On the Blog

Middle of Summer Check List

Measuring Things We Can Manage in the Beef Cow Herd

Summer is a time when we can relax and enjoy some recreation activities with family and friends. However, as we get into the warm summer months remember to look at a few things that can have a significant impact on profitability of your cow herd. We can “manage” these things by measuring and monitoring them. There are tools that can help with both measuring and improving the condition of these items. 

  1. Body condition of the cows and especially first calf heifers
  2. Condition of the pasture
  3. Hay Inventory

Read More

Changing of the Seasons Part 2: Preparing for Summer Heat Stress for Beef Cattle

My last blog dealt with heat stress and dairy cattle.  Heat stress will impact the beef cow and growing cattle.  The most obvious negative impact is when 1000 pound fat cattle start dropping in the feed lot.  However, reproductive and immune function will be can be diminished due to heat stress.  Now is the time to prepare for management and nutrition changes that will help our beef cattle handle the heat.

Read More

Changing of the Seasons: Preparing for Summer Heat Stress In Dairy Cattle

Warmer weather is a welcome relief from the long winter and a cooler than normal spring in many areas of the country.  In parts of the Midwest, we experienced early May snows followed within 2 week by summer like temperatures.   Most people welcome the return to the 70s or 80s; however cattle and especially dairy cattle prefer the cooler temperatures.  Now is the time to prepare for management and nutrition changes that will help our cattle handle the heat.  I will address heat stress in dairy cattle in this week’s blog and then address some unique aspects of the impact of heat stress on beef cattle next week.  

Read More

We Are Down to the Final Minutes in the 4th Quarter! Don't Stop Now.

For me, College NCAA Basketball is one thing that makes it possible to get through March and April.  This year has been especially fun.  Who knew what would happen.  A number 11, three 12s, a 13, a 14 and a 15 all won.  The Final Four had only one number 1 seed.  How did these lower ranked teams win?  They played the whole game.  Many games went to the wire with teams fighting to the end.

Read More

Low Stress Cattle Handling for a Safe Calving Season

For many of us that have been around cattle the biggest risk is becoming complacent and not putting safety first.   Agriculture is a dangerous occupation. The Bureau of Labor Statistics and The Center for Disease Control regularly collect injury and death rate information and the numbers are alarming.  From 2003 to 2007, there were on average 583 agriculture related deaths per year.  In 2011 agriculture had 557 deaths.  Transportation and construction had more deaths, but agriculture had the highest death rate at 24.4 deaths per 100,000 workers.  As the graphs below indicate, farming is the most dangerous occupation compared to other industries.

Read More

Beef Cow Herd “To Do” List for Fall

As we are finishing harvest, it is a good time to consider what needs to be done this Fall to keeping your beef cow herd profitable.  The economic impact of using information from this “To Do” list is more critical this year due to the higher forage and feeding cost caused by the drought.

Read More

Beef Cattle Herd Discussion - An Interesting and Safe Holiday Party Discussion Topic

We are in the middle of the Holiday Season with many gatherings of family and friends to celebrate Christmas and the New Year.  The primary topics of conversation will involve family happenings and recent events.  Since most of the population is at least a generation removed from production agriculture, these gatherings gives us an opportunity to educate our friends and extended family about raising cattle with why we manage cattle a particular way and current trends in beef production.  Everyone will have some interest since the cost of beef has been noticed by most consumers.  The two current topics below are what I consider to be important messages and many of the statistics are taken from Cattle Fax Updates.  We have done more with fewer cows for several decades but we may be at the tipping point for the beef cow herd.

Read More

Beef Cow Supplement Delivery Impact on Net Nutrient Availability

Maximizing Rumen Bacterial Growth and Forage Digestion
Several recent Block Blogs have discussed various aspect of feeding cattle to get the most out of the available forage.  Mark Robbins discussed the use of Non-Protein Nitrogen and Dan Dhuyvetter reviewed how a natural brown seaweed meal called Tasco® and how they impact forage digestibility through improved rumen function.  If we examine rumen function at the microbial level we get a better understanding of how nutrient and additive delivery through a low moisture block (LMB) self-fed supplement like CRYSTALYX® can dramatically improve fiber digestibility.   

Read More

Drought Stressed Corn For Hay or Silage: Concerns and Suggestions

I worked this week in parts of Indiana and Ohio that are in some of the most extreme drought conditions I have seen. The Drought Monitor shows that over half the country is in drought. I observed corn that varied from knee high to shoulder high. All the plants were stressed with curled leaves and many had the bottom leaves fired. Greater than half the plants in the hardest hit areas had no ear or limited kernel development.

Read More