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    Limping Livestock: Two Perspectives

    Lameness can be attributed to many factors yet the physical response to favor a limb is likely related to the animal’s pain threshold. The presence of pain is a critical well-being concern, and can have many secondary impacts on the animal’s overall health, production, and functional lifetime. Some examples of secondary impacts known in livestock include: a decline in feed intake or grazing ability, loss of body condition, reduced reproduction rates, or chronic lameness.

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    Sustainable Beef: A “Global” Discussion and You

    In the last few months, a global discussion initiated by McDonald’s and several other food retailers continues to intensify as best practices of animal welfare and sustainable food production methods, specifically for beef, are being identified. McDonald’s commitment to buy sustainable beef in 2016 led to the formation of the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, which consists of representatives from all sectors of the beef supply chain.

    Read More »

    Current Policy Affecting the Cattle Industry

    U.S. trade policy, the new farm bill, and domestic and global economic conditions were much discussed topics at the 2013 Range Beef Cow Symposium. Roger Bernard, Informa Economics, indicated that Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) would remain a contentious trade issue during the next year. USDA revised its mandatory COOL regulation in May 2013 to comply with an earlier World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling which held that the mandatory COOL law created a less favorable treatment of imported animals than like-kind domestic animals due to record keeping and verification costs.

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    Using Genetic Tools to Better Understand Rumen Organisms

    A diverse population of micro-organisms in the gut of ruminants allows them to digest fibrous foods that are mostly unusable by humans. New genetic tools, similar to those being used to aid selection in the whole animal, are being used to improve our understanding of the relationships among the rumen micro-organisms along with how they interact with their hosts.

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    Checking in on the Checkoff

    As I write this article the 2014 Cattle Industry National Convention is just around the corner. Cattlemen from around the country will attend committees that will discuss such topics as improving beef’s image, freedom to operate, nutrition and health, value and global growth to name a few. Federation and Cattlemen’s Beef Board directors will decide on requests for funding projects in the areas of beef promotion, nutrition and safety research, consumer education, international marketing, beef quality assurance and the shift to social media as the new advertising method to reach more millennials which are our target consumer audience.

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    Monitoring Lameness to Promote Timely Culling

    Profit margin forecasts for cow/calf producers and feeders have been positive and on the rise. These forecasts combined with the need to grow the national cow herd challenges all producers to make critical decisions about retaining cows or selling them to capture record high prices. Typical culling rates for beef herds can range from 10-20 percent depending on the manager’s production goals, and 20 percent of the annual paycheck can come from the value of cull cows.

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    Fire in South Dakota: An Introduction

    Its early march in South Dakota and winter hasn’t loosened its grip as this article is being written. We are used to working around the weather, but as we flip the calendar to March, we are forced to start planning for spring activities, regardless of spring’s travel plans. Along with calving and planting for many; at least for some spring planning also includes the use of fire.

    Read More »

    Sustainable Beef: A “Global” Discussion and You

    In the last few months, a global discussion initiated by McDonald’s and several other food retailers continues to intensify as best practices of animal welfare and sustainable food production methods, specifically for beef, are being identified. McDonald’s commitment to buy sustainable beef in 2016 led to the formation of the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, which consists of representatives from all sectors of the beef supply chain.

    Read More »

    Importance of Calcium and Phosphorus in the Ruminant Diet

    Calcium (Ca) and phosphorus (P) are two of the most abundant minerals in the body, which is why they are vital to the discussion of feed testing and ration balancing for cattle. The importance of these minerals and the role they play in the body can help ranchers understand why a balanced mineral program is a notch in the key to success.

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    Is Hay Still the Best Choice to Winter Cows?

    The feed cost environment for 2013-2014 is dramatically different compared to last year. Corn and corn-derived feeds such as distiller’s grains and silage are only about half the cost of one year ago. 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. Is there an opportunity to exploit these differences in feed prices to reduce winter feed expenses?

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    Drylot Beef Cow Production Systems: An Alternative to Cow Herd Liquidation

    Non-traditional management systems such as Drylot Beef Production may offer cattlemen an alternative to reducing stock cow numbers or total herd liquidation. As grazing and haying acres continue to be converted to crop ground especially in crop-intensive geographic areas of our state and region, cattlemen are faced with the impact of that trend as they strive to maintain cow herd numbers. Since 2006, more than 370,000 acres of grassland have been lost to the crop sector according to the US Geological Survey and USDA.

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    Cow Lease/Share Arrangements Match Cows to Feed Resources

    South Dakota cattlemen challenged by dwindling grazing resources to support their production systems may find cow lease/share arrangements as an alternative to herd liquidation. According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, South Dakota’s cow herd totals (ranked 5th nationally) grew by five percent from 2012 to 2013. Maintaining that growth may be difficult with the continued conversion of pasture and hay ground to crop acres.

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    Cedar Trees and Rangeland Loss

    The issue of cedar tree invasion into South Dakota’s rangelands tends to be a regional conversation. Those in the south central and southeastern portions of South Dakota understand well the challenges in controlling these invasive trees. There is generally broad agreement among most resource professionals that these trees are in fact changing our landscape in a negative way.

    Read More »

    Meeting the Cows Nutritional Needs After Calving

    How to address the nutritional needs of a cow herd after calving is critically important to have a successful start to next year’s calf crop. To maintain a 365-day calving interval then re-breeding has to occur 82 days after calving. The cows needs to recover from calving and start cycling again during that time period while at the same time providing enough milk for her growing calf.

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    Fire in South Dakota: CRP and Grassland Burning Rules

    Landowners who plan to begin or continue utilizing prescribed fire on CRP and other planted grasslands or native rangelands in South Dakota should be aware of recent advancements in prescribed fire education, planning, and options for implementation. Through various partnerships and cooperative efforts, landowners now have improved options to attend workshops or receive advice on fire use. Perhaps the most important advancement in the fire use arena is the new services that SD NRCS is providing for landowners planning to utilize prescribed fire for mid-term CRP management.

    Read More »

    Understanding the Critical Role of Broadleaf Pollinator Plants in Pastures

    In February, grassland professionals from SDSU and Pheasants Forever were invited to address the annual SD Weed and Pest Conference about the role of pollinator species in grasslands. Understanding the economic role of pollinators is the first step toward understanding their diverse values to grassland and crop systems, and so this was a very unique opportunity to reach a new audience that could help champion the cause for producers to practice discretion and engage in self-education when developing a pasture or CRP weed management plan.

    Read More »

    USDA: NEW Grassland Establishment Programs Deadline Approaching

    Recently, the US Department of Agriculture through the Natural Resources Conservation Service has launched three programs that offer assistance to landowners interested in improving grassland habitats on their properties under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Application deadlines for these programs is approaching fast, and producers considering grassland establishment are encouraged to explore these options before enacting grassland seeding plans.

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    Cattle Bedding and Food Safety

    When most people think of farm animals, a picture of Old MacDonald’s Farm likely comes to mind with fluffy, bright yellow piles of straw in and around a barn. Cattlemen may look at bedding as just another chore along with feeding, watering, and doing health checks that promotes the well-being of the animals to grow and produce high quality food.

    Read More »

    Sustainable Beef: A “Global” Discussion and You

    In the last few months, a global discussion initiated by McDonald’s and several other food retailers continues to intensify as best practices of animal welfare and sustainable food production methods, specifically for beef, are being identified. McDonald’s commitment to buy sustainable beef in 2016 led to the formation of the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, which consists of representatives from all sectors of the beef supply chain.

    Read More »

    Everything Happens Through People

    At the Washington State University’s Farm Animal Welfare Symposium on September 15, 2012, Dr. Jennifer Walker, Director of Dairy Stewardship for Dean Foods, gave a presentation entitled, “Animal Welfare Programs: Risk Mitigation or Risk Propagation”. Dr. Walker stated, “Everything happens through people.” People directly impact the success and performance of animals in any environment. Daily human-livestock interactions can have either lasting positive or negative impacts on animal behavior or performance during future handlings.

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    Checking In On The Checkoff

    Article by Ron Frederick, Executive Director, SDBIC. What a difference a few months can make. When I wrote my last article in April most of South Dakota was experiencing extreme drought and many producers were forced to send their cows to market, now most areas have received the much needed rain and the range and pasture conditions are mostly in good condition to improving and have curtailed the exodus of cattle from our state for at least the next few months.

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    An Introduction To Livestock Stewardship

    Over time, the image of raising livestock has changed as new production technologies and management systems have been introduced. However, the foundation of livestock husbandry remains the same. Livestock producers seek to provide for the needs of the animal and in return, animals provide healthy food products for our growing population.

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    Agriculture: The Grand Challenge

    Spring is a season of hope. It is appropriate that the first day of spring occurs during National Agriculture Week, March 17-23. It is a time to recognize the abundance provided by agriculture, and celebrate the opportunity it holds for South Dakota and humanity. As farmers once again move into the fields to plant crops, and also begin calving and lambing season, it's important to keep in mind the challenges ahead.

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    Producers Share Practical Tips on Herd Reproduction Progress

    South Dakota State University recently co-hosted the Applied Reproductive Strategies in Beef Cattle Conference in Sioux Falls, SD, Dec 3-4th. More than 350 producers attended the event to learn more about the latest research and technologies being incorporated into the reproductive methodologies of beef cattle operations. Twenty-eight speakers addressed issues from controlling estrus in heifers and cows, nutritional influences on reproduction, A.I. techniques and protocols and advanced technologies, such as sexed semen.

    Read More »

    Cedar Trees and Rangeland Loss

    The issue of cedar tree invasion into South Dakota’s rangelands tends to be a regional conversation. Those in the south central and southeastern portions of South Dakota understand well the challenges in controlling these invasive trees. There is generally broad agreement among most resource professionals that these trees are in fact changing our landscape in a negative way.

    Read More »

    Fire in South Dakota: CRP and Grassland Burning Rules

    Landowners who plan to begin or continue utilizing prescribed fire on CRP and other planted grasslands or native rangelands in South Dakota should be aware of recent advancements in prescribed fire education, planning, and options for implementation. Through various partnerships and cooperative efforts, landowners now have improved options to attend workshops or receive advice on fire use. Perhaps the most important advancement in the fire use arena is the new services that SD NRCS is providing for landowners planning to utilize prescribed fire for mid-term CRP management.

    Read More »

    Understanding the Critical Role of Broadleaf Pollinator Plants in Pastures

    In February, grassland professionals from SDSU and Pheasants Forever were invited to address the annual SD Weed and Pest Conference about the role of pollinator species in grasslands. Understanding the economic role of pollinators is the first step toward understanding their diverse values to grassland and crop systems, and so this was a very unique opportunity to reach a new audience that could help champion the cause for producers to practice discretion and engage in self-education when developing a pasture or CRP weed management plan.

    Read More »

    USDA: NEW Grassland Establishment Programs Deadline Approaching

    Recently, the US Department of Agriculture through the Natural Resources Conservation Service has launched three programs that offer assistance to landowners interested in improving grassland habitats on their properties under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Application deadlines for these programs is approaching fast, and producers considering grassland establishment are encouraged to explore these options before enacting grassland seeding plans.

    Read More »

    Growing Teff Grass

    “Have you considered teff grass?” This is a growing response to those who are looking for more crop choices in their operations. In Western South Dakota the growing interest is linked to no-till systems and cover crops. Teff (Eragrotis tef), is native to Ethiopia in Africa where it is mainly grown for its grain used in making the staple, injera. Although there is an increasing market for its grain, teff is mainly a forage crop in the US.

    Read More »

    Fire in South Dakota: An Introduction

    Its early march in South Dakota and winter hasn’t loosened its grip as this article is being written. We are used to working around the weather, but as we flip the calendar to March, we are forced to start planning for spring activities, regardless of spring’s travel plans. Along with calving and planting for many; at least for some spring planning also includes the use of fire.

    Read More »

    Range Record Keeping

    Livestock producers appreciate the value of livestock production records. Knowing which cows are most fertile, productive and therefore profitable, can inform decisions about culling and perhaps replacements for the breeding herd. Records are important for evaluating past decisions and planning for progress in their herd or flock. Pasture records are just as valuable. Records help evaluate your rangeland management each year and guide plans for the next grazing season.

    Read More »

    Sustainable Beef: A “Global” Discussion and You

    In the last few months, a global discussion initiated by McDonald’s and several other food retailers continues to intensify as best practices of animal welfare and sustainable food production methods, specifically for beef, are being identified. McDonald’s commitment to buy sustainable beef in 2016 led to the formation of the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, which consists of representatives from all sectors of the beef supply chain.

    Read More »

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