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October

Beef Quality Assurance Transportation is the latest certification needed for beef cattle haulers and producers who deliver cattle to major packing plants.To help transporters become certified in BQA transportation, a multi-state workshop will be offered by Iowa State Extension and Outreach, South Dakota State University Extension and University of Minnesota Extension on Tuesday, Dec. 10, from 1 to 4 p.m. at Sioux Falls Regional Livestock. This will be the last in-person workshop offered in South Dakota and northwest Iowa for 2019.

September

The 2019 Iowa State University Animal Industry Report is now available online. The annual report, begun in 2004, features a variety of animal industry-related research and study 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 and is published by the Iowa State University Digital Press, using a new publication system this year.

The use of cover crops following grain production is a great way to protect soil, reduce erosion, improve water quality and enhance soil quality. While fall grazing crops face weather-related challenges, they also can reduce feed costs. A new infographic shares experiences, information and advice from 18 producers who have fall-grazed cover crops for at least two years.

As beef cattle producers turn their attention to weaning, the Iowa Beef Center encourages producers to consider using its 205-Day Weight Calculator. This free spreadsheet tool assists beef producers in calculating Standardized 205-Day weaning weights. Iowa State University Extension beef specialist Denise Schwab said weaning weights are used to evaluate differences in growth potential of calves and the milking ability of dams.

Iowa State University extension beef specialist Patrick Wall will present information on developing personalized grazing plans during a free pasture walk in Lee County on Oct. 10. ISU Extension and the Natural Resources Conservation Service will co-host the event, set for 4:30 to 6 p.m. at the Jef Buford farm near Donnellson. NRCS employees will lead a soil health demonstration and talk about available cost share assistance. Please preregister by Oct. 8 by contacting the Lee County Extension Office at 319-835-5116 or email weisinge@iastate.edu. See details and directions on the event flyer.

With the limited hay crops in some areas this summer, beef producers may want to consider harvesting corn silage to supplement the cow herd this winter. Corn silage can be a very cost effective feedstuff for cow herds, but proper harvesting, storing and feeding is critical to maintain silage quality and feed value. Dr. Hugo Ramirez Ramirez, Iowa State University dairy specialist, shared his top five priorities for making quality silage.

In the absence of a reported market price, determining a fair price for corn silage is a negotiation between buyer and seller. As in most negotiations, the fair price is what the seller and buyer agree to, but there are many variables to consider in negotiating that price. Iowa State University extension livestock specialist Russ Euken offers guidance for sellers and buyers.

Iowa Beef Center's new publication "Iowa’s Pastureland and Grazing 2013-2018" is based on survey results from producers who attended various grazing and pasture management programs over that timeframe. It gives a snapshot of how Iowa’s cow-calf industry has changed in terms of pasture utilization. It summarizes the findings of that evaluation to determine the changes in Iowa’s pasture management and to look at the effectiveness of IBC’s various pasture programs.

August

Iowa cattlemen often are faced with limited forage availability when it comes to extending the grazing season. Now, producers may have the option to add grazing Conservation Reserve Program acres to their grazing rotation in the spring and again in late summer. Iowa State University extension beef specialist Erika Lundy says a Crawford County pasture walk, set for Sept. 11, will help increase awareness of this program and the benefits it can have for cattle, the land and wildlife.

The premier educational opportunity for cattlewomen in Iowa, Boots In The Barn, will be hosted by Louisa County Extension this fall. A four-meeting series covering an array of topics has been set for 5:30-8:30 p.m. on Aug. 28, Sept. 4, Sept. 18 and Oct. 2 at the Youth Center in Columbus Junction. The building is located on the Louisa County Fairgrounds at 101 Fairgrounds Road, which is just off highway 92 on the southeast side of Columbus Junction. Iowa State University Extension beef specialist Patrick Wall said attendees find the program usable and enjoyable.

July

Farmers and families are invited to a two-part soil health field day on Aug. 6 on the Adam Nechanicky farm in Tama County. Sponsored by a host of cooperating entities, including Practical Farmers of Iowa and Iowa State Extension and Outreach, the event features both farmer-focused and family-focused portions, and extension beef specialist Denise Schwab is one of the presenters. See the flyer for more information including how and when to register for the free event.

Cattle producers, farmers and farm businesses in south central Iowa will learn about the latest crop production and grazing research and trends during the fall field day at Iowa State University’s McNay Memorial Research and Demonstration Farm Aug. 6. Registration begins at 4:30 p.m. and the field day starts at 5 p.m., with a free meal provided by the Lucas County Cattlemen, followed by a “Farm and Projects Update” by the research farm staff. The evening tour is free and open to the public, although preregistration is requested by Aug. 2. See a flyer of the day's agenda.

From 2015-2018, the Iowa Beef Center at Iowa State University partnered with 28 producers across the state in the Iowa Cow Systems Project. It was designed to identify costs, environmental impacts and best practices from Iowa cow-calf operations. The effort worked to assess emerging beef cow management technologies, detail benchmarks, summarize production and environmental data and develop decision tools. Read more about the project, findings and how to access the results.

Beef producers and agribusiness professionals have an opportunity to obtain their Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) certification in northwest Iowa, according to Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Beef Specialist Beth Doran. The session is set for Aug. 6 at Frontier Bank, 301 Main St., in Rock Rapids running from 10 a.m. to noon. Preregister by Aug. 4.

Seems like we just had a heat and humidity reminder, and yet the rest of this week calls for more of that. So, here we go: Temperatures will be in the upper 90’s this week, and the humidity will be elevated as well. Feedlot cattle may not be acclimated to summer temperatures yet and the fast warm up this weekend may cause some heat stress issues. ISU extension beef veterinarian Grant Dewell offers timely reminders for producers.
Check out our heat resources page.

The College of Veterinary Medicine and the Iowa Beef Center at Iowa State University are asking for help from midwestern confined cow-calf producers on a survey project. The main goal of this project is to determine the common management practices utilized, the incidence and importance of animal disease, and the nutritional management practices in confined cow-calf operations. We want to improve our understanding of how these operations are managed so that we can better serve producer needs through research and educational activities. All data collected will be completely confidential and no individual answers will be published. Any presentation of the results of the survey will have all answers compiled from all participants. We hope to complete our data collection and analysis by this fall so producer educational programming may be planned beginning in 2020. The survey is available online here https://iastate.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_bgyUzdjBrQJaBFj  and in paper version. Request a paper copy by contacting Dr. Terry Engelken at 515-294-2192. A stamped return envelope will be included so you can mail the completed survey back at no charge. You can email Engelken with any questions.

The purpose of Iowa Drainage School 2019 is to train stakeholders in sub-surface drainage concepts, planning and laying out drainage systems including surveying a profile, laying out the system, calculating tile line sizes and spacing using actual field data, and fixing common drainage system issues. The school is scheduled for August 20-22 at the Borlaug Learning Center in Nashua. Each day includes a combination of hands-on training, lecture and discussion, and problem solving using in-field examples. More information is available on the Iowa Drainage School website here http://www.aep.iastate.edu/ids/

A RUSLE2 and Iowa Phosphorus Index Workshop has been scheduled for July 25 at the Polk County Extension & Outreach Office in Altoona. This workshop provides hands-on RUSLE2 software orientation and uses real field examples to determine risk calculations of the Iowa Phosphorus Index; and how to incorporate these numbers into manure and nutrient management planning requirements. Soil sampling requirements, common errors, and the DNR’s review process also will be discussed. Anyone interested in this training can find additional information at the RUSLE2 Workshop website here https://register.extension.iastate.edu/rusle2

The July 30 deadline to register for the Iowa Beef Center’s 2019 Beef Feedlot Short Course is drawing close, so if you’re thinking about attending this year’s event you’ll want to act soon. There’s a limited number of available spots and IBC program specialist Erika Lundy said participants in the August 6-8 event will experience classroom and hands-on instruction in a variety of topics.

Beef Quality Assurance Transportation is a new program that provides information for farmers and professional truckers who are involved with transporting cattle. In light of the fact that BQAT certification will be required by several major packers beginning January 1, 2020, Iowa Beef Center has scheduled three BQAT trainings in mid-August for both commercial truckers and farmer/feeders who deliver cattle direct to packers.

Profitability in cattle feeding depends on more than just cattle prices and performance. It appears that controlling feed costs will play a major role in feedlot profits for 2020. Finding the most cost-effective energy and protein sources, and managing to reduce feed waste and losses is important. To help address these issues, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach beef specialist Denise Schwab is coordinating a conference on Friday, Aug. 9, at Buzzy’s in Welton.

June

Temperatures will be in the mid 90’s this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and with all the precipitation we have had the humidity will be elevated as well. Feedlot cattle may not be acclimated to summer temperatures yet and the fast warm up this weekend may cause some heat stress issues. ISU extension beef veterinarian Grant Dewell offers timely reminders for producers.

Beef producer Austin Siela said improving efficiency is the name of the grazing game for his operation. He'll share his experiences at a pasture walk on July 16, starting at 6 p.m. near Vinton. Also on the agenda is ISU extension beef specialist Denise Schwab, who will talk about grazing efficiency. No preregistration is necessary to attend.

The 2019 Beef Feedlot Short Course, organized and hosted by Iowa Beef Center at Iowa State University, is set for Aug. 6-8 at the Hansen Agriculture Student Learning Center in Ames. Iowa State Extension beef specialist Erika Lundy said the goal of the event is to optimize participant learning through exposure to new technology, research and best management practices.

Livestock producers who want to learn about optimizing forage and livestock production are invited to attend the five-part Greenhorn Grazing series at the ISU Davis County Extension Office this summer and fall. Iowa State Extension and Outreach beef specialist Chris Clark said the series has been a popular management course for producers over the years, with a solid base curriculum and ability to adjust the program to meet interests and needs of participants. The first session is June 26.

May

Iowa Beef Center’s Cow Systems Project, a research project to characterize three cow-calf production management systems across Iowa, will be the focus of a June 12 webinar sponsored by Iowa Farm Bureau. Iowa State University Extension beef specialists Denise Schwab and Erika Lundy will lead the discussion on the webinar, which is available at no charge.

Need to get your Beef Quality Assurance certification or Beef Quality Assurance Transportation certification? Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and the Iowa Beef Industry Council are offering two workshops on June 12 at Iowa Lakes Community College in Emmetsburg. Beth Doran, ISU extension beef specialist who's providing the workshops, said they enable producers to become BQA certified, which is a requirement of some packers.

With grass slow to come this spring, it is likely that forage quality will rapidly change this summer. As a general rule of thumb, energy values (total digestible nutrients or TDN) of forages, pasture included, can decrease rapidly at a rate of 0.33-1.0% per day from vegetative to mature stage. To preserve forage quality, harvesting excess forage acres now can be beneficial for later feeding. To address some of the challenges associated with first cutting forage crops, many producers have turned towards harvesting forages as a baleage.

A wet fall, unusually cold temperatures, excess rain, and in some cases flooding, have cattle and sheep producers wondering how they will manage forage shortages this summer and lay in forages for next winter. The good news is there are haying, grazing and silage options, according to Beth Doran, beef specialist with ISU extension. But she cautions that producers should check with their crop insurance agents about their alternative plans before a final decision is implemented.

Cattle producers can increase their knowledge of current feedlot issues and profitability during the June 13 Cattle Feeders Day at the Wallace Foundation Learning Center near Armstrong. Researchers from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will provide answers to producer questions related to animal health, nutrition and producing high quality, marketable beef, according to program organizer Erika Lundy, extension beef specialist.

April

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 production. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach beef specialist Chris Clark coordinates the program and invites practitioners who work with cattle to make plans now to attend the event set for Tuesday, June 11, at the Iowa State McNay Research Farm near Chariton.

Following the rough winter and high feed prices, many producers are anxious to get cows turned out to pasture. Taking time now to check your pastures and your grazing plan will help ensure a more successful grazing season. The Iowa Beef Center team offers a list of six spring pasture management tips to use now.

Flood waters may be receding, but renovation of flooded pastures is taking top billing. Beth Doran, Iowa State extension beef specialist, and Joel DeJong, Iowa State Extension field agronomist say now is the time for producers to check pasture plants for survival and start planning for possible renovation.

Flood waters are receding, but the challenges in recovery for farmers and livestock producers are just beginning. That's why Beth Doran, Iowa State University Extension beef specialist, said producers should get out in their fields as soon as possible. Beef producers should assess the damage to pastures and hay ground and then check out possible disaster assistance.

March

Cold and wet weather has added to the challenges of Iowa cow-calf producers that are currently calving. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach beef specialist Beth Doran said both are ideal conditions for contributing to calf scours. She recommends providing shelter for the calves such as a portion of a shed dedicated for calves to get away from their mothers or a portable calf shelter. 

To put it simply, Beth Reynolds sees herself as a resource for producers. As the new extension program specialist with the Iowa Beef Center, she said her goal is to provide relevant materials and keep resources readily available. Producers should look forward to seeing her at meetings, field days and research projects, as she looks forward to working with her IBC colleagues to share information and opportunities for education with producers and others in the beef industry.

The USDA's National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) is asking for help from cattle producers and other stakeholders in preparation for an upcoming study, "Health Management on U.S. Feedlots, 2020." Opinions expressed through a needs assessment survey (available through April 7) will be used to set study objectives and help researchers meet needs of industry and allied groups. The online survey will take 5-10 min. and includes a section where participants can add general comments.

Recent rains, floods and excess water could mean changes to your management and grazing practices, as well as current and future feed supplies. Check out these resources.

In the beef industry, calving management is critical to production and profitability of the cow herd. Knowing how to prepare, what to do and not do, and when to take action all are critical aspects of correctly managing calving in your herd. That’s why the Iowa Beef Center and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach developed the Calving Management Manual, now available on the IBC website.

February

The 2019 Dairy Beef Short Course, held in conjunction with the Central Plains Dairy Expo, will focus on the importance and value of dairy beef bull calves in today's marketplace. As dairy and beef producers continue to experience economic struggles, increasing the value of bull calves can add value for dairymen, feeders and processors is vital. Iowa State University dairy specialist Fred Hall said this year's short course will provide a wealth of information for attendees. It's set for Tuesday, March 26 in rooms 1 and 2 at the Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and registration is now open.

January

Due to severe weather, these BQA certification sessions are postponed:

  • BQA training originally scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 29 at the Lucas County Extension Office has been rescheduled for next Tuesday evening, Feb. 5.  The meeting will be held at the Lucas County Extension office from 6:30 p.m. to approximately 8:30 p.m.  To learn more or to register, please call the Lucas County Extension Office at 641-774-2016. 
  • The Jan. 30 BQA training in DeWitt is now postponed to Feb. 6, 6-8 p.m. at the Clinton County Fairgrounds. Any questions, contact Denise Schwab at 319-721-9624.
  • Jan. 30 session at Hamilton County Extension Office, Webster City, is cancelled. That office also is closed Jan. 29-30. Questions: contact Russ Euken.

"Foreign Animal Disease Preparedness: What to expect and How to prepare" workshops for cattle, pig, sheep and goat producers, extension personnel and veterinarians are scheduled at five Iowa locations, from Feb. 7 to March 12. All are hosted by Iowa Department of Ag and Land Stewardship and Center for Food Security and Public Health at Iowa State University, provided at no cost and include lunch. Attendees at these interactive workshops (8:30 to 3:30 p.m.) will learn what to expect if Foot and Mouth Disease or African Swine Fever is found in the U.S., how long movement could stop and the requirements to move animals once movement restarts, how to protect their animals from diseases, and the use of daily health monitoring strategies in an outbreak. More details on the workshop flyer link opens in new window/tab. Preregister by completing this online form or calling 515-281-5321.

Iowa is home to 4.2 percent of the United States’ beef cattle inventory, the seventh-largest number of any state in the country. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach beef specialist Denise Schwab said a project conducted through the Iowa Beef Center worked with 28 producers to characterize three production management systems. A series of meetings in February will share the results of the project and tour some cooperator operations.

Beef producers and agri-business professionals still have an opportunity to obtain their Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) certification in northwest Iowa, according to Iowa State extension beef specialist Beth Doran. The Iowa Beef Center, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and the Iowa Beef Industry Council are offering a "wrap-up” training on Feb. 5 at the Buena Vista County Extension Office in Storm Lake. The session, set for 1 to 3 p.m., will feature eight best management practices and new emerging trends in the beef industry. There is no cost to attend, but participants are encouraged to preregister before Feb. 3 by calling the Buena Vista County Extension Office at 712-732-5056. For more information, contact Doran by phone at 712-737-4230 or email doranb@iastate.edu. See a program flyer link opens in new window/tab.

Dairy and beef producers are invited to attend one of two advanced calving clinics in early February in Maquoketa and Independence. Iowa State University Extension beef specialist Denise Schwab said anyone who attends will learn something new regardless of their experience with calving out cows.

The premier educational event in Iowa for cow-calf producers, the Cornbelt Cow-Calf Conference, is offering a comprehensive package of information to attendees this month, including financial management, genetic selection and low-stress animal handling in the general sessions. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach beef specialist Patrick Wall said this year’s conference is set for Jan. 26 at the Bridge View Center in Ottumwa.

One of the most respected consultants in the cattle business, Burke Teichert, will be the featured speaker at the 2019 Driftless Region Beef Conference, Jan. 24-25 at the Grand River Conference Center in Dubuque. Check out the website and register soon. Early registration fee of $85 ends Jan. 11.

News releases |2018|