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    2015 SDSU BBQ Bootcamps: Save the dates!

    The South Dakota State University Meat Science program is gearing up to host 5 BBQ Bootcamps across South Dakota this summer. These 2 hour programs are designed to educate consumers about cut selection, grilling and BBQ techniques, use of marinades and rubs and safe handling of meat products. Attendees are guided through these topics by SDSU professors, graduate students and the meat lab manager in a fun and interactive setting.

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    2015 Scientific Report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee: A meat industry perspective

    On February 19, 2015 the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee presented the Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee to the Secretaries of the USDA and HHS. This report is used as the foundation for developing the Dietary Guidelines for Americans - 2015, which will be released later this year.

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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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    Feeding Sorghum Crops as Alternatives to Corn

    The combination of poor margins for row crops and the threat of continued dry conditions are prompting many producers to re-evaluate cropping plans. Crops like sorghum that require fewer inputs and use water more efficiently become much more attractive under those conditions. How well do these crops fit for livestock production? The exact answer depends on the class of livestock fed and feedstuff. There are two general options for sorghum crops for feed usage: grain and forage.

    Read More »

    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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    Watch Out for a Light Frost in Alfalfa

    Alfalfa fields are starting to grow showing good potential for this growing season. However, as for last night we were under a Freeze Warning, meaning that some crops could be damaged by a light frost or freeze. In fact, calls came into the office regarding this event already. Below are the key points to consider for both new seedling alfalfa and established stands.

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    Springtime Vaccines: Tools to keep calves healthy through the summer

    Branding season or pasture turnout is a natural time point that lends itself well to working calves and preparing them for the summer ahead. These preparations typically include a vaccination protocol, meant to protect the animal against ailments they might encounter on summer pasture. A look into the display cooler of any food animal vet clinic will reveal a wide variety of products that could be used in a vaccine program.

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    Breeding Season Nutrition

    After calving season comes to an end, it won’t be long before breeding season begins. To ensure a successful breeding season, it is critical to monitor nutritional status of the cows by evaluating body condition score. If cows were thin at calving, it is going to be extremely difficult to get them to re-breed within 80 days of calving. Rebreeding within 80 days is necessary to be sure that they will calve on a 365 day interval so that they don’t become late-calving cows.

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    Adding Options with Annual Forages

    In many areas of South Dakota, the pasture acres are in short supply. The fact that at least so far in the growing season precipitation is below normal adds to those concerns. If those trends continue, finding additional feed resources will become a high priority for cow/calf producers. Annual forages are viable options to consider in addressing those needs. The two broad categories of annual forages are cool-season and warm-season forages.

    Read More »

    Feeding Sorghum Crops as Alternatives to Corn

    The combination of poor margins for row crops and the threat of continued dry conditions are prompting many producers to re-evaluate cropping plans. Crops like sorghum that require fewer inputs and use water more efficiently become much more attractive under those conditions. How well do these crops fit for livestock production? The exact answer depends on the class of livestock fed and feedstuff. There are two general options for sorghum crops for feed usage: grain and forage.

    Read More »

    Nitrate Quick Test Trainings

    Weather patterns could suggest that this might be a dry year like we had back in 2012. As such, this is the time that producers start to think about the risk of nitrates in feed supplies and how it will affect their livestock operations. It is well known that certain plants are nitrate accumulators and can contain toxic levels of nitrate when consumed by cattle and sheep.

    Read More »

    Should We Be Concerned About Livestock Water Quality?

    It is time, to start testing your livestock water sources. Limited snowfall and hot dry windy conditions have increased the possibility of poor quality water this spring. Poor quality water can have a negative effect on growth, reproduction, and general productivity of the animal. In some cases, death could occur within days or hours after consumption of contaminated waters or water deprivation. Therefore, continuous monitoring of water quality and quantity are important to maintain a productive livestock program.

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    Drought Concerns: Milo & forage sorghum as potential alternatives

    The region is lacking a lot of needed moisture going into the growing season. Due to these conditions we need to start looking at potential alternatives for forage production. Forage sorghum can be grown either as grain or forage crop. The advantage of its use over corn is that it requires less water, is drought tolerant by going semi-dormant which makes it a good fit for dryland and limited irrigation situations.

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    Grilling Tips: Don’t Ruin Your Ribeye!

    Memorial Day is right around the corner, and for many, this holiday also marks the beginning of the grilling season. As steak is one of the most popular items to grill I thought it would be helpful to review research conducted by former SDSU Meat Scientist Duane Wulf entitled “Great steaks from your Gas Grill”. Researchers at SDSU tested various grilling parameters to determine their effects on tenderness, juiciness and flavor of seven different beef cuts.

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    2015 SDSU BBQ Bootcamps: Save the dates!

    The South Dakota State University Meat Science program is gearing up to host 5 BBQ Bootcamps across South Dakota this summer. These 2 hour programs are designed to educate consumers about cut selection, grilling and BBQ techniques, use of marinades and rubs and safe handling of meat products. Attendees are guided through these topics by SDSU professors, graduate students and the meat lab manager in a fun and interactive setting.

    Read More »

    May is Beef Month

    May is “Beef Month” in South Dakota. This tradition began more than 40 years ago and recognizes beef production as one of South Dakota’s largest economic sectors. Because they are so important to the state’s well-being, South Dakota cattlemen and women take great care in their production practices. Cattle producers are constantly finding ways to improve beef production and sustainability practices to help ensure a safe, wholesome and nutritious product now and well into the future.

    Read More »

    2015 Scientific Report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee: A meat industry perspective

    On February 19, 2015 the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee presented the Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee to the Secretaries of the USDA and HHS. This report is used as the foundation for developing the Dietary Guidelines for Americans - 2015, which will be released later this year.

    Read More »

    Earth Day

    Earth Day is April 22. It’s a day when economic growth and sustainability join hands. American farmers and ranchers have embraced the values of this annual environmental celebration for generations. In fact, as long as cattle have been produced on land, American farm families have been working to protect and preserve natural resources.

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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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    Adding Options with Annual Forages

    In many areas of South Dakota, the pasture acres are in short supply. The fact that at least so far in the growing season precipitation is below normal adds to those concerns. If those trends continue, finding additional feed resources will become a high priority for cow/calf producers. Annual forages are viable options to consider in addressing those needs. The two broad categories of annual forages are cool-season and warm-season forages.

    Read More »

    Feeding Sorghum Crops as Alternatives to Corn

    The combination of poor margins for row crops and the threat of continued dry conditions are prompting many producers to re-evaluate cropping plans. Crops like sorghum that require fewer inputs and use water more efficiently become much more attractive under those conditions. How well do these crops fit for livestock production? The exact answer depends on the class of livestock fed and feedstuff. There are two general options for sorghum crops for feed usage: grain and forage.

    Read More »

    Nitrate Quick Test Trainings

    Weather patterns could suggest that this might be a dry year like we had back in 2012. As such, this is the time that producers start to think about the risk of nitrates in feed supplies and how it will affect their livestock operations. It is well known that certain plants are nitrate accumulators and can contain toxic levels of nitrate when consumed by cattle and sheep.

    Read More »

    Grassland Considerations If Drought Persists

    The spring of 2015 has offered ranchers some stress relief in the form of what has been described by some as the ‘perfect’ calving season. However, one rancher was quick to follow his statement on the good calving weather by saying “if calving goes well, expect the pastures not to look so good”. There is a lot of truth to that statement as we know that April and May rains impact overall range and pasture production for the remainder of the growing season.

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    Noxious Weed Control

    Noxious Weed Control in pastures is becoming more of a challenge. Many commercial spray businesses are no longer spraying pastures, and if they are, there may be restrictions on the time and products they will spray, or they may only work with you if they also have the rest of your spraying business. However, it is still the law to control noxious weeds. Not being able to find a commercial applicator is not a valid reason to not control noxious weeds.

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    Spring Turn-Out Dates: What Are Your Options?

    It has been a very long winter and we are waiting impatiently for signs of spring to occur. There’s nothing like green grass to remind many of us how much we love the livestock business. In the midst of market highs and lows, droughts, blizzards, and floods, it is encouraging to remember how reliable the progression of seasons is. Every year at green up, grass managers must make decisions about when and where to begin grazing.

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    Grassland Fertilization | Part 1: Terminology & economics

    Grassland fertilization is a topic of much interest and debate among grassland managers of all walks. From livestock managers, to hay producers, ecologists, and fertilizer salesmen…opinions on the value of fertilization are not in short supply. What can be hard to find in popular media are fertilization effects in relation to ecology, economics, and long-term sustainability of grassland systems.

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