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Forecasted Heat Warnings May Cause Cattle Issues. After a cold winter that seemed to go on forever, spring has lasted about two weeks and summer is now here. The USDA-NOAA heat stress forecast indicates that heat stress conditions will be elevated this weekend. Although conditions are not going to be severe, the entire state will be under a high heat warning on Saturday and Sunday. Temperatures this warm, early in the year before cattle have a chance to acclimate may cause some issues.

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.


News Archives


Dan Loy in The Cattleman Magazine

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

May 2018

Happy “Quality” Beef Month!

Once again it is time to fire up the grills and enjoy some high quality beef. The good news is the beef quality has never been higher. Through the first three months of 2018 the percent USDA Choice in the U.S. was over 80%. Of the USDA Choice cattle, over 35% qualified for USDA certified programs that require cattle to be graded in the upper 2/3 of Choice (such as Certified Angus Beef.) Between 7% and 9% of carcasses nationally graded USDA Prime. Since over 2/3 of Iowa cattle are marketed outside the state the number of Prime carcasses from Iowa cattle cannot be determined precisely, but those States where most Iowa cattle are marketed are considerably higher than the national average during that same time frame. Cattle from plants in Nebraska have been running over 10% USDA Prime and cattle marketed in plants east of the Mississippi River (including Illinois plants) have been supplying more than 15% USDA Prime. Traditionally USDA Prime steaks were rare and were typically saved for high end steak houses and export markets.

Read the rest of this column.

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

May 2017

The post-AI nutrition slump

In many Midwestern beef herds, the beginning of breeding season coincides with green grass. As such, many producers have a tradition of estrus synchronization and artificial insemination followed by immediately moving heifers and cows from the winter drylot to fresh spring pasture.

Although early spring grass is high in energy and protein, it is also extremely high in water content, particularly if a flush of spring rains has immediately preceded turnout. As such, each bite that the cows or heifers take is diluted in the amount of nutrients ingested. Although most nutritionists will agree that water content of a feed is not a limiting factor for intake, there is a limit to the number of bites a cow can take in a predetermined period of time.

Read more.