Decide sooner

Date: Feb 06 2019

Calving & Cattle Feeding & On Target & Premium Potential & Stockmanship

While many of you are in sire buying mode this time of year, more are deciding whether this year’s bull calves retain the ability to become sires. Castration at birth is ideal, but catching them on day one can be a challenge in extensive operations. Castration at branding or turnout offers a balance between handling ease and minimizing calf stress.

Calving seasons of the mind

Date: Jan 08 2019

Calving & On Target & Premium Potential & Research & Stockmanship & Sustainability

Winter came early for much of cow-calf country, and now calving season is at the gate. Even those who call it “spring calving” often start in January, but if you’re not out checking a heifer, this is a good time of year to catch up on reading. Calving dates and “housing” options for the herd were explored in a 2019 Nebraska Beef Report article by Terry Klopfenstein and others, who evaluated March, June, or August calving dates on the range, or two July calving systems in year-round confinement or in semi-confinement with grazed corn stalks from fall to April weaning.

Cause and effect

Date: Dec 12 2018

EPDs & Gestational Nutrition & On Target

We sometimes associate cause and effect without knowing the real link, or as an academic buzz phrase has it, “correlation does not equal causation.” A quick search provides a humorous example. Did you know ice cream sales and shark attacks are highly correlated? While true in a broad sense, the actual reason for similar seasonal trends is that hot weather brings greater ice cream consumption as well as more swimming along beaches where sharks lurk.

Balance vs. the trade-off

Date: Oct 27 2018

EPDs & On Target

One of the big challenges of livestock judging is explaining “balance” to a new evaluator. As we attend county fairs, state previews and junior nationals, we’ll hear the term used to describe cattle in nearly every class. After the judge remarks on the calf’s balance, they’ll follow up with a collection of terms that support their view of balance.

Better than average

Date: Oct 27 2018

Cattle Markets & Feeder Calf Marketing & On Target & Post Weaning

Few producers strive for average—from cow productivity to cost reduction, we all want to be better than that. Yet half of every herd is below its own average, so the bar we compare against is important for context. As the summer video sale reports come in, we hear lots of comments wondering how some cattle trade at such exceptional prices.

On Target: The growing requirements

Date: Jun 01 2018

On Target & Research

Beef cattle genetic power keeps moving up. Just look at the trend for pre- and post-weaning growth potential across breeds. Look at the continued improvement in quality grade across the industry. Some say that growth increase has come at the detriment of the cow herd, increasing feed and forage requirements beyond what the ranch can maintain. But steer carcass weights peaked at 930 lb. in fall 2015, not maintaining their historic 5-lb. annual increase as predicted. While carcass weights vary seasonally, they have declined annually since 2015 and trend lower in 2018.

On Target: Early path to quality beef

Date: Apr 01 2018

On Target

You know the role health and nutrition play in feedlot performance, carcass quality grade and profitability. Yet many readers challenge the idea that these benefits can be realized at the ranch, unless they retain ownership beyond the farm or ranch gate.