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As interest in using hoop barns for calving continues to grow, so does the need to understand the unique management techniques necessary for this approach. Joe Sellers, Iowa State University Extension beef program specialist, has scheduled an on-farm workshop to address this need. The workshop will be held Tuesday, March 28, beginning at 6 p.m. at the Brewer Family Farm near Dallas Center.

Producers interested in learning more about cover crops and how to successfully incorporate their use in both stocker cattle and cow-calf operations are invited to two field day events in northwest Iowa on Tuesday, April 11. The morning session is at the Iowa State University Allee Research Farm near Newell and the afternoon session is at the Mark Schleisman farm near Lake City. Both locations and noon lunch are free with RSVP.

Iowa Beef Center at Iowa State University is working on a project to characterize how Iowa producers produce and use silage and earlage for cattle feed. A two-pronged approach led by extension beef program specialist Russ Euken will use results from a current survey of Iowa producers and lab analysis of silage and earlage samples. Learn how to be part of the survey and possibly qualify for free silage/earlage analysis.

The Iowa cow herd is growing, and managing feed and forage resources is a key to profitability, according to ISU extension beef program specialist Joe Sellers. It’s time to start planning improvements to your pasture systems, and an upcoming event in Corning will provide timely topics for producers to do just that. Learn more about the free session, "Spring Grazing - Opportunities and Management Needs," set for Feb. 27.

North central Iowa cow-calf producers are invited to fine-tune their management skills at a March 2 workshop in Iowa Falls. Preregister by Feb. 23 to reserve your noon meal at this free event. Hardin County Extension is coordinating the session that runs from 9:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. See more information.

Even though snow cover this winter is less than many years, spring calving operations need to prepare now. Long-term cool wet weather and accompanying persistent muddy conditions are more than difficult, they can be deadly. Iowa State Extension beef veterinarian Grant Dewell offers reminders and suggestions for helping cows and calves through the next few months.

UPDATE: 2/20/17: the webinar and hearing will begin at 2 p.m. Central Time.
Extension beef program specialist Beth Doran and extension dairy program specialist Fred Hall will host a live webinar of the first hearing in the country on the 2018 Farm Bill reauthorization later this month in the basement meeting room of the Sioux County extension office in Orange City. The webinar is set for Feb. 23. There’s no preregistration and seating will be on a first-come, first-seated basis. The time of the hearing will be announced as soon as it is released.

Confused about feeding Chlortetracycline to your beef cows or feedlot cattle? The transition of Chlortetracycline  or CTC to a VFD drug has highlighted several issues that are raising questions or problems for Iowa beef producers, according to Iowa State University extension beef veterinarian Grant Dewell. He and others have developed two informational pieces to address those concerns.

The 2017 EIHPA conference will focus on two unique methods of incorporating forage crops into grain crops. All are welcome to attend the March 10 meeting at Buzzy’s in Welton beginning at 10.m. The $30 fee is payable at the door and includes a membership to the organization and meal at the event. Extension beef program specialist Denise Schwab provides more information.

Beef producers interested in software to help with balancing rations will want to check out IBC's newly updated Beef Ration and Nutrition Decision Software (BRaNDS) ration balancing software. Association scientist Garland Dahlke recently completed this update and said the new version is more user friendly and reflects recently updated guidelines in the "Nutrient Requirements of Beef Cattle."

From producer panelists to academic and private industry representatives, the 2017 Iowa Forage and Grassland Council (IFGC) Conference will offer a wealth of information and experience to attendees. In addition to industry professionals, the conference also will feature two producer panels on extended grazing and grazing management experiences and break-out presentations on beef and sheep forage nutrition and mineral nutrition.

A series of strategy-focused workshops in early 2017 will help cow-calf producers learn more about improving their operation's bottom line. Attend any of the sessions for more on feeding, including grazing harvest residue, cover crops and alternative feeds. Iowa State cow-calf specialist Patrick Gunn is organizing the series.

Keep safety top of mind when agitating and pumping pits. Hydrogen sulfide levels can spike quickly and without warning during pit pumping, causing potential threat to human and animal safety. Because agitation releases gases from the manure, it’s essential to ensure adequate barn ventilation during agitation and pumping. The fresh air from this ventilation removes those gases and dilutes any concentrates. These resources provide information, fact sheets and videos on safety when agitating and pumping.

See our updated page of resources, information, sources and answers for all species for the Veterinary Feed Directive.

News Archives


Dan Loy in The Cattleman Magazine

Dan Loy, Iowa Beef Center director, writes this monthly column featured in Iowa Cattleman Magazine.

March 2017

Beef Production Research at ISU

Each year the most recent research from Iowa State University on beef cattle is published in the Animal Industry Report. This gives you the first look at new information that often has not yet been published in peer review journals. The 2017 AIR was released in February and will be available online at the Iowa State Digital Repository.

The beef-related studies featured this year generally fall into five general areas of grazing and forages, feedlot nutrition, reproduction and genetics, health and software/decision tool development.

In the grazing and forages area, you can read a progress report on different methods of initiation of stockpiling cool season grass pastures for fall calving cows, and a comparison of GMO and conventional corn stalks.

Read the rest of this column.

Patrick Gunn -- Angus JournalPatrick Gunn, assistant professor of animal science at Iowa State University, writes this monthly column for Angus Journal.

February 2017

Getting serious about colostrum

It is well-understood that timely and adequate consumption of colostrum is critically important for newborn calves. Bovine antibodies are not readily transferred across the placenta, but rather are concentrated in the udder as colostrum during late gestation. Therefore, calves are born almost completely unprotected from infectious disease and must ingest colostrum in order to receive passive immunity from the dam.

To ensure adequate absorption, calves must receive colostrum within the first 24 hours of life. As calves age, the intestines lose the ability to absorb large molecules like the IgG antibody proteins. Because there is significant variability in calf birth weight, colostrum concentration, volume of colostrum produced, etc., it is difficult to make definitive recommendations regarding the exact dose and timing of colostrum to ensure calf health.

Read more.