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News Update

October 24, 2012

Cow-Calf Producers Invited to Reproduction Conference

In a year marked by record drought and increasing feed prices, many producers are considering reducing the size of their cow herd to maintain efficient use of financial and production resources. Organizers of the Applied Reproductive Strategies in Beef Cattle (ARSCB) conference say the conference will provide a wealth of information on using advanced reproductive technologies to help producers make decisions that are right for individual situations. The conference is set for Dec. 3-4 at the Best Western Ramkota Hotel in Sioux Falls, S.D.

Garland Dahlke of the Iowa Beef Center at Iowa State University (ISU) said conference topics were chosen with producers and veterinarians in mind, so everyone who attends will be able to find useful information for their operations and businesses.

"This conference features 27 speakers from throughout the United States and Canada who are experts in their respective fields," Dahlke said. "They'll share their knowledge on topics ranging from importance and control of estrus to male fertility and genetics, to stress management and vaccination."

The conference also features a trade show and the first day concludes with hands-on activities where participants can become more familiar with several of the session topics.
Dahlke, who also is an ISU representative on the Beef Reproduction Task Force that's co-sponsoring the symposium, said the fee for registrations postmarked by Nov. 1 is $150 per person, and increases to $200 per person after that date. Fee for students is $90. More information, including links to the program agenda and registration forms, is available on the conference website, click here.

For more information and full release, click here.

Wisconsin Cattlemen Announce Political Endorsements

Leaders of the Wisconsin Cattlemen's Association have published their list of endorsements for the Nov. 6 general election. The group says the following state legislative candidates are considered 'pro-cattle' in their political stances.

For more information and the full release, click here.

Texas Section Society for Range Management Award
Winners Recognized

Individuals and teams made up of landowners and government agency personnel were recognized with awards at the Texas Section Society for Range Management annual meeting hosted recently in Fredericksburg.

Highlighting the meeting's theme, "Building on our Heritage to Prepare for the Future," presentations were made at the awards luncheon to recipients of the Outstanding Rangeland Stewardship, Outstanding Rangeland Management Fellow and Outstanding Contribution to Rangeland Management awards.

The awards were presented by Ken Cearley, Texas Section Society president and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Amarillo; Jeff Goodwin, first vice president, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, (NRCS), Gatesville; and John Walker, second vice president, Texas A&M AgriLife Research, San Angelo.

For more information and the full release, click here.

Fall Feeding and Management for Spring Calving Beef Herds

October brings the season when beef producers are rewarded for the hard work of the past year. Weaning time is here or already in progress and calves are being preconditioned for the next production phase.

The weaning process is a critical management step, especially this year with drought conditions and reduced winter feed resources. Spring-calving cows are in the later stage of lactation and are providing very little nutrition to their calves. Once calves are five to seven months of age they should be removed from the cows using low-stress weaning systems such as "fenceline weaning." A bulletin on fenceline weaning can be downloaded from the Michigan State University (MSU) Beef Team website. Weaning significantly reduces nutritional requirements of the cows and allows the cow to improve body condition. Research has shown that cows will gain 100-125 pounds (lb.) of weight over 82 days compared to those nursing calves if adequate feed is available. This added weight gain will improve body condition score by 1.2 to 1.5 units.

Culling cows is also on the calendar. Evaluate cows for physical soundness and especially pregnancy status and cull all open cows. Consider age and previous management challenges such as udder quality, disposition, age, genetics, etc. As cows get past ten years of age, they often begin to develop physical problems that reduce their performance and market value. Do not "waste" feed on cows that are not going to produce value greater than their annual maintenance cost.

Cows that are dry and pregnant can get along well on crop residues. They can gain both weight and condition when strip grazing stockpiled forages or grazing crop residues after weaning. Supplementation should begin as feed quality declines and cow requirements increase. Utilize ration-balancing software to fine-tune your beef cow feeding needs.
Don't forget fall deworming and vaccination programs as the cows move off grazing systems to winter feeding.

For more information about beef cow feeding systems, visit the MSU Beef Team website or contact Kevin Gould at 616-527-5357.

Cow-Q-Lator Answers Questions About Pricing

After this summer's drought caused a forage shortage for cattle producers, many are venturing into grazing cornstalks for the first time. This raises questions not only about pricing, but also the responsibilities renters have during grazing.

Factors like fencing and animal care can affect price, along with distance and number of animals. The Cornstalk Grazing Cow-Q-Lator is a tool that can help both corn and cattle producers determine a reasonable rate, according to Extension Ag Economist Matt Stockton.

"The tool is designed for cattle producers to evaluate costs of cornstalk grazing," Stockton said. "However, it could be used by a corn producer to calculate how much a prospective lessee can pay."
The Cow-Q-Lator takes many of these effects into account to determine the price of renting acres. The Microsoft Excel spreadsheet includes entries for number and size of animals, transportation costs, as well as costs for care and supervision.

"Corn producers will find that the farther they are from the cattles' home, the less their stalks are worth," Stockton said. "However, they may be able to provide animal care and supervision and reduce the owner's costs."

Rent may be higher, for example, if the owner of the property builds the fence around the grazing area. Producers can also use the Cow-Q-Lator to the point at which the cost of transportation exceeds cost of lease. With the Cow-Q-Lator, both lessor and lessee can play around and figure out the best deal.

For more information on the Cow-Q-Lator, visit or

Feed Management and Planning Meetings for
Beef Producers Begin Nov. 6

As cow-calf and feedlot operators continue to deal with drought-related issues, Iowa State University (ISU) Extension and Outreach and the Iowa Beef Center will continue to offer educational opportunities to address ongoing and emerging issues.

"Drought — a Game Changer for Beef Operations" is the title of meetings scheduled from Nov. 6-Dec. 6 across Iowa. The meetings will look at strategies those in the beef industry may consider as they move forward.

"These fall meetings will focus on managing feed costs and alternative feeds for fall and winter feeding for the cow herd or feedlot use," said Russ Euken, beef specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach.

"Developing feeding programs that use available feeds and keep feed costs in check is the goal."
Meeting topics were determined by the needs of producers dealing with drought issues. Topics include the following:

For more information and the full release, click here.

Stocker Calves May be Option for Wheat Pasture Producers

Producers who are able to graze out cattle on their wheat pasture as part of a dual-purpose management system need to take stock of both livestock markets and the local effects of recent and projected weather patterns.

"A year ago, fall stocker calf prices increased counter-seasonally into early December; conditions are right for similar support to stocker calf prices this fall," said Derrell Peel, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension livestock marketing specialist.
However, given that calf prices are already at high levels and the price of corn is sharply higher this year, Peel cautions that stocker prices may increase only slightly or hold mostly steady near current levels.

Calf prices in Oklahoma jumped as much as $10 per hundredweight during the week of Oct. 8-12, with stronger stocker demand and limited supplies both contributing factors. Feeder cattle auction volumes in Oklahoma have decreased 26% during the last six weeks compared to last year.

"Recent rains throughout much of Oklahoma should help to solidify stocker demand in some areas," Peel said. "Most of the wheat has been planted and some areas may have wheat pasture available for grazing by mid-November."

Unfortunately, most of Oklahoma's north central, northwestern and southwestern areas received comparatively little rainfall and remain critically dry.

For more information and the full release, click here.


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