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    Heat Exhaustion & Stroke: Protecting yourself and your employees

    For those whose livelihood depends upon working outdoors or in less than favorable conditions, the coming weeks look to be quite difficult with higher than normal temperatures and humidity predicted. For example, cows still need to be milked and fed, barns are not air conditioned, even though there is emphasis on cow comfort through ventilation and cooling, we sometimes get lax on also protecting ourselves and employees from the effects of heat.

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    Preventing an Unwanted Baler Fire

    Dry conditions this year have reminded many how quickly fires can ignite causing damage, destroying equipment, future feedstuffs and hopefully NOT injuring you in the process. We need to be cognizant at all times of the potential for fires to start while baling hay or straw and take measures to minimize the potential of a fire occurring.

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    Minimizing Hay Storage Loss from Heating or Fires

    Successful hay storage is essential to provide high quality feedstuffs to ensure desired performance from livestock forages while deterring economic loss from unwanted hay storage fires. The predominant reason that heating or fires occurs in hay is because of excessive moisture in the plant residue when it is baled or stacked for long term storage.

    Read More »

    Large Concern Over Poor Quality Livestock Water

    Little to no runoff from snow or spring rain along with hot, dry, windy conditions have led to an early detection of poor quality livestock water in Western South Dakota. Livestock water samples from Northwestern South Dakota have already indicated high levels of total salts. High levels of sulfates in the water have already caused polioencephalomalacia (“polio”) this year in some herds with blindness being reported. Poor-quality water is not limited to Northwestern South Dakota, but to all of Western South Dakota and possibly portions of Eastern South Dakota.

    Read More »

    Checking in on the Checkoff: Get Your Grill On!

    Summer remains the peak season for beef sales. On average, 30% of yearly beef dollar sales are captured between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Typically, the 4th of July Holiday has the highest weekly sales (in pounds and dollars) throughout the year. With the summer season accounting for more than $7.9 Billion in 2015, it is important the South Dakota Beef Industry Council (SDBIC) to gear our efforts to meet those consumer demands. What will you see from us this summer?

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    Should S.D. Beef Producers be Thinking About Drought Trigger Dates?

    Many parts of South Dakota have experienced warmer and drier than normal conditions since last fall, although other areas have not. Despite overall dryness, occasional precipitation events have kept most producers from becoming overly concerned about drought. Over most of the last two months, the U.S. Drought Monitor has shown normal conditions in South Dakota except for areas of short-term, abnormal dryness in the Black Hills and the extreme northeast corner of the state.

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    Minimizing Hay Storage Loss from Heating or Fires

    Successful hay storage is essential to provide high quality feedstuffs to ensure desired performance from livestock forages while deterring economic loss from unwanted hay storage fires. The predominant reason that heating or fires occurs in hay is because of excessive moisture in the plant residue when it is baled or stacked for long term storage.

    Read More »

    There’s No A or E in Drought!

    When facing a drought one usually thinks first about forage and water shortages. Protein, energy, and minerals are the nutrients most often considered. There are other highly essential nutrients however that may be critically short under these conditions and that we are seldom worried about. We oftentimes take vitamins for granted for example, but truth be told, not all vitamins are going to become a problem.

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    Drylotting Cows as a Drought Management Strategy

    Matching livestock inventories with available forage becomes the primary management challenge during drought conditions. Some decisions are fairly straightforward, such as marketing yearling cattle early or culling cows that might be old, open, or ornery. If drought becomes severe enough that productive cows must be removed from pastures, making the best decision becomes much more complex.

    Read More »

    Early Weaning as a Drought Management Strategy

    Successfully managing drought conditions requires balancing the amount of forage demanded by grazing livestock with the amount produced. Early weaning can be a very effective tool for accomplishing that objective in the right circumstances. There is an excellent reason why ranchers use early weaning as a drought management tool; weaning calves early reduces the amount of feed required to maintain the cow.

    Read More »

    Beef Quality is Everyone’s Responsibility

    Summer is nearly here and as cattle move to grass, we have a few considerations for you to keep in mind. From the pasture to the plate, we are all responsible for assuring consumers can take pride in the beef they purchase, and have trust and confidence in South Dakota’s beef industry. Your checkoff investment provides the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program that collaborates common sense husbandry techniques and accepted scientific knowledge to raise cattle under the best management and environmental conditions to provide safe, wholesome, quality beef to the consumer’s plate.

    Read More »

    Using Growth Implants in Yearling Stockers

    Implants have been an effective tool to economically improve rate of gain and feed conversion in growing cattle for decades. Generally, implants are expected to increase rate of gain by 10 to 20% for yearling cattle on grass. Because implants are inexpensive, this can create a return on investment exceeding 20 to 1, depending of course on cattle prices relative to implant cost.

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    Proper Sampling of Hay and Forages

    You have heard it said many times before, “the results are only as good as the sample that was taken”. This is a reality for all feedstuffs especially where forage sampling is concerned. Let’s first start with “why” we want accurate results. As dairymen and livestock caretakers we are trying to optimize the performance of our livestock, whether it is producing milk or meat.

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    Governor’s Habitat Work Group Report: A Synopsis

    In September 2014 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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    Nitrates in Hail and Drought Stressed Crops

    As of July 7, nearly 60% of South Dakota is affected by some degree of drought. This week many areas have received moisture, however some of it came with large hail and wind that created additional challenges for producers. This may not be overly significant for some, but it means a change in management decisions for others. Stressors such as drought and hail can increase nitrate levels in forage crops, resulting in a need to change how they are managed.

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    The Value of Wheat Hay

    This year has posed some significant challenges for wheat producers in South Dakota. In some areas the wheat is not making grain due to various issues including drought and diseases, such as rust. In addition to production being compromised, wheat prices have been steadily declining. The decline in the wheat market is a combination of multiple things, with the most significant being large world-wide wheat supply along with an abundant last year’s crop supply in the U. S.

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    Alfalfa Update

    Many parts of South Dakota are experiencing warmer and drier conditions. The Northeast and West Region (Black Hills) of the State are lacking a lot of needed moisture going into the middle of the growing season. The Black Hills growing area has a large area of moderate to severe drought. Many producers across the region are concerned about their forage production amounts and market value this year. At this point farmers and ranchers in western South Dakota are having a hard time getting their first cutting of alfalfa, which can really have a significant impact in hay production for the Region.

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    Minimizing Stress to Enhance Embryo Retention

    With hot summer days officially upon us and rainfall falling short in several areas of the state, it is stressful time for producers trying to get cows bred, hay made and silage chopped. While we can’t control what Mother Nature will bring us tomorrow, there are some steps that can be utilized to help minimize stress on the cow herd and manage the reproductive performance to aid embryo retention during this period of drought and heat stress.

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    Sell the Factory or Feed Through Drought?

    Weather conditions have turned dry across South Dakota, leaving many producers wondering if they have enough feed available to maintain the size of their cowherd. Many times instinct says that a reduction in the number of animals being fed will allow the owner to maintain the condition of the remaining cows and that purchasing replacements at a later date will return the herd size back to pre-drought levels. This action may be needed for some producers, but there may be a better option given the current prices for feedstuffs.

    Read More »

    Drylotting Cows as a Drought Management Strategy

    Matching livestock inventories with available forage becomes the primary management challenge during drought conditions. Some decisions are fairly straightforward, such as marketing yearling cattle early or culling cows that might be old, open, or ornery. If drought becomes severe enough that productive cows must be removed from pastures, making the best decision becomes much more complex.

    Read More »

    Early Weaning as a Drought Management Strategy

    Successfully managing drought conditions requires balancing the amount of forage demanded by grazing livestock with the amount produced. Early weaning can be a very effective tool for accomplishing that objective in the right circumstances. There is an excellent reason why ranchers use early weaning as a drought management tool; weaning calves early reduces the amount of feed required to maintain the cow.

    Read More »

    Discussing the Dart Delivery Method for Treating Cattle

    Cattle ranchers strive to minimize the stress of handling and disease on their animals. One way they can do this is by implementing new technologies for delivering medications to sick animals while out in remote pastures. During the July 6th Animal Care Wednesday Webinar, Rob Eirich, Nebraska BQA Coordinator, discussed considerations and challenges of using remote delivery devices for administering medication to animals.

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    Grain-Fed Vs. Grass-Fed Beef

    The nutritional makeup of an animal’s meat by-products is determined by the diet composition, genetics and the breed of an animal. Most beef cattle in the U.S. are fed a grain-based diet typically consisting of corn and grain by-products, after spending the several months of life consuming a forage-based diet. However, recently beef produced from cattle fed exclusively forage or grass has been gaining popularity.

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    Why We Have FARM on the Farm

    In a time when people are increasingly concerned about food safety and how animals are cared for, farmers continue to demonstrate their commitment to stewardship. During the June 1st Animal Care Wednesday Webinar, Kim Clark, Nebraska Dairy Extension Educator, discussed the ins and outs of what occurs on a dairy farm when a FARM (Farmers Assuring Responsible Management) Evaluator conducts an on-farm assessment.

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    National Grilling Month

    July is National Grilling Month. It also marks the beginning of summer produce season! For anyone who loves to cook, it’s a no-brainer that summertime provides some of the most delicious fruits and vegetables to experiment with in the kitchen, or on the grill! Summer produce such as sweet corn, cucumbers, avocados, tomatoes and green beans are all great choices.

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    Checking in on the Checkoff: Get Your Grill On!

    Summer remains the peak season for beef sales. On average, 30% of yearly beef dollar sales are captured between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Typically, the 4th of July Holiday has the highest weekly sales (in pounds and dollars) throughout the year. With the summer season accounting for more than $7.9 Billion in 2015, it is important the South Dakota Beef Industry Council (SDBIC) to gear our efforts to meet those consumer demands. What will you see from us this summer?

    Read More »

    Beef Quality is Everyone’s Responsibility

    Summer is nearly here and as cattle move to grass, we have a few considerations for you to keep in mind. From the pasture to the plate, we are all responsible for assuring consumers can take pride in the beef they purchase, and have trust and confidence in South Dakota’s beef industry. Your checkoff investment provides the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program that collaborates common sense husbandry techniques and accepted scientific knowledge to raise cattle under the best management and environmental conditions to provide safe, wholesome, quality beef to the consumer’s plate.

    Read More »

    Save the Date: SDSU BBQ Bootcamp June 12

    The South Dakota State University Meat Science program will be hosting a BBQ Bootcamp at Strawbale Winery in Renner, SD on June 12 from 1-3:30 p.m. BBQ Bootcamp 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 staff in a fun and interactive setting

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    Livestock Shows & Drug Testing: Procedures & best practices

    State and county livestock shows may require drug testing of exhibited animals to ensure a level playing field and food safety. During the May 4th Animal Care Wednesday Webinar, Mike Anderson, Iowa State University’s State 4-H Livestock Program Specialist, shared his experience with youth livestock shows, and provided practical procedures and best practices for individuals implementing, or considering drug testing for livestock shows.

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    Show Animals: Challenges at the packer

    Why do youth livestock show animals require extra paperwork when marketed to a packer? The April 6th speaker for the Animal Care Wednesday Webinar was Paula Alexander, Project Manager of Tyson’s Sustainable Food Production and Food Safety Quality Assurance. She outlined some of the basic challenges and what steps a packer takes to address the challenges.

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    Natural Resources: The Ranch Foundation During Drought

    As drought conditions persist in areas of South Dakota, ranchers are faced with many critical decisions. Do we purchase hay and feed through the drought? Do we reduce stocking rates and sell animals? Do we wean calves early? Do we dry lot our breeding animals? Do we supplement the forage available? How are we going to market our animals? All are very important decisions with their own financial implications unique to every ranch and must be carefully evaluated.

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    SDDA Sensitive Site Registry: Protecting sensitive areas from chemical drift

    The SD Dept. of Ag. recently announced updates to the Sensitive Site Registry. First launched in 2013, the Sensitive Site Registry is designed for producers and applicators (private and commercial) to better understand where chemical and fertilizer drift and misapplications are to be avoided. This registry has the potential to be an excellent tool in fostering positive communications between those who apply chemicals and those who are concerned with drift, and SDDA specifically created the registry to provide information about farms and ranches that would be adversely affected by accidental fertilizer or pesticide application or drift.

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    SDSU Survey on Land Use Decisions Highlights Role of Grasslands

    The issue of land use and grassland conversion to croplands remains a central topic in the agriculture and natural resources arenas. Generally speaking, grassland conversion is described in two primary ways, the first being conversion…or re-conversion…of ‘tame’ grasslands such as Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres and old tame grass hayfields and pastures to row-crop agriculture.

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    New Grassland CRP Offers Grazing Options

    In September 2015, the USDA launched a new Conservation Reserve Program option called ‘CRP grasslands’. While not perfect, this new program took a major step toward improved management and utilization of expiring CRP and GRP acres under a ‘working lands’ philosophy while retaining the inherent value of the grass cover for wildlife, water, and recreation. This new program was brought about largely by feedback provided by CRP landowners and conservation groups alike.

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    Governor’s Habitat Work Group Report: A Synopsis

    In September 2014 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.

    Read More »

    Planning CRP and Grassland Mixes for Future Grazing

    The history of federal involvement in soil preservation dates back to dust bowl era of the 1930’s with the 1933 Agricultural Adjustment Act. This was the first in a long series of ‘Farm Bills’ that continue to guide our soil and water conservation strategies today. Currently, one of the most popular soil conservation programs is the Conservation Reserve Program, or CRP as it is commonly known. CRP is cooperatively administered under the US Department of Agriculture’s Farm Services Agency (FSA) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

    Read More »

    The Value of Wheat Hay

    This year has posed some significant challenges for wheat producers in South Dakota. In some areas the wheat is not making grain due to various issues including drought and diseases, such as rust. In addition to production being compromised, wheat prices have been steadily declining. The decline in the wheat market is a combination of multiple things, with the most significant being large world-wide wheat supply along with an abundant last year’s crop supply in the U. S.

    Read More »

    It’s really dry. Now what?

    Conditions reported on June 28 for the U.S. Drought Monitor indicated deepening drought conditions in Western and Northeastern South Dakota. Management of pasture and rangeland to provide livestock feed always involves a balance of supply with demand. Uncertain moisture makes anticipation of vegetation supply difficult. Drought further complicates the balancing act, but demands a decisive response.

    Read More »

    Large Concern Over Poor Quality Livestock Water

    Little to no runoff from snow or spring rain along with hot, dry, windy conditions have led to an early detection of poor quality livestock water in Western South Dakota. Livestock water samples from Northwestern South Dakota have already indicated high levels of total salts. High levels of sulfates in the water have already caused polioencephalomalacia (“polio”) this year in some herds with blindness being reported. Poor-quality water is not limited to Northwestern South Dakota, but to all of Western South Dakota and possibly portions of Eastern South Dakota.

    Read More »

    Smooth Bromegrass Grazing Management

    Smooth bromegrass is a cool-season introduced grass with an advanced root system that tolerates temperature extremes and drought exceptionally well. This sod-forming perennial grass spreads rapidly through seeds and rhizomes causing pastures and rangeland in Central South Dakota to be increasingly dominated by this grass year after year.

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