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The Fencing and Grazing Clinic is set for Sept. 9 at the Hansen Agriculture Student Learning Center in Ames. The clinic is organized and hosted by Iowa Beef Center, Department of Animal Science, and ISU Beef Teaching Farm at Iowa State University. Iowa State Extension beef specialist Erika Lundy said a variety of topics, speakers and learning opportunities make this clinic a “must-attend” for anyone who works with cattle, grazing and fencing in their operations.

A Beef Quality Assurance training session will be held Thursday, August 13, at the Hansen Agriculture Student Learning Center, 2508 Mortensen Rd, in AmesThe in-person session will run from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. CDT and is sponsored and provided by Iowa Beef Center at Iowa State University, the Iowa Beef Industry Council and the Minnesota Beef Council.

Low stress cattle handling can provide a multitude of benefits, including improved performance, animal welfare and handling efficiency. However, with a variety of techniques and approaches advocated by different experts, cattle producers may be unsure which direction to take with their own operation. A new publication from Iowa Beef Center explains the common positive aspects of these systems which are basic to understanding cattle responses regardless of system.

Health management is critical to the vitality of confined cow-calf operations, and a new publication offers practical information for adapting management and health and biosecurity practices for these operations. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach beef veterinarian Grant Dewell authored the publication along with Terry Engelken of ISU’s veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine department.

ISU Extension specialists have scheduled in-person drought meetings in 10 central and west central counties affected by drought Aug. 3-7. All meetings are 90 min. long, most will be held at outdoor venues, social distancing will apply, and people are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings when near others and the six-foot distance cannot be maintained. Preregistration at least two days in advance is requested for each, at the extension office in the county where the meeting will be held. There is no cost. See the list of meeting dates, locations, times and contacts.

A four-part weekly webinar series, Responding to Increasing Drought Conditions in Iowa, will help attendees learn more about how to deal with continuing drought conditions and impacts on row crops and forages. This free series is intended for crop and livestock farmers in drought-affected areas, ag service providers, ag retailers, ag lenders, farm managers and anyone impacted by drought conditions. IBC and other extension specialists have planned the series. Sessions are four consecutive Thursdays, beginning July 30, and all sessions will be held 1 to 2 p.m. CDT via Zoom. You must register for access information, and one registration works for any or all sessions. The Aug. 6 session will be specific to livestock with topics including drought corn silage considerations, managing pasture and hay shortages and alternative forages. Specific session info and registration link is on the program website

The crop damage in parts of Iowa from the mid-July wind and hail storms has been spotty and variable, leaving producers with everything from slight damage to complete defoliation of corn and beans. Much of the corn damage was leaning or lodging caused by high winds, with most plants having uprighted their growth by now moving into pollination. Iowa State University Extension beef specialist Denise Schwab said fields that experienced hail damage didn’t fare as well, but may provide an opportunity for cattle producers since cattle are the ultimate upcyclers, provided fencing and water options are available.

As part of a demonstration project funded by a North Central Risk Management Extension Education grant, Iowa State Extension specialists conducted interviews with producers across Iowa who had used fall grazing for at least two years. Results from those real-world experiences form the basis of a new publication, “Farmer Experiences with Fall Grazing Cover Crops."

The 2020 version of the Beef Feedlot Short Course, organized and hosted by Iowa Beef Center at Iowa State University, is set for Aug. 11-13 at the Hansen Agriculture Student Learning Center in Ames. Iowa State Extension beef specialist Erika Lundy said the in-person event will follow State of Iowa and Iowa State University guidelines to ensure health and safety of all participants.

Keep current temperatures and humidity levels in mind during these hot, humid summer days, and make sure your cattle have shade and plenty of water. Take a look at Grant Dewell's article in the June Growing Beef newsletter. Check our heat resources page for more info.

While COVID-19 has changed a lot of things, major packers still require a current Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) certificate from feedlot producers selling market-ready cattle. To help meet this need, ISU extension beef specialist Beth Doran has planned a set of certification workshops in northwest Iowa producers starting in early July. First session postponed to July 28 from original plan.


News Archives


Dan Loy in The Cattleman Magazine

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

July 2020

The new normal

I would like nothing more than to write this column about something other than the COVID-19 pandemic. I do understand that for beef producers, many things haven’t changed. Hay still needs to be made, cattle fed and crops tended. However, life around you is different, very different. Back in April this column talked about how this pandemic will change us. Little did we know how that would unfold. Now many of us are trying to get back to normal in our lives and work. However, normal isn’t normal anymore.

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.

July 2020

The value of early preg checks

In a recent Iowa State extension project, Iowa cattlemen indicated spending $306 per cow, on average, for stored feeds during the winter months.  Assuming a 4-month feeding period with one of those months being early lactation, that's $2.55/cow/day and does not include any costs associated with grazing corn stalk residue.  Despite the high annual expense of maintaining and feeding a beef cow, only approximately 25% of U.S. beef producers perform annual pregnancy checks (NAHMS, 2008).

Read the rest of this column.