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Iowa Farm Outlook Newsletter

ISU Extension and Outreach Economics





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.

February 2017

Adding Value to the Calf Crop

As beef cow numbers continue to build, prices continue to decline and profit margins continue to narrow. There are really only a few ways to deal with this trend financially. Beef cow record programs such as Standardized Performance Analysis (SPA) have shown us that cost management is perhaps the most effective and the first one to work on for most producers. The second, is improving production and efficiency of the herd through genetics, nutrition and reproduction. The third factor is adding value to the calf crop.

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.

January 2017

New management practices for the New Year

I hope everyone experienced a great holiday season filled with family and fun. As 2017 gets started off with a bang, I have taken a moment to highlight a few best management practices that I believe every producer should be implementing this year.

Read more.