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Registration for the 2020 virtual Applied Reproductive Strategies in Beef Cattle Conference is now open. New this year, the conference will be held in virtual format with three sessions set over two days, Nov. 4-5. Sandy Johnson, Kansas State University extension beef specialist, and Garland Dahlke, associate scientist with Iowa Beef Center at Iowa State University, are members of the Beef Reproduction Task Force, which provides this conference.

As beef cattle producers turn their attention to weaning, the Iowa Beef Center encourages producers to consider using its free 205-Day Weight Calculator. Producers enter calf identification, birth date, weaning date, weaning weight and cow age, and the Excel-based tool will calculate weaning weights to an adjusted 205-day weight. Iowa State University Extension beef specialist Denise Schwab said adjusting weaning weights to a common calf age is important for comparing cows based on the performance of the calves they produce.

The Midwest Grazing Exchange website has been developed by the Midwest Perennial Forage Working Group, a network of grazing educators in the Upper Midwest that includes Practical Farmers of Iowa. Iowa State University Extension beef specialist Denise Schwab is a member of the working group that developed the new website to assist landowners and graziers in bridging the gap of accessing land to graze and finding livestock farmers for partner opportunities.

This fall and winter, Iowa cattle producers will be dealing primarily with drought-stressed feedstuffs which present their own set of challenges. A two-page fact sheet by ISU extension beef specialist Beth Doran provides a list of reminders and guidelines for producers in making water and feedstuffs decisions.

The professional and standard editions of four of Iowa Beef Center’s ration balancing software, BRaNDS, have been updated and are ready for use. Associate scientist Garland Dahlke said the new versions are for Eastern Cornbelt, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri, and include a variety of modules.

Although the four-part weekly webinar series, Responding to Increasing Drought Conditions in Iowa, is complete, recordings from those sessions are available. See the specific session info and links to those recordings on the program website.

 

News Archives

Columns

Dan Loy in The Cattleman Magazine

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

October 2020

Body Punches

I’m not a boxer but I did watch the Rocky movies. In most of them, Rocky was the underdog. He could take a punch and was hard to knock out. It was the perserverance and ability to come back with body punches that often won the day. Body punches would weaken the opponent and eventually he could finish them off. The year 2020 has been a series of body punches. It all started with the coronavirus pandemic and the related supply and market disruptions. The next punch was the drought in western Iowa which at this writing has expanded across much of the state. Next is the devastating derecho that flattened, crops buildings and grain storage, and wreaked general havoc across the middle 1/3 of Iowa. Let’s hope we have the stamina to avoid this knockout punch.

Read the rest of this column.

Iowa Cow-Calf Commentary

Iowa Beef Center and extension specialists write the "Iowa Cow-Calf Commentary" featured in the Iowa Cattleman Magazine.

October 2020

Tips for grazing corn residue in 2020

Corn residue grazing is a staple in winter feeding programs for many Iowa cattlemen. Extensive weather patterns have taken a toll on this year’s corn crop creating extreme variability between fields. Here are some considerations to make the most effective use of grazing corn residue in 2020.
In normal conditions, due to grazing selection and weathering losses, corn residue quality steadily decreases after harvest and rapidly drops off after about 60 days. Cows prefer to eat the grain first, followed by the husk and leaf, and finally, maybe the cob and stalk. If cows have husk and leaf to select, they consume a diet that is 55-70% TDN (energy) and 5.5-7.0% crude protein, which is near nutritional requirements of a mature, dry cow in adequate condition during 2nd trimester of gestation. However, drought and derecho have resulted in anything but normal grazing conditions.

Read the rest of this column.