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Corn silage has always been a major feed component in dairy and beef rations. However, this year's weather is making harvesting corn silage a challenge for many areas of the state. While every area of the state has had different growing conditions, all have been challenging. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach beef specialist Denise Schwab said a few basic principles of corn silage harvest are critical to harvest and store a high quality corn silage feedstuff.


For the first time since 2014, the annual conference of the Iowa Forage and Grasslands Council will be held in Des Moines during November. The 2018 Iowa Forage and Grasslands Conference is set for Nov. 26-27 at the Des Moines Airport Holiday Inn. ISU extension beef specialist Patrick Wall is IFGC president and says Jim Gerrish and Byron Shelton are featured speakers at the event.

Beef and dairy producers are reminded that the registration deadline for the Aug. 28 Northwest Iowa Corn Silage Clinic is approaching. The newly posted event brochure includes topics, agenda and registration details and a registration panel to help them meet the Aug. 22 deadline. The Iowa Beef Center and Iowa State University Extension Dairy Team are hosting the event at the Northwest Iowa Research and Demonstration Farm near Sutherland. Iowa State extension dairy specialist Fred Hall and beef specialist Beth Doran, both from northwest Iowa, are organizing the program.

Two Iowa State University projects, both coordinated by Iowa Beef Center and ISU extension beef specialists, were among 17 recently awarded funding through the 2018 North Central Extension Risk Management Education Program. Beef specialist Denise Schwab is the project director for “Fall Grazed Cover Crops - Balancing Feed Cost and Weather Risk” and beef specialist Patrick Wall will lead the “’Iowa Cowmaker Elite’ Bred Heifer Development Risk Management Project.”


Katy Lippolis isn't an Iowa native, but the new Iowa State extension cow-calf specialist says she feels right at home in the state where her roots in agriculture began. She's especially looking forward to working with producers to help develop management strategies to improve production, total industry efficiency and profitability in their operations.

Proceedings from the Iowa-Wisconsin Silage Conference held June 21 in Dubuque are now available on our website. The conference featured presentations from academic and industry experts, including Iowa State Extension dairy specialist Hugo Ramirez and beef specialists Denise Schwab and Garland Dahlke.

The 2018 field day of the Iowa State University McNay Memorial Research Farm, set for Aug. 7, southwest of Chariton will provide updates on grazing cover crops, summer annual and alfalfa trials, pasture renovation and Canadian thistle control. Iowa State Extension and Outreach beef specialist Joe Sellers said the annual event is free and no preregistration is necessary.

The deadline to register for the Iowa Beef Center’s 2018 Beef Feedlot Short Course is drawing close, so if you’re thinking about attending this year’s event you’ll want to act soon. IBC program specialist Erika Lundy said there are a limited number of remaining spots in the 2018 “Iowa Beef Center Feedlot Short Course” and the deadline is July 24 or if the attendance limit of 30 is reached.

Three stockmanship, handling and Beef Quality Assurance workshops featuring Dr. Tom Noffsinger from Nebraska will be held in Iowa July 30 and 31. In the stockmanship sessions, Noffsinger will teach participants about cattle handling methods that improve animal movement and cattle performance by reducing stress on livestock. Iowa State Extension specialists Denise Schwab and Russ Euken are coordinating the workshops and will lead BQA certification sessions at each. Please preregister for the site you wish to attend to ensure adequate meal count.


Heat is the word for the next couple of days. Temperatures can easily reach 100 degrees F and combined with humidity, that pushes heat index figures even higher. Check your cattle, provide plenty of shade and water, and delay unnecessary movement. Check the USDA-ARS Cattle Risk Factors and actions to minimize heat stress pages. As of Friday afternoon, June 29, nearly all of Iowa was included in the emergency level of heat stress. Be sure to watch yourself and employees for heat-related symptoms as well.

Recent rains and flooding have cattle producers dealing with flooded pastures, water-logged facilities and manure management challenges. One of the first things to check is structural strength of the livestock buildings, electrical equipment and safety of the water systems says Beth Doran, beef specialist for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Our flood-related resources offers a wealth of info at a glance.

Recent rains, floods and excess water could mean changes to your grazing practices, feed supplies and management practices. Check out our list of flood-related resources.

Iowa Beef Center, University of Nebraska—Lincoln and Lallemand Animal Nutrition offered a "Silage for Beef Cattle" conference June 14. The entire event was livestreamed and the video recording is now available on our website. It's just under 7.5 hours in length.

Northwest Iowa beef and dairy producers depend on quality corn silage to build profitable rations. To help them accomplish this, the Iowa Beef Center and Iowa State University Extension Dairy Team are hosting the Northwest Iowa Corn Silage Clinic on Aug. 28 at the Northwest Iowa Research and Demonstration Farm near Sutherland. Iowa State extension dairy specialist Fred Hall and beef specialist Beth Doran, both from northwest Iowa, are organizing the program.

The forecast for this weekend is for temperatures to approach 100 degrees, and with added humidity it will feel 100+ degrees. Iowa State extension beef veterinarian Grant Dewell has these reminders for cattle producers:
For feedlot cattle, hot temperature for 2 or 3 days plus warm nights mean increased risk for heat stress. With a chance for rain on Thursday, humidity will increase making it difficult for heavy cattle to maintain thermo-neutral body temperature. Avoid working cattle this weekend, expect feed intake to drop and consider bumping the forage up. Mitigation strategies such as shade and sprinklers should be available. Get more info from the free-to-download ISU Heat Stress for Cattle publication.

Based on the success of the initial beef feedlot short course in 2017, Iowa Beef Center at Iowa State University has planned a second event set for July 31-Aug. 2 in Ames. IBC program specialist Erika Lundy said the 2018 “Iowa Beef Center Feedlot Short Course” will provide classroom and hands-on instruction in a variety of topics, along with sessions at the Iowa State Beef Nutrition Farm and Couser Cattle Company in Nevada.

Southwest Iowa beef producers who want to become certified through the Beef Quality Assurance program have three opportunities this month at sessions being hosted by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach beef specialist Chris Clark. The program at each session will cover numerous best management practices and will qualify producers for BQA certification.

Iowa Beef Center is partnering with University of Nebraska—Lincoln and Lallemand Animal Nutrition to offer a one-day conference "Silage for Beef Cattle." Iowa State feedlot specialist and IBC director Dan Loy said organizers of the Thursday, June 14, event want as many people as possible to access the information, so IBC is hosting a live-streaming option.

The next session in this year’s Greenhorn Grazing series at the Iowa State University McNay Research Farm is set for June 14, and organizer Joe Sellers said people who want to attend are encouraged to register soon for an accurate meal count. Registration is still open for the remaining four sessions of this year's series at a total cost of $50, which is a great deal because it includes a meal at each session and a resource guide.

To aid beef producers in the Beef Quality Assurance certification process, the Iowa Beef Center, Iowa Beef Industry Council, and several other partners are co-sponsoring a series of three BQA workshops in northwest Iowa this summer. Iowa State extension beef specialist Beth Doran said these sessions help producers maintain transparency and credibility with consumers.

A three-day bus trip to Kansas in August will offer Iowa beef producers the opportunity to tour beef industry breed organizations, visit a variety of private and Kansas State University facilities, and talk with successful producers and researchers. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach beef specialist Joe Sellers said the Aug. 22-24 trip will provide a wealth of information, experiences and discussion opportunities to tour attendees.


The iconic "Pasture Management Guide for Livestock Producers" has been completely updated and revised by a team of extension professionals across disciplines, and is ready for all producers who use grazing systems for their herds. The 167-page publication includes full color photos of material and topics presented, as well as illustrations of forage growth, designing pasture systems and more. Read more and get the link to order.

ISU Extension and Outreach is co-hosting the Iowa-Wisconsin Silage Conference in Dubuque on June 21. Extension dairy specialist Hugo Ramirez and beef specialists Denise Schwab and Garland Dahlke are among the academic and industry experts who will present information on a wide variety of topics related to growing and using quality silage. Cost is $50 when registered before midnight on June 14, and includes lunch and refreshment breaks.

Building on the success of a similar conference in 2016, Iowa Beef Center is partnering with University of Nebraska—Lincoln and Lallemand Animal Nutrition to offer a one-day conference "Silage for Beef Cattle." Iowa State feedlot specialist and IBC director Dan Loy said organizers of the Thursday, June 14, event want as many people as possible to access the information, so IBC will again host a live-streaming option for those who can't make it to Mead, NE.

The global beef market continues to indicate that consumers are salivating for high quality beef and they’re willing to open their wallets to enjoy the experience. Iowa’s rolling hills and abundant feed resources provide a great competitive advantage for producing high quality beef and being able to grain-finish the end product. Beef cattle producers who want to learn more about how they, too, can benefit are invited to attend “Feeding Higher Quality Cattle” on Thursday, June 7 in Oskaloosa.

The Lower Skunk River Watershed Project invites all to a pasture walk and Hereford tour near Lockridge on Wednesday, June 6. The project and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will provide supper prepared by the Jefferson County Cattlemen beginning at 5 p.m., followed by an evening pasture walk with Thomas Heidt and his Herefords. Learn about rotational grazing, weed and brush management, erosion control and fescue management. No cost to attend, but please RSVP before 4 p.m. on Monday, June 4. See the event flyer for details, address and registration contacts.


The 2018 Iowa State University Animal Industry Report is now available online. The annual report, now in its 15th year, features a variety of animal industry-related research done at Iowa State that is supported by the Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station. The report is coordinated through the animal science department.

Five research projects from Iowa State University and Iowa Beef Center are among those funded as part of Iowa Beef Industry Council's first call for proposals. More than a dozen Iowa State campus and field-based research and extension faculty and staff will lead the projects.

The I-29 Moo University Dairy Beef Short Course Tour drew 80 beef producers and allied industry professionals from nine states and Canada. The tour was tied to the Central Plains Dairy Expo with assistance from Extension specialists in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, and North and South Dakota, including Beth Doran and Fred Hall from Iowa State. The event photo page has a link to information shared with participants.

Livestock producers who want to learn about optimizing forage and livestock production while conserving natural resources are invited to attend the Greenhorn Grazing series at the Iowa State University McNay Research Farm near Chariton this summer and fall. Iowa State Extension and Outreach beef specialist Joe Sellers said the series begins May 31.

Iowa Cattlemen's Association plans May 17 Cover Crop Field Day for Fall Grazing event as part of its Stewards of the Land Project. Attendees will hear an update on the project, see rainfall simulator and grain drill modification demonstrations, and learn about soil sample baseline results. ISU extension beef specialist Joe Sellers is one of the speakers for the event, held at the SJS Cattle Company, 11988 500th St., Lucas. No cost to attend thanks to sponsors, but please RSVP to ICA by May 14 by calling 515-296-2266.

Prolonged winter weather has limited forage growth thus far this season, which means many producers are still feeding cows. Iowa State University beef specialist Chris Clark reminded producers that nutritional requirements are significantly greater during lactation and it is critical for producers to adjust rations appropriately this spring.

The annual Update for Veterinarians program, organized and provided by Iowa Beef Center, features a full day of education and information focused on beef cattle. Iowa State Extension and Outreach beef specialist Joe Sellers coordinates the program and invites practitioners who work with cattle to make plans now to attend the Tuesday, May 15, event at the Iowa State McNay Research Farm near Chariton.

Emerging Farmers Forum invites your application. If you've recently returned to our family farm or are planning to return, this event could be just what you're looking for. It's a two-day all expenses paid workshop/cabin stay at Pinhook Farm near Clarinda on Aug. 1-2. Iowa Beef Center joins Iowa Learning Farms and several other sponsors to provide this opportunity. Applications are open through May 16, with notice of your application status by June 1. More info including link to the online application form is on the ILF website.


Integrating cover crops into a row crop system can be a challenge, especially when utilizing the cover crop as a forage resource. Beef producers interested in learning how Iowa State University research is helping producers capitalize on the added forage from cover crops can provide should plan to attend a southern Iowa field day on Tuesday, April 24.

Farmers and beef producers interested in learning more about cover crops and successfully integrating cover crops as a forage resource into their current beef and row crop enterprises are invited to attend either of two upcoming field days in Monona or Buena Vista County. Erika Lundy, extension beef program specialist with the Iowa Beef Center, said both events feature similar topics but will be held on different days at two of Iowa State University’s outlying research farms. There is no cost to attend and a free meal is included at both locations.

Producers and agribusiness professionals have a unique opportunity to see how dairy steers are managed and marketed in the upper Midwest through a special bus tour on Tuesday, March 27. The I-29 Moo University's Dairy Beef Short Course Tour will be held from 8 a.m to 4:30 p.m. along the I-29 corridor. Two Iowa State University Extension and Outreach specialists from northwest Iowa, Fred Hall and Beth Doran, are helping organize and present during the tour.

Iowa Learning Farms invites new farmers and those interested in farming to a special soil health and grazing workshop in Creston on March 15. Facilitators will pose questions to attendees on no-tillage practices, soil conservation and water quality, and those answers will guide program speakers in presenting helpful information. Iowa State extension beef specialist Joe Sellers will help field questions from the attendees. The workshop flyer has more info.The program is set for 6-8 p.m. at the Creston PIzza Ranch. No charge to attend and the meal is free, too. Reservations through ILF are strongly encouraged to ensure adequate space and food.


National survey looks at how VFD has affected herd management, animal health. If you’re over age 18 and raise beef cattle, dairy cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, poultry or any other food producing animal, you’re invited to participate in a survey open through the end of March on the Michigan State University website. It's anticipated to take about 10-15 minutes to complete. All responses are confidential and participation is voluntary. Take the survey online here. ISU extension beef specialist Chris Clark represents Iowa on this group and is available to answer your questions about the survey or its intended use. Contact him by email.

The 35th annual Eastern Iowa Hay Producers meeting and conference will focus on economics and use of fungicides in alfalfa and technologies to improve field productivity and forage quality. All are welcome to attend the March 15 meeting at Buzzy’s in Welton beginning with registration at 10 a.m. The $30 fee is payable at the door and includes a membership to the organization and meal at the event. Iowa State Extension beef specialist Denise Schwab has more information.


Register soon for the Iowa Beef Center's Feb. 6-7 Cow-Calf Short Course. Deadline is Jan. 31. Extension program specialist Erika Lundy said the program is intended for advanced cattlemen and features classroom sessions and hands-on instruction.

Narrowing margins in the beef cow industry means a closer eye on controlling feed cost while meeting cows’ nutrient requirements. ISU Extension beef specialist Denise Schwab has scheduled two separate workshops on Feb. 14, each focusing on helping attendees increase their knowledge of both the feed supply and the beef animal’s requirements. The content for both will be the same with emphasis on providing info for participants and helping them create plans that work for their herds.

Are you still wondering whether to attend Feedlot Forum 2018 on Jan. 16 in Sioux Center? Organizer Beth Doran, who also is Iowa State University Extension beef specialist for the area, encourages you to ask yourself five questions and consider your answers.

The premier educational event in Iowa for cow-calf producers is offering a comprehensive package of information to attendees later his month. The popular Cornbelt Cow-Calf Conference has provided timely, accurate and important information to the state’s beef cattle industry for more than 40 years. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach beef program specialist Patrick Wall said the Jan. 27 event at the Bridge View Center in Ottumwa will continue that successful tradition.

A two-day cow-calf short course combining classroom learning and hands-on instruction will be offered by the Iowa Beef Center in Ames on Feb. 6-7. The program will instruct advanced cattlemen in areas specific to beef cow nutrition, reproduction and calving management, and is limited to the first 30 registrants.

A new "Crush Margin" app for beef and swine producers is now available. The app was developed as part of a North Central Region Risk Management Education grant for livestock price risk management education, and uses data from the ISU Livestock Crush Margin website. ISU extension livestock specialist Russ Euken and ISU Extension livestock economist Lee Schulz developed the app to assist producers in evaluating margins and taking advantages of profitable opportunities.

The upcoming Driftless Region Beef Conference, set for Jan. 25-26 in Dubuque will spotlight several big picture issues facing the beef industry, according to Denise Schwab, beef specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Don’t delay - the lower early registration fee ends at midnight, Jan. 12.


News releases |2017|