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The annual Iowa Forage and Grassland Council Conference features a great lineup of speakers and topics at its 2018 event. The conference, set for Jan. 18, will be held at the Iowa State University Alumni Center, just south of Stephens Auditorium at the Iowa State Center. ISU Extension and Outreach beef specialist and IFGC past president Joe Sellers said IFGC is partnering with Practical Farmers of Iowa to offer sessions presented by Kathy Voth and Rachel Gilker from On Pasture.

Producers have come to expect relevant information from the Cornbelt Cow-Calf Conference on current topics that impact their profitability, according to ISU Extension and Outreach beef specialist Patrick Wall. That's why speakers at the 2018 event will address economic challenges facing producers following the 2017 drought. New this year: Smoke on the Water Beef Barbecue Contest with free brisket lunch!

To help beef producers and agri-business professionals adapt to the ever-changing industry, Feedlot Forum 2018 will focus on rapidly occuring changes in the beef industry. Topics include domestic and international markets for beef, responding to an FMD outbreak, and the 2016 National Beef Quality Audits. The forum is Jan. 16, 2018 at the Terrace View Event Center in Sioux Center.

Attendees of the 2018 Driftless Region Beef Conference will learn about molds in crops and mycotoxins in feed from experts Alison Robertson of Iowa State University and Trevor Smith of the University of Ghent, Belgium. Cost for the Jan. 25-26 event is $85 when registered by midnight, Jan. 12.

Winter and its extreme conditions are right around the corner. And while beef cattle generally can tolerate these well, ISU extension and outreach beef specialist Chris Clark reminds producers that some members of their herds require special considerations. These needs and preparations that should happen before there’s a need are outlined in this Progressive Cattlemen article.

The upcoming Driftless Region Beef Conference will showcase utilization of cover crops for feed by Midwest beef producers. Cover crops have great potential to reduce erosion, improve soil health and protect water quality, and also have the potential to produce high quality cattle feed if managed correctly. The Jan. 25-26 conference will feature several speakers presenting information on the value of cover crops for diverse Midwestern farms.

The sixth annual Driftless Region Beef Conference is set for Jan. 25-26, 2018 in Dubuque. This event is provided through cooperative effort of extension services in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin, and features topics and information that focus on efficient and economic forage and beef production. Read more information in this release.

Sheep producers and agribusiness staff are invited to a field day featuring ewes and cover crops on Nov. 28 in Plymouth County. Iowa State Extension and Outreach beef specialist Beth Doran organized the event and said, "Cover crops have been used to stretch grazing in the fall and early spring for cattle, but less research has been conducted regarding their potential with sheep. This field day features two northwest Iowa sheep producers who actively graze cover crops.”

There’s still time for beef producers to become certified or to update their Beef Quality Assurance certification, and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach beef specialist Beth Doran has planned two such workshops in northwest Iowa. These events will help area cattle producers ensure they are meeting consumer and packer expectations.

With possibility of the first killing frost of fall 2017 imminent, ISU Extension agronomoist Brian Lang offers information, cautions and reminders about alfalfa and other forages in the latest Oct. 24 Crop News.

Researchers at Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine and the Iowa Veterinary Medical Association need your help to better understand the impact of Johne's disease in beef cattle. Please consider completing this short survey to provide valuable information regarding the impact of this disease on the Iowa beef industry. The survey should take about 10-15 minutes.

Save the date for the 2018 Iowa Forage and Grassland Council conference. The annual event will be held Thursday, Jan. 18, at the Iowa State University Alumni Center in Ames. Topics presented by ISU speakers include grazing management for wildlife, corn silage quality, managed grazing benefits and the BRaNDS program. Cost is $40 for members, $60 for non-members, and registration deadline is Jan. 11. See more info on the IFGC website.



News Archives


Dan Loy in The Cattleman Magazine

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

December 2017

Iowa Beef Center – 2017 in Review

This past year was one of much activity and change for the Iowa Beef Center. We began the year having just celebrated 20 years of existence! That year included an in-depth external review in March and listening sessions around the state in November that prepared us to be ready for the issues, challenges and opportunities we expected for the Iowa beef industry. However, not everything happens as planned or expected and we were once again reminded at times that adaptability is as important to us and our programming as it is to you.

January is our month for big educational events that we host or co-host with other organizations and universities, including the Northwest Iowa Feedlot Forum, Driftless Region Beef Conference, Cornbelt Cow-calf Conference, 3-State Beef Conference and the Iowa Grazing Conference. (As was the case with this year’s programs, look for a lineup of nationally known speakers at these events in 2018.) Later in the winter of 2017, we formally released the updated version of the Beef Ration and Nutrition Decision Software (BRaNDS) program. This update was a year in the making, incorporating new nutrient requirements of beef cattle. Our first training was for Kansas State University staff and veterinarians on the Kansas BRaNDS version, and we followed up with training in Iowa and the release of the new Eastern Cornbelt version for the states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Kentucky and Ohio.

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.

Research has shown that experienced, mature grazing animals may take as many as 60 bites per minute, eight hours per day, equating to somewhere around 130 lb. of forage as-is. Young cows and heifers, however, may graze 20%-40% less in comparison. Because dry-matter content of that early-spring grass may vary from 15%-30%, the ability for a cow to maintain a positive energy balance when transitioning from a drylot to fresh pasture may be challenging.

Read more.