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Iowa Farm Outlook Newsletter

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The 2018 field day of the Iowa State University McNay Memorial Research Farm, set for Aug. 7, southwest of Chariton will provide updates on grazing cover crops, summer annual and alfalfa trials, pasture renovation and Canadian thistle control. Iowa State Extension and Outreach beef specialist Joe Sellers said the annual event is free and no preregistration is necessary.

The deadline to register for the Iowa Beef Center’s 2018 Beef Feedlot Short Course is drawing close, so if you’re thinking about attending this year’s event you’ll want to act soon. IBC program specialist Erika Lundy said there are a limited number of remaining spots in the 2018 “Iowa Beef Center Feedlot Short Course” and the deadline is July 24 or if the attendance limit of 30 is reached.

Three stockmanship, handling and Beef Quality Assurance workshops featuring Dr. Tom Noffsinger from Nebraska will be held in Iowa July 30 and 31. In the stockmanship sessions, Noffsinger will teach participants about cattle handling methods that improve animal movement and cattle performance by reducing stress on livestock. Iowa State Extension specialists Denise Schwab and Russ Euken are coordinating the workshops and will lead BQA certification sessions at each. Please preregister for the site you wish to attend to ensure adequate meal count.

Heat is the word for the next couple of days. Temperatures can easily reach 100 degrees F and combined with humidity, that pushes heat index figures even higher. Check your cattle, provide plenty of shade and water, and delay unnecessary movement. Check the USDA-ARS Cattle Risk Factors and actions to minimize heat stress pages. As of Friday afternoon, June 29, nearly all of Iowa was included in the emergency level of heat stress. Be sure to watch yourself and employees for heat-related symptoms as well.

Recent rains and flooding have cattle producers dealing with flooded pastures, water-logged facilities and manure management challenges. One of the first things to check is structural strength of the livestock buildings, electrical equipment and safety of the water systems says Beth Doran, beef specialist for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Our flood-related resources offers a wealth of info at a glance.

Recent rains, floods and excess water could mean changes to your grazing practices, feed supplies and management practices. Check out our list of flood-related resources.

Iowa Beef Center, University of Nebraska—Lincoln and Lallemand Animal Nutrition offered a "Silage for Beef Cattle" conference June 14. The entire event was livestreamed and the video recording is now available on our website. It's just under 7.5 hours in length.

Northwest Iowa beef and dairy producers depend on quality corn silage to build profitable rations. To help them accomplish this, the Iowa Beef Center and Iowa State University Extension Dairy Team are hosting the Northwest Iowa Corn Silage Clinic on Aug. 28 at the Northwest Iowa Research and Demonstration Farm near Sutherland. Iowa State extension dairy specialist Fred Hall and beef specialist Beth Doran, both from northwest Iowa, are organizing the program.

The forecast for this weekend is for temperatures to approach 100 degrees, and with added humidity it will feel 100+ degrees. Iowa State extension beef veterinarian Grant Dewell has these reminders for cattle producers:
For feedlot cattle, hot temperature for 2 or 3 days plus warm nights mean increased risk for heat stress. With a chance for rain on Thursday, humidity will increase making it difficult for heavy cattle to maintain thermo-neutral body temperature. Avoid working cattle this weekend, expect feed intake to drop and consider bumping the forage up. Mitigation strategies such as shade and sprinklers should be available. Get more info from the free-to-download ISU Heat Stress for Cattle publication.

Based on the success of the initial beef feedlot short course in 2017, Iowa Beef Center at Iowa State University has planned a second event set for July 31-Aug. 2 in Ames. IBC program specialist Erika Lundy said the 2018 “Iowa Beef Center Feedlot Short Course” will provide classroom and hands-on instruction in a variety of topics, along with sessions at the Iowa State Beef Nutrition Farm and Couser Cattle Company in Nevada.

Southwest Iowa beef producers who want to become certified through the Beef Quality Assurance program have three opportunities this month at sessions being hosted by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach beef specialist Chris Clark. The program at each session will cover numerous best management practices and will qualify producers for BQA certification.

Iowa Beef Center is partnering with University of Nebraska—Lincoln and Lallemand Animal Nutrition to offer a one-day conference "Silage for Beef Cattle." Iowa State feedlot specialist and IBC director Dan Loy said organizers of the Thursday, June 14, event want as many people as possible to access the information, so IBC is hosting a live-streaming option.

The next session in this year’s Greenhorn Grazing series at the Iowa State University McNay Research Farm is set for June 14, and organizer Joe Sellers said people who want to attend are encouraged to register soon for an accurate meal count. Registration is still open for the remaining four sessions of this year's series at a total cost of $50, which is a great deal because it includes a meal at each session and a resource guide.

To aid beef producers in the Beef Quality Assurance certification process, the Iowa Beef Center, Iowa Beef Industry Council, and several other partners are co-sponsoring a series of three BQA workshops in northwest Iowa this summer. Iowa State extension beef specialist Beth Doran said these sessions help producers maintain transparency and credibility with consumers.

A three-day bus trip to Kansas in August will offer Iowa beef producers the opportunity to tour beef industry breed organizations, visit a variety of private and Kansas State University facilities, and talk with successful producers and researchers. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach beef specialist Joe Sellers said the Aug. 22-24 trip will provide a wealth of information, experiences and discussion opportunities to tour attendees.

Forecasted Heat Warnings May Cause Cattle Issues. After a cold winter that seemed to go on forever, spring has lasted about two weeks and summer is now here. The USDA-NOAA heat stress forecast indicates that heat stress conditions will be elevated this weekend. Although conditions are not going to be severe, the entire state will be under a high heat warning on Saturday and Sunday. Temperatures this warm, early in the year before cattle have a chance to acclimate may cause some issues.

The iconic "Pasture Management Guide for Livestock Producers" has been completely updated and revised by a team of extension professionals across disciplines, and is ready for all producers who use grazing systems for their herds. The 167-page publication includes full color photos of material and topics presented, as well as illustrations of forage growth, designing pasture systems and more. Read more and get the link to order.

ISU Extension and Outreach is co-hosting the Iowa-Wisconsin Silage Conference in Dubuque on June 21. Extension dairy specialist Hugo Ramirez and beef specialists Denise Schwab and Garland Dahlke are among the academic and industry experts who will present information on a wide variety of topics related to growing and using quality silage. Cost is $50 when registered before midnight on June 14, and includes lunch and refreshment breaks.

Building on the success of a similar conference in 2016, Iowa Beef Center is partnering with University of Nebraska—Lincoln and Lallemand Animal Nutrition to offer a one-day conference "Silage for Beef Cattle." Iowa State feedlot specialist and IBC director Dan Loy said organizers of the Thursday, June 14, event want as many people as possible to access the information, so IBC will again host a live-streaming option for those who can't make it to Mead, NE.

The global beef market continues to indicate that consumers are salivating for high quality beef and they’re willing to open their wallets to enjoy the experience. Iowa’s rolling hills and abundant feed resources provide a great competitive advantage for producing high quality beef and being able to grain-finish the end product. Beef cattle producers who want to learn more about how they, too, can benefit are invited to attend “Feeding Higher Quality Cattle” on Thursday, June 7 in Oskaloosa.

The Lower Skunk River Watershed Project invites all to a pasture walk and Hereford tour near Lockridge on Wednesday, June 6. The project and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will provide supper prepared by the Jefferson County Cattlemen beginning at 5 p.m., followed by an evening pasture walk with Thomas Heidt and his Herefords. Learn about rotational grazing, weed and brush management, erosion control and fescue management. No cost to attend, but please RSVP before 4 p.m. on Monday, June 4. See the event flyer for details, address and registration contacts.

The 2018 Iowa State University Animal Industry Report is now available online. The annual report, now in its 15th year, features a variety of animal industry-related research done at Iowa State that is supported by the Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station. The report is coordinated through the animal science department.

News Archives


Dan Loy in The Cattleman Magazine

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

July 2018

It's Fair Time

Iowa has 92 county fairs that happen at least partially in the month of July. For many, county fairs bring visions of sweet corn, tractor pulls and carnival rides. For most of you reading this column, the county fair is about the opportunity to promote beef by grilling ribeyes and steaks for your neighbors and most importantly it is about the youth. For the majority of youth beef projects the county fair is the culmination of several months of hard work. For many beef industry leaders their passion for beef cattle began this way.

According to Mike Anderson, Iowa 4-H Livestock Program Specialist, this year there are 10,769 members enrolled in the 4-H beef project in Iowa with 13,704 cattle identified. Beef projects remain a popular way for Iowa youth to learn responsibility, hard work, stockmanship and business principles. So be sure to take in a county fair this summer, walk through the barns and stop and ask a young person about their calf. You might be talking to a future leader of the industry.

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.

Read more.