state. The cost is $20, which can be paid at the door.

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Nebraska Beef Industry Summit

The 11th Annual Nebraska Beef Industry Summit will take place on Thursday, November 16, 2017 at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. Summit will begin with registration at 9:00 a.m. and conclude at 4:00 p.m. Lunch will be catered and is included with the $50 registration fee. Space is limited, so please register and send form to the Nebraska Cattlemen by November 9th to secure your place. You will receive additional event information after completing your registration. For more information and the registration form go to https://animalscience.unl.edu/nebraska-beef-industry-scholars. Summit information is near the bottom of this web page.

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A grain marketing meeting will be offered Wednesday, November 15, 2017  from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Holt County Annex, to assist grain producers and their business partners in using futures and options to reduce risk in the marketing of their grain.

Workshops Aim to Give Ranchers the Tools to Know Their Costs, Operate Their Ranch as a Business

Having information to make effective business decisions is important for ranch success.

Enterprise analysis and unit cost of production (UCOP) are tools that can help ranchers identify where value is being created on the ranch, where costs are occurring, and what changes could be made to improve profit.

For cow-calf producers, UCOP is figured as cost per pound of weaned calf. Knowing what it costs to develop a bred heifer, harvest a ton of hay or put a pound of gain on a stocker or a yearling are valuable information as well for the ranch business manager.

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Anyone who owns farmland may want to participate in this workshop providing information and education about leasing farmland. Learn lease strategies for this asset by attending this seminar on November 9th, 2017 at 6:30 p.m. at the Holt County Annex, 128th N. 6th Street, O’Neill.

SO, YOU’VE INHERITED A FARM, NOW WHAT?

Anyone that owns farmland may want to participate in this seminar to be provided information and education about that ownership. Learn management strategies for this asset by attending this seminar on November 9th, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. at the Holt County Annex, 128th N. 6th Street, O’Neill.

A new online tool from Nebraska Extension aims to connect farmers and cattle producers to encourage mutually beneficial agreements to use crop residue for grazing. The Crop Residue Exchange tool provides a searchable database of cropland available for grazing.  After creating an account, farmers can list available cropland by drawing their plot on an interactive map and entering information on the type of residue, fencing, water availability, and dates available. Livestock producers looking for grazing can search the database for cropland available for grazing within a radius of a given location of interest. Producers also provide their preferred contact information.
GET THE MOST FROM GRAZING CORN STALKS

Corn harvest is ongoing and cows are starting to graze the stalks.  How should this grazing be managed to get the most out of them?

Grazing corn stalks during winter has many benefits.  It can save over a dollar a day per cow compared to feeding expensive hay.

Many summer planted turnips are ready to graze.  This wonderful resource is not without potential health hazards, however.

Turnips may be one of the best grazing options available for late fall and winter.  But, like everything else, they can cause problems.