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

Karla Wilke, Cow-Calf Range Management Specialist, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Panhandle Research and Extension Center

This article and other research-based beef news are available on beef.unl.edu, Nebraska Extension’s beef cattle production website. Interviews with the authors of BeefWatch newsletter articles become available throughout the month of publication and are accessible at https://go.unl.edu/podcast.

Whether or not we work in agriculture, in rural Nebraska and other farming and ranching areas, agriculture provides us with some of the first signs of spring. We have all smiled at newborn baby calves bucking, head butting each other, and running with their tails sticking straight out. But those who aren’t farmers or ranchers, or otherwise involved in agriculture, might wonder what “calving season” is and why it is such a big deal to the men and women of agriculture. Driving by those playing calves, they might not realize all that goes into making sure those babies get a good, healthy start.
Aaron Berger, Extension Educator In many areas of 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.
Many cow-calf producers in Nebraska have become accustomed to using distillers grains as a source of both protein and energy to help meet the nutritional needs of lactating cows from calving until green grass is available. Due to the ongoing distillers shortage, many producers are considering including corn silage in the ration to help alleviate some of the energy shortfall in their hay resources. However, concerns have been expressed that silage in the diet will result in diarrhea or scours in their calves.

By Aaron Berger Nebraska Extension Beef Educator

Unit cost of production is a ratio where costs in the numerator are divided by the units produced in the denominator.

There are five ways to reduce unit costs of production in a cow-calf enterprise.

Decrease costs while keeping production the same.  An example of this would be to sell unneeded equipment or reduce equipment expense while keeping calf production the same.  Costs decrease while production is maintained, decreasing unit cost of production.

Nebraska has one of the highest summer pasture rental rates in the nation for cow-calf pairs or stocker/yearlings, on a price-per-pair-per-month or price-per-head basis. Prices remain historically quite strong, although they have moderated after the rapid run-up that occurred after 2014 and 2015. Reported pasture rental rates are documented in a survey published annually by Nebraska Extension titled “Nebraska Farm Real Estate Report,” which can be found at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Ag Economics website at agecon.unl.edu. This all points to the importance, for ranchers, of understanding good management of their pastures. A number of factors contribute to the strong pasture rental rates found in Nebraska, including these three: