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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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    We Need Your Help: Investigating Animal Well-being in South Dakota

    What is the current level of care being offered to animals in South Dakota? What perceptions about animal well-being exist in South Dakota? What educational resources are you looking for to learn more about animal well-being and on-farm care? Are you curious to know the answers? So are we.

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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.

    Read More »

    Waters of the U.S. Update

    The rule defining “Waters of the U.S.” under the Clean Water Act (CWA) that has been proposed by the Environmental Protection agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has a comment period that will end Nov 14th 2014. This has been a controversial topic since the comment period started on April 24th 2014. Some of the main topics of debate have been jurisdiction over ditches, agricultural impacts from fertilizer and pesticide application, and jurisdiction over “other waters”.

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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.

    Read More »

    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.

    Read More »

    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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    Learning How Calves Perform Post Weaning

    Deciding how to market calves following weaning is based on several factors including current prices. The three general management options following weaning are: 1) sell at weaning, 2) background the calf or 3) retain ownership. Presently, prices are good for calves, which would tend to favor selling at weaning. At the same time grain prices and cost of gain are lower this year, which tends to encourage retained ownership making the post weaning management decision more difficult for some producers.

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    Why Take Advantage of Online BQA Certification Training?

    Harvest will soon be in full swing throughout South Dakota. Many cattlemen and dairymen will find themselves with little time to think or do anything else except get the crops out of the fields before the weather gets colder. They may want to consider nevertheless a FREE BQA online certification program generously sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica Inc. taking place during September and October 2014.

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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.

    Read More »

    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 »

    Developing Beef Heifers for the Long-haul: Webinar Part 2

    A session addressing heifer development and management strategies is the second webinar in the five-part webinar series on Managing Replacement Heifers for the Future. An important component to profitability of a cow-calf operation is the cost of developing heifers. Replacement heifer selection and development involves a suite of decisions, including selecting the right genetics, evaluating structure and temperament, and designing an appropriate nutritional strategy.

    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 »

    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.

    Read More »

    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.

    Read More »

    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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    Protocols on the Dairy Farm for Beef Quality

    Demonstrating quality animal care practices, assuring food safety, quality and value, as well as enhancing consumer confidence in the milk and beef products that are produced from dairy cattle are the building blocks of quality assurance programs like Dairy Animal Care and Quality Assurance (DACQA) and Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (F.A.R.M.).

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    Today’s Beef Choices

    Farmers and ranchers have been producing wholesome, safe and nutritious beef across the United States for hundreds of years. Today you will find a variety of beef choices from which to choose. Many people ask, “Which beef choice is best for me?” Sometimes we need to take a step back and ask another question: “Why are there so many choices of beef available?”

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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.

    Read More »

    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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    Improving Range & Pasture Production: Consider a Fall pasture weed inventory

    Fall is a good time to assess your range and pasture condition as we go into the winter season. This is especially important when it comes to your weed management strategies. Identifying the weeds of concern can take place in the fall and control plans for the next growing season can be determined. A good weed inventory in the fall will tell ranchers what the predominant weed species are in the pasture.

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