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Dan Loy, Iowa Beef Center director's monthly column featured in Cattleman Magazine. Archives

Dan Loy in The Cattleman Magazine


August 2019

Your priorities are our priorities

Every year we take the information we learn from beef producers around the state and update our priorities for the Iowa Beef Center. These keep us grounded and working on challenges and issues that are relevant to your needs. This month we will share our current priorities. As always we welcome input and suggestions from you. Here are our five major priorities and a few examples of some current or upcoming programs, projects or tools that are being provided by the Iowa Beef Center faculty and staff.

Priority 1. Enhance the understanding and management of costs and risk for Iowa beef producers.
Look for a new and improved calving book later this fall developed to be compatible with North Dakota State’s newly revised Cow Herd Appraisal of Performance (CHAPS) as well as BQA record keeping guidelines. Also there may still be free copies of our new publication "Iowa Cow-calf Production - Exploring Different Management Systems" (IBC-131). This is based on a 3-year project where cow-calf producer cooperators shared information on costs and production across a wide variety of systems.  In addition to our meeting series on the project earlier in the year, Iowa Farm Bureau hosted a webinar on the project in June that was led by Denise Schwab and Erika Lundy. The recording of that webinar is on that website in the members only content area.

Priority 2. Improving environmental stewardship, nutrient management and water quality, and adapting to risk associated with environmental conditions.
Some of our major efforts are research and demonstrations on grazing of cover crops, pasture and grazing programs. Our ISU Extension field engineers are always willing to give advice on improving water quality in feedlot operations as well.

Priority 3. Improved beef cattle production efficiency.
Many of our efforts and researchfall within this priority. Efficient use of production technologies, good feed bunk management, fine tuning nutrient requirements and managing an efficient transition from the cow herd to the feedlot are examples of both research and extension programming efforts.

Priority 4. Assist expanding, transitioning and new operators or enterprises.
We have several tools available to help make decisions in expansion or transitioning including cow-share agreements, grazing agreement analysis and facility comparisons. Also ask your regional beef specialist about "Boots in the Barn," a program especially for women interested in beef production.

Priority 5. Enhancing cattle value through supply chain information systems, quality management, animal care and traceability.
This final priority has taken on increased emphasis over the past year due to demand for Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) education and certification. This program is conducted in Iowa in partnership with the Iowa Beef Industry Council. Currently more than 10,000 people have been BQA-certified through in-person sessions in Iowa. Also, in June we hosted a very successful Stockmanship and Stewardship event in Ames where many participants became certified in the BQA Transportation (BQAT) program.

Do you need to become BQAT verified? There are three opportunities this month. August 9 there will be a session in Carroll (contact Erika Lundy for details), August 12 there will be a session in Welton (contact Denise Schwab for details) and August 13 there will be a session in Sioux Center (contact Beth Doran for details).

Still looking to be BQA certified? There are upcoming in-person training and certification sessions across the state. Dates include August 6 in Rock Rapids and August 26 in Tama and September 18 in Decorah. Check the Iowa Beef Industry Council’s BQA website for details.

The IBC at Iowa State University serves as the university’s extension program to cattle producers. Our center comprises a team of faculty and staff from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the College of Veterinary Medicine and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. We work together to develop and deliver the latest in research-based information to improve the profitability and vitality of Iowa’s beef industry. If you’d like to be notified of updates on progress of research projects or programs that might be coming to your area, please subscribe to our “Growing Beef” newsletter by following the link on our website, If you have a question, use the “Ask our Experts” link on the website. Also, feel free to call us at 515-294-BEEF or email us at You can also follow @iowabeefcenter on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.