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    Income, Computers and Internet Use in SD Farms

    Computer access, ownership, or lease increased in South Dakota farms by almost 9% between 2011 and 2013. This is very significant since between 2009 and 2011 there had been no changes. Computer use in state farms is currently nearly 6% greater than the average for the country.

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    Online BQA Certification Training Modules: Free until April 15

    Boehringer Ingelheim Inc. is generously sponsoring the BQA online certification program allowing beef and dairy producers to complete the certification training for FREE until April 15th, 2015. This saves producers $25 to $50 on the online certification modules offered through the Kansas State Beef Cattle Institute.

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    SDSU Extension Hiring Towards Food Security

    It is estimated that by 2050 the planet will reach 9.1 billion people, 34 percent more than today. To be able to feed this population, food production must increase by 70 percent. Regardless of where this population growth happens we need to step up as a food-producing state and nation and contribute to reduce social unrests spurred by food shortages.

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    South Dakota’s Contribution to Global Food Security

    There’s probably very few of us who have not heard comments about concerns on how to feed the world’s increasing population in the future. The Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that by 2050 the planet will reach 9.1 billion people, 34 percent higher than today’s. We have also heard that most of this increase will occur in developing countries. However we know there are areas even in the US that might experience food shortages, which may even be worsened as a result of climate variability.

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    Buying Late Bred Cows and Their Potential for Additional Revenue

    Record high cattle prices have led to questions about additional revenue-generating options in the market. This has led some producers to wonder if there is potential for additional revenue. One of the possibilities for creating extra revenue is to buy bred cows this fall and sell both the cow and calf. The main factor for producers to consider when looking at this option is what comparative advantages they have.

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    What Can You Afford to Pay for a Bred Heifer?

    When it comes to the price of bred cattle, how high is too high? In the last few years cow-calf producers have seen an increase in returns. However, expansion has been slow due to droughts, high feed costs, storms, and high prices of replacement heifers. With the drop in feed prices and the expected high returns on cattle in the next few years many producers have been wondering if it is time to expand their herd?

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    South Dakota Surface Water Quality

    South Dakota has about 9,726 miles of perennial rivers and streams and 86,660 miles of intermittent streams. The state also has about 572 lakes and reservoirs with designated aquatic life and recreational beneficial uses. Over the past five years (Oct 2008 - Sept 2013) the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has assessed these surface waters, as required under the Clean Water Act, and has found 94 different streams or stream segments and 72 lakes that are impaired, meaning that they don’t meet their intended beneficial uses.

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    Runoff Management Considerations for Pastures and Lots

    As of March 20, Spring is officially here. While the majority of snow may have melted in many areas, we hopefully still have spring rains in our midst! Spring rains mean runoff. Livestock yards and pastures depend on runoff to keep the animal and feeding areas dry and comfortable. However, the flow of water over the surface of a lot or pasture can pick up solid particles or dissolved nutrients and increase the risk of water pollution.

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    Online BQA Certification Training Modules: Free until April 15

    Boehringer Ingelheim Inc. is generously sponsoring the BQA online certification program allowing beef and dairy producers to complete the certification training for FREE until April 15th, 2015. This saves producers $25 to $50 on the online certification modules offered through the Kansas State Beef Cattle Institute.

    Read More »

    2015 Bailey Herd Health Conference: Housing, facilities, and health

    Ever since livestock were first put underneath a roof, animals have been positively and sometimes negatively influenced by how that housing is managed. This year’s James Bailey Herd Health Conference for veterinarians, held in February at SDSU, highlighted a variety of perspectives on how veterinarians and producers can better operate their livestock facilities to improve animal health. 

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    Cold January Forecast

    An updated climate outlook for January 2015 shows cooler weather likely to make an extended stay in the month ahead. The Climate Prediction Center released their temperature and precipitation outlook this week, depicting cooler than average temperatures are a little more likely to dominate South Dakota. There were some hints of this coming a couple of weeks ago, but now it is official. Following a warmer than average December, the first couple of weeks of January will feel frigid, to both humans and livestock alike.

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    Recommendations for Receiving Cattle: Health and Nutrition

    One of the most important decisions feedlots face is how to properly receive new cattle. Minimizing the stress of weaning, marketing, and shipping can have a large impact on the bottom line. Giving new cattle everything they need to remain healthy during the feeding period is the right thing to do from an animal well-being point-of-view. Given the current record costs of feeder cattle, it is also a decision with economic incentives. This article will briefly discuss several important topics related to getting calves off to the right start.

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    The Importance of Feed Testing

    Optimal growing conditions across much of South Dakota this summer have resulted in large quantities of forage being produced. However, quality can vary greatly among and even within fields. Conducting a nutritional laboratory analysis on hay and/or silage samples is the best way for producers to evaluate the nutrient content of their feedstuffs. This information, in combination with the nutrient requirements of the animals being fed, is a cost-effective way to determine economical and practical winter feeding programs.

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    Utilizing Reduced-Fat Distillers Grains in Beef Feedlot Rations

    By now, most beef producers are familiar with corn distillers grains. This byproduct of the ethanol industry has found its way into all corners of the cattle-feeding world; from the cow/calf operation to the feedlot. Presently, some ethanol plants are using techniques to recover fat during the manufacturing process. This procedure decreases fat content of the byproduct from the typical range of 11 – 13% to as low as 4 – 5% on a dry matter basis .

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    Replacing Hay With Corn-Based Feeds in Winter Cow Diets

    The drop in corn prices in recent months represents a tremendous change in the feed cost environment for cattle producers. Corn and corn-derived feeds such as distiller’s grains and silage are much lower in price compared to recent history. Hay and roughage costs are lower as well, but on a percentage basis the price decline has not been as dramatic as compared to corn prices.

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    Moldy Corn and Corn Silages Q&A

    We have been starting to receive some reports of corn having some mold and along with some stalk rot in certain areas of the state due to the cool and wetter growing conditions this past year. This has been especially true if there are maturity issues or storm damage followed by cool and wet conditions. It might be helpful then to answer some common asked questions.

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    Calf Scours: Causes, Signs, Prevention, and Management

    For many cattle producers, this time of year means sleepless nights, partly due to checking cows during calving and partly due to the worries that come after calves are safely on the ground. Calf scours, the common term for neonatal calf diarrhea, is one of the primary health problems in baby calves. The USDA National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) reported in a 2007-08 study that 14% of losses in calves less than three weeks old were due to digestive problems such as calf scours.

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    Online BQA Certification Training Modules: Free until April 15

    Boehringer Ingelheim Inc. is generously sponsoring the BQA online certification program allowing beef and dairy producers to complete the certification training for FREE until April 15th, 2015. This saves producers $25 to $50 on the online certification modules offered through the Kansas State Beef Cattle Institute.

    Read More »

    2015 Bailey Herd Health Conference: Housing, facilities, and health

    Ever since livestock were first put underneath a roof, animals have been positively and sometimes negatively influenced by how that housing is managed. This year’s James Bailey Herd Health Conference for veterinarians, held in February at SDSU, highlighted a variety of perspectives on how veterinarians and producers can better operate their livestock facilities to improve animal health. 

    Read More »

    Alfalfa Production and Pest Management in South Dakota

    Long term alfalfa productivity depends on successful stand establishment. Achieving a profitable stand of alfalfa is the result of proper field selection utilizing proven production practices to ensure germination and establishment. Scouting fields for insects such as potato leafhopper and alfalfa weevil is also critical.

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    Findings on Survey: Alfalfa Variety Trials

    Something that has come to my attention as an SDSU Extension Forages Field Specialist is the need for additional research-based knowledge focused on how forages grow in the state. Upon doing some research, the most recent data we could find was from 2011, and even then, from a limited study which did not cover the diverse conditions which you, the producer, regularly encounter when trying to grow forages.

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    Brighten Your Day with Good Nutrition

    During the winter months, some people may experience an overall lack of energy, depression and feeling blue. This feeling may be due to seasonal affective disorder, also known as SAD. Symptoms come and go at about the same time each year. Most people with SAD start to have symptoms in September or October and feel better by April or May. SAD affects 25 million Americans, most commonly women.

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    Hormones in Beef: Myth vs. Fact

    A common myth surrounding beef produced with additional hormones is that it is unsafe to consume. The fact is that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulates the development and use of hormone implants and the Food Safety Inspection Service of the USDA routinely monitors residues of synthetic hormones in meat. It is true that beef from hormone-implanted cattle has increased estrogenic activity compared with non-implanted beef.

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    Healthy Ideas for the Heart

    February is American Heart Month, dedicated to educating the public about heart health. Choosing to live a healthy lifestyle, including diet, nutrition and exercise, helps combat heart disease. You may have heard that a DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) dietary pattern that includes fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy and protein, predominately from plant sources, is a commonly prescribed cardiovascular diet and is typically associated with decreases in blood pressure.

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    Create a Balance this New Year with MyPlate

    We are off to a New Year! Many people will gather and celebrate the start of new beginnings well into January. During the New Year it’s common for people to set goals to acquire a more healthful lifestyle. One way to start this process is to find your own personal balance between food and physical activity. An easy resource to help you find this balance is USDA’s ChooseMyPlate.gov.

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    Challenges of Employee Turnover: Product quality and consistency

    High employee turnover can lead to inconsistent animal production or potentially lower quality products, both meat and milk. How is this possible? Is it because cattle get accustomed to routines and the people who perform tasks in their home environment? Familiarity does minimize stress, which promotes good health and production.

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    Beef-Up Your Athletic Performance

    The sports season for South Dakota schools is in full swing! Student athletes, who participate in competitive sports, strive to be at their peak performance level. To reach this level, remember the importance of protein in the diet. If you think of your body as a machine, then muscles are the major moving parts that help sustain you during training and competitive events.

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    A Question of Handler Personality Type

    Have you ever wondered why cattle may work great for one individual and then completely blow up when a different individual works them? Low-stress cattle handling provides performance and health benefits, minimizes carcass losses due to bruising or dark cutters, and minimizes injuries to handlers and cattle.

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    Summer Fun and Balanced Beef Meals

    The first week in August incorporates two of my favorite things, National Farmers’ Market Week and National Exercise with Your Child Week. What a great time to get outside, be physically active and take advantage of the abundant fresh fruits and vegetables! One of the best things about this time of the year is visiting the local markets and being able to purchase the freshest, in-season produce.

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    Rotational Grazing During Winter

    Winter feed represents one of the largest costs for a livestock production enterprise. Grazing pasture that has been stockpiled for winter use is a rational alternative to limit costs resulting from both harvest (or purchase) and feeding of hay. Allocation of feed resources available from winter pasture is simplified to a degree because the quantity available can be determined as the winter grazing period begins.

    Read More »

    Cold January Forecast

    An updated climate outlook for January 2015 shows cooler weather likely to make an extended stay in the month ahead. The Climate Prediction Center released their temperature and precipitation outlook this week, depicting cooler than average temperatures are a little more likely to dominate South Dakota. There were some hints of this coming a couple of weeks ago, but now it is official. Following a warmer than average December, the first couple of weeks of January will feel frigid, to both humans and livestock alike.

    Read More »

    Minimizing Storage Loss on Hay

    Feed costs are a large part of livestock producer’s expenditures. Hay is one of many feeding options producers in South Dakota use. The alternative of either growing or buying quality hay is important to producers as well. Adequate hay storage therefore is critical so producers can minimize the loss in both value and nutrients of their hay.

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    Governor’s Habitat Work Group Report: A Positive for South Dakota’s Grasslands

    On Wednesday, September 10th the Governor’s Pheasant Habitat Work group made public their report to Governor Daugaard containing recommendations for eight conservation measures to be considered for improved pheasant habitat in South Dakota. The report came after nearly 9 months of work stemming from the December 2013 Governors Pheasant Habitat Summit which provided an opportunity for South Dakotans to give input and suggestions regarding the steep decline in pheasants and pheasant habitat in recent years, jeopardizing a marquee South Dakota industry. 

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    Controlling Curlycup Gumweed (Grindelia squarrosa)

    An erect plant growing to between one and three feet, curlycup gumweed (gumweed) is easy to notice in the pastures from July to September, its flowering period. The plant branches at the top with each branch producing an individual bright yellow flower of about one inch diameter (Figure 1). Gumweed is found on rangelands, pastures, disturbed sites and in ditches all through South Dakota.

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    Allan Savory’s Message For South Dakota’s Grasslands

    On September 10th and 11th, SDSU and the SD Grassland Coalition hosted Allan Savory for two days of grassland related teaching, seminars, and a field day. Savory is globally recognized as an advocate for improving systems health through grassland conservation and biodiversity enhancement using livestock. In the lead up to these events, there was much discussion about the pros and cons of inviting someone who’s message has a history of creating dissention and disagreement in the scientific community and among various ranks of grassland advocates.

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    Grazing Calves on Cornstalks

    Grazing cows on corn stalks is a long-standing, common practice to reduce feed costs. Grazing calves or yearlings on corn stalks is much less commonly done, but does represent an opportunity to produce inexpensive gains. Corn stalks are often thought of as low-quality roughage suitable only for cows. However, when cattle are given an opportunity to selectively graze stalks, the diet they select is surprisingly high quality.

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    Target Noxious Weeds This Fall

    If they have not been treated yet, now is the time to spray those perennial weeds we battle every year. Fall is an excellent time to treat Canada thistle, leafy spurge, and other noxious weeds around the farm and home. Fall control of annual weeds like crabgrass, foxtail, knotweed or purslane is unnecessary and wasteful. These weeds only live for one summer, and naturally die in fall so control is unnecessary.

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