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Researchers at Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine and the Iowa Veterinary Medical Association need your help to better understand the impact of Johne's disease in beef cattle. Please consider completing this short survey to provide valuable information regarding the impact of this disease on the Iowa beef industry. The survey should take about 10-15 minutes.

Save the date for the 2018 Iowa Forage and Grassland Council conference. The annual event will be held Thursday, Jan. 18, at the Iowa State University Alumni Center in Ames. Topics presented by ISU speakers include grazing management for wildlife, corn silage quality, managed grazing benefits and the BRaNDS program. Cost is $40 for members, $60 for non-members, and registration deadline is Jan. 11. See more info on the IFGC website.

Joe Sellers is recognized as a strong advocate for grazing and soil conservation as they relate to profitabilityof beef cattle operations. As such, he'll lead discussion on effective grazing practices and the proper use of management-intensive grazing on Iowa farms during the Oct. 18 Iowa Learning Farms webinar. The free monthly webinar series is offered the third Wednesday beginning at noon. See more info on this session and how to participate.

Iowa’s new heifer development program, Iowa Cowmaker Elite (ICE), is officially underway! ISU Extension and Outreach beef specialist Patrick Wall is the ICE program coordinator. He said the intent of the long-term project is designed to help Iowa’s beef producers select, manage and develop high quality heifers year after year.

Just two sessions remain in this year’s Greenhorn Grazing series in southern Iowa, and organizer Joe Sellers said people who want to attend are encouraged to register soon for accurate meal count. Cost is $20 per session, payable at the door. Sessions are set for Tuesday, Sept. 26 and Tuesday, Nov. 14. Both sessions begin at 4 p.m. at the Madison County Extension Office, located at 117 N. John Wayne Drive in Winterset, and include a pasture walk at a local farm.

Six drought-related meetings scheduled for south central Iowa Aug. 7-9 will focus on crop growth and development under drought conditions, feeding drought damaged crops, issues with drought silage, and crop insurance considerations. ISU extension beef, farm management and agronomy specialists are leading this effort, which includes opportunity for a quick individual nitrate assessment of cornstalks. No charge, no preregistration.

Northwest Iowa producers who need certification in Beef Quality Assurance are invited to attend a workshop sponsored by Iowa Beef Center, Iowa Beef Industry Council and Iowa Cattlemen’s Association. The event is set for Tuesday, Aug. 29 at the Sioux County Extension Office from 10 a.m. to noon and there's no cost to attend.

The 2017 Applied Reproductive Strategies in Beef Cattle Conference is just a month away, and organizers encourage those interested to register soon. The two-day program will run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 29 and 8 a.m. to noon, Wednesday, Aug. 30, and registration ends Aug. 16. Garland Dahlke of Iowa Beef Center is an Iowa State University representative on the hosting group - Beef Reproduction Task Force.

Due to the intense drought conditions in portions of south central Iowa, Iowa State Extension and Outreach beef program specialist Joe Sellers announced that the original agenda of the annual field day at Iowa State University’s McNay Memorial Research Farm has been adjusted to address related needs. Start time, speakers and evening meal remain the same.

If you're a cattle feeder, you know that profitability depends on more than just cattle prices and performance. More than ever, you recognize that manure value, market flexibility and management impact net returns to your operation. An Aug. 25 summer feedlot conference in Welton in eastern Iowa will address a variety of topics related to cattle manure, animal care and management. Preregister by Friday, Aug. 18 for $15, payable at the door. After that date, the fee increases to $20. Make your attendance plans now.

Iowa farms are experiencing a variety of weather-related conditions, ranging from too much water to very dry soils and pastures. Check out these three IBC resource pages for more information, resources and people who can help:
Heat resources
Flood resources
Drought resources

Five new Southwest Iowa Pasture Clinics will address a wide variety of pasture management topics for producers looking for ways to optimize livestock and forage production practices and weed management strategies. ISU Extension and Outreach beef specialist Chris Clark said producers should preregister for the location they 'll attend to ensure adequate meal and materials count.

The Cow Caravan -- a three-day late summer bus tour across Iowa featuring some of Iowa’s successful grazing and confinement cow operations -- is planned by Iowa Beef Center at Iowa State University The Aug. 29-31 tour is a component of the center’s Cow Systems Project, created to evaluate management practices among operations ranging from extensive grazing systems to year-round confinement. It leaves from and returns to Ames each day. The bus tour is free, evening meals and lodging are participant expenses. Register soon!

News Archives


Dan Loy in The Cattleman Magazine

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

October 2017

Resilience and compassion

We all know that cattle have the unique ability to convert resources that are unusable or inedible by humans into high quality, desirable protein. Efficient use and stewardship of those resources is key to the success of any beef operation. This year we were once again reminded that Mother Nature can remove those resources very swiftly.

Devastating wildfires in Kansas and Montana, the flood of the millennium in Texas have displaced thousands of cattle. Also, more progressive losses of feed and water resources due to drought conditions in North Dakota, Montana and even stretching into parts of Iowa have impacted many producers.

Friends and colleagues who have witnessed these events have called them life changing. While many operations may never recover, the responsiveness of the beef community to these disasters is remarkable. As soon as the dust and smoke cleared and the waters began to recede, shipments of donated hay, feed and fencing supplies where needed were on the road from individuals, groups and organizations throughout the U.S.

Agriculture has a long history of helping neighbors in need. Some have said that as the size of operations has increased, the sharing of time and resources, and pitching in when times are tough isn’t as prevalent as it was a few decades ago.

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.

Research has shown that experienced, mature grazing animals may take as many as 60 bites per minute, eight hours per day, equating to somewhere around 130 lb. of forage as-is. Young cows and heifers, however, may graze 20%-40% less in comparison. Because dry-matter content of that early-spring grass may vary from 15%-30%, the ability for a cow to maintain a positive energy balance when transitioning from a drylot to fresh pasture may be challenging.

Read more.