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Fertilization is just as important for forages as it is for row crops to maximize productivity. This Integrated Crops Managment article, Spring Forage Fertilize Considerations, addresses spring fertilization considerations for forage crops and pastures. Also on this site, you can sign up to receive email alerts for the ICM blog and Crop News Daily. ISU extension field agonomists Brian Lang and Rebecca Vittetoe explains what producers should be planning and doing for their forage crops this spring.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic doesn't allow Iowa Beef Center to deliver in-person educational workshops and trainings, we are working to provide online and other virtual tools to help you become more informed producers. One of these opportunities is a Beef Quality Assurance training offered in webinar format. IBC, Iowa Beef Industry Council and the Minnesota Beef Council are partnering to help producers become BQA certified through this free virtual session on Wed., April 8, from 7 to 9 p.m.

Disruptions caused by COVID-19 grow each day. Volatility in the cattle market was one of the first disruptions, and now with ethanol plant slowing production or shutting down, local availability of corn coproducts may be limited. Iowa Beef Center director Dan Loy said making plans now based on current and potential input availability will help producers determine their next steps.

Dealing with stress: Serious financial and other stresses continue to impact and affect those in our agricultural community. Here are links to some resources to help deal with a variety of stress concerns and grief. Remember also that the Iowa Concern Hotline is always available at 800-447-1985, and at


News Archives


Dan Loy in The Cattleman Magazine

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

April 2020

Beef Carcass Weights—Are we there yet?

Dressed beef weights have been steadily increasing in the U.S. since the 1960s. This trend is steady and consistent. The chart below shows the annual averaged steer federally inspected dressed weight since 1961. I added the trend line which suggests that on average over this time period 4.3 pounds of carcass weight is added each year.

Recent articles by both Lee Schulz of Iowa State and Darrell Peel of Oklahoma State have discussed the economic implications of this trend. This trend also contributes to the sustainability story that we are producing more beef with far fewer cows than in the past. This trend always generates questions and discussion in the beef industry. As early as the 1980s there were concerns about optimum ribeye sizes and cattle becoming "too big for the box" and in the 1990s the war on fat encouraged cattle to be marketed leaner and at lighter weights. Through all of this carcass weights continued to increase. Today there is concern about cows becoming too big for their environment and several research programs are actively evaluating this question.

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.

April 2020

Chute-side vaccination management tips

Erika Lundy, Extension Beef Specialist, and Beth Reynolds, Extension Beef Specialist

When it comes to cattle health, there is no silver bullet. A vaccination program is only as good as the techniques implemented when handling and administering the products. As we prepare for pairs to head grass, consider these chute-side management practices to ensure prebreeding vaccinations are effective.

Maintaining equipment
Syringes should be properly cleaned using boiling water prior to every use and should also be periodically taken apart for further cleaning. Avoid using disinfectants because remaining residue will challenge the effectiveness of products. Likewise, it’s also a good idea to maintain separate syringes used specifically for either vaccines or antibiotics, not both. Using the same syringe for modified-live vaccines and killed vaccines can also be detrimental. Labeling syringes with numbers or color coding while vaccinating is one method to keep track of which products are in which syringe.

Read the rest of this column.