Greetings from the faculty, cowboys, staff, and students at and associated with Gudmundsen Sandhills Laboratory.
The annual or intra-annual variation in weather conditions are always a test for livestock producers. Dry conditions the previous three years have been difficult. A lot of cows across the state were sold early in May due to drought. Some of our trigger points in our drought plan were made early in May by culling some bottom producing cows or cows that just didn’t fit. We also opted to fertilize more sub-irrigated meadow than we usually do. Timely rainfall seemed to really help forage quality and growth. John Nollette did a great job navigating the conditions at GSL and cowherd management while not inhibiting any research projects. For an update on range conditions, Jerry Volesky has an article later in the newsletter that will get you up to date on the forage and rainfall conditions at GSL through July. Jacki Musgrave and John Nollette will update us later in the newsletter on the cattle operations.
This edition’s employee spotlight is Andy Applegarth. Andy has been a part of the crew and/or the ranch manager at GSL for almost as long as there has been a GSL. Over the years, Andy has brought a lot of experience to the crew. Later this fall, Andy is moving into retirement phrase of his life. We are extremely thankful for the leadership and commitment Andy has brought to GSL over the years. Andy, we hope you enjoy retirement.
We have a lot of new “technology-based” research going on that is adding to the on-going production systems research. As new technologies for cow-calf producers come available or being developed, GSL should be on the forefront as a testbed for how, or if they work within our production systems. Yijie Xiong and her lab has made a lot of progress in being able to accurately estimate body weights of cows and yearling with 3-D imagery. We have new virtual fence research starting up this fall. Mitch Stephenson and his graduate student, Kaitlyn Dozler, have written a technical note on the use of virtual fence in production systems later in the newsletter. Virtual fence systems are not a new concept for the beef industry; however, in the last few years there has been a lot of interest in virtual fencing. With the increased interest, there has been an increase in companies in this space. In the next few years, we will likely see 5-6 companies with virtual fence product in the US.
This year’s Open House will be a hybrid format with our traditional in-person event held at GSL along with being live streamed online webinar. We are excited about the lineup of speakers and topics for this year’s Open House. You can find a complete agenda for the day later in the newsletter. If you are not or were not available to watch the Open House live, the recorded presentations will be available on the GSL website.
I hope you enjoy the August 2022 GSL Researcher. If we can do anything better to serve you, please let us know.