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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.

    Read More »

    Celebrate May Beef Month

    The recent cool, wet weather brings some much needed moisture for many regions of the state promising us a vibrant spring for many of our South Dakota ranchers and families. The process of raising safe, quality beef begins on the land where farmers and ranchers work to meet a variety of consumer interests and needs. May continues to be the month when the covers come off the barbecue grills and the aroma of beef cooking in backyards and parks across the state signals that summer is on the way.

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    Maximize Your Best Asset – Your Employees

    There never seems to be a slow time around a farm or ranch. The to do list is always there, and as a result farm owners and managers who oversee employees and or work alongside family members sometimes can overlook how important it is to allocate time to enhance the skills and abilities of those who work for you. There are great opportunities year round, such as tours, field days and seminars employers can take advantage of as continued educational opportunities for your employees.

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    SDSU Extension Releases Online Video Resources for Artificial Insemination

    The spring breeding season is fast approaching for most South Dakota ranchers if not here already. A growing number of producers use artificial insemination or AI as a reproductive management tool. Sometimes “show and tell” is the best approach to make sure that a concept sticks. With that in mind, SDSU Extension has produced two videos on AI procedures.

    Read More »

    Breeding Season: Are your beef cows ready?

    Preparing cows for a successful breeding season is critical for a cow/calf producer’s financial bottom-line. Two considerations often come to the top of the list when thinking about management strategies for setting the cowherd up for high pregnancy rates are: 1) nutrition and 2) moving late calving cows up in the breeding season. However, another management consideration is vaccinating cows for reproductive pathogens. Some producers elect to vaccinate cows (pregnant) during pregnancy testing due to management and labor constraints.

    Read More »

    Farm Equipment, Safety on the Road, Everyone’s Role

    Spring brings the onset of an increase in farm activity as planting and the moving of livestock to pasture gets underway. As a result we will see an increase of encounters with farm equipment on the road, whether it is a tractor with a planter attached, a swather, a tractor and baler, someone hauling feed between farms, or the local elevator hauling fertilizer or heading out to spray crops for a producer. The point is we all need to be vigilant as a producer, ag industry person or a motorist encountering agricultural farm equipment on the road.

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    Branding Methods: Understanding which are preferred and why

    Branding time elicits different feelings depending on who you talk to. Ask a rancher about branding and you may hear phrases about tradition, family, friends and neighbors, or “It’s a happy time of the year!” However, if you ask someone from the city that did not grow up around cattle, you may hear comments about pain, cruelty, gross, or “That’s awful abuse!” So why the drastic difference in perception of this husbandry practice? How do these different perceptions impact the recommendations that ranchers are suggested to use on their cattle?

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    Eating Like a Pig is Healthy

    On Thursday, February 25, 2016, Dr. Eric Berg gave a presentation at South Dakota State University on “Eating Like a Pig: The Role of Meat in the Human Diet” as part of the University’s Speakers series. Berg, a Professor of Meat Science from North Dakota State University, discussed a variety of topics including how the USDA Food Pyramid was developed, limitations in human nutrition research, how the US diet has evolved throughout the years, and how those changes have significant implications on human health.

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    Toe Abscess (Toe Tip Necrosis) in Feeder Cattle

    Toe abscess (toe tip necrosis) is most commonly seen in feedlot cattle and is likely subsequent to excessive abrasive damage to the hoof, especially the toe tip. Affected animals may be moderately to severely lame, depending on the extent of the infection into the sensitive tissues Untreated cattle may develop joint infections and ascending leg infections, which significantly limit productivity and the likelihood of recovery.

    Read More »

    Integrated Crop Livestock Systems: Enhancing economic profit & soil health

    Introducing livestock into arable cropping systems can improve soil health and provide economic benefits. In the integrated crop livestock systems, cover crops and crop residue provide feed to livestock, while plants capture nutrients from the livestock waste. Potential economic benefits include reduced fertilizer cost for the cash crop, yield/profit increase from subsequent cash crop, and additional cost savings from supplemental hay.

    Read More »

    Planning Ahead for Summer Feedlot Maintenance

    The performance and cost of gain of backgrounding or finishing cattle depends in large part on the quality of their feeding environment. For many cattle feeders in South Dakota, especially backgrounders, the summer months represent a great time to address and correct any problems that might be present in open lots. There is usually some time during the summer when the pens are drier and empty, providing the opportunity to do some prep work before fall.

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    Toe Abscess (Toe Tip Necrosis) in Feeder Cattle

    Toe abscess (toe tip necrosis) is most commonly seen in feedlot cattle and is likely subsequent to excessive abrasive damage to the hoof, especially the toe tip. Affected animals may be moderately to severely lame, depending on the extent of the infection into the sensitive tissues Untreated cattle may develop joint infections and ascending leg infections, which significantly limit productivity and the likelihood of recovery.

    Read More »

    Grass-Fed Beef Labeling Issues

    In early January there was a short flurry of media activity focused on the announcement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) that the agency was foregoing it labeling policy for grass fed beef. What was a reasonable attempt at clarification of labeling authority spawned a great deal of initial confusion.

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    Feed Bunk Management

    When it comes to nutritional management of growing and finishing cattle, the scientific aspects tend to get the most attention. Hours are spent getting the formulations right and debating the merits of different ingredients and additives. In truth, feeding cattle successfully is as much art and judgment as science. Judgment is required to balance between over- and under-feeding. Under-feeding limits performance and possibly quality grade. Feeding too much increases feed waste and more importantly can trigger acidosis, poor performance, and increased death loss.

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    Protein Effects on Reproductive Efficiency

    Reproductive failure and reproductive losses cost the US beef and dairy industries over $1 billion dollars annually (Bellows et al., 2002). In addition, the number one reason for culling cows is pregnancy status (33%), closely followed by age and poor teeth (32%; NAHMS, 2008). Seeing these numbers, should make producers think twice about how they are working to improve reproductive performance in their cowherds in order to decrease the number of cows being culled for reproductive failure each year.

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    Veterinary Feed Directive Q & A

    In June 2015, the FDA finalized the Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) rule pertaining to how feed-grade antibiotics can be used for livestock. Since then, there have been several meetings hosted across the state and country for producers, veterinarians and feed mills/ feed distributors discussing the details of these changes and how all parties will need to work together to follow new FDA guidelines for feeding antibiotics to livestock.

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    SDSU Extension to Kick Off South Dakota Cattlemen’s Convention

    There will be an SDSU Extension Roundup on Tuesday, December 8 at the Ramkota Inn in Pierre, SD as part of the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Convention. The program will run from 5:30 to 7:30 PM.
    The program is designed to offer timely information that can be used to make better-informed management decisions.

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    Save the Date: 2016 SDSU BEEF 20/20

    The South Dakota State University Animal Science faculty and staff are gearing up to host the 2016 BEEF 20/20 program January 6-8. BEEF 20/20 is designed to provide an intensive, hands-on, educational opportunity to enhance the understanding of the production and marketing of high quality, high value beef. Attendees do not need to be cattle producers to attend the program. Anyone affiliated with the beef industry - producers, allied industry representatives, locker operators, restaurateurs, retailers - is welcome.

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    Considerations for Rumen Development in Weaned Calves

    Proper nutritional management of weaned calves is critical in ensuring optimal health and performance. It is important to develop weaning rations that will adequately prepare calves for efficient growth and profitability in backgrounding and finishing programs or for a lifetime of productivity in the cow herd. Understanding the digestive physiology of a ruminant animal can help provide some insight about how various feedstuffs and rations may impact future production potential.

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    Cost of Implementing AI Technology This Breeding Season

    With the heart of the breeding season nearing for most commercial cattlemen across the country, we often hear that there isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done. Between wrapping up the calving season, preparing cows and calves for pasture turnout, starting field work, making a grazing plan and now thinking about breeding season, there is a lot on everyone’s plate.

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    Seeding-Year Harvest Management in Alfalfa

    For production, consider forage quality when selecting a harvest schedule. Most harvest schedule decisions include date of cut, stage of maturity, interval between cuts, and cutting height. The interval between the stage of maturity, yield, forage quality, and persistence is frequently used to decide when to harvest alfalfa.

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    Thinking About Forage Quality?

    Livestock production depends largely on the feeding program, and what you should feed your animals will depend on forage quality analyses. Forage quality determines the potential of a forage to produce the desired animal response. It can measure intake, palatability, digestibility, nutrient content, animal performance, and anti-quality factors.

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    Soil Stewardship for Healthy Landscapes

    During the middle of the 20th Century, a European visitor asked an Iowa farmer, “how deep does your black soil go?” to which the farmer is reported to have answered “All the way, I guess.” This rich, black topsoil, that has supported agriculture and, indeed, national prosperity since the time of settlement in the nineteenth century, resulted from long-term development beneath the extensive Great Plains prairies.

    Read More »

    Alfalfa & Dandelions: Is there anything we can do?

    As we move into the growing season, dandelions can cause many potential headaches not just in your lawn but also in your alfalfa field. It is important to remember that dandelions establish in the fall, do not have any toxins, and provide high-quality forage. However, they can cause wet and moldy spots in hay bales when harvested and their presence is an indicator of a weak stand.

    Read More »

    SDSU Extension Releases Online Video Resources for Artificial Insemination

    The spring breeding season is fast approaching for most South Dakota ranchers if not here already. A growing number of producers use artificial insemination or AI as a reproductive management tool. Sometimes “show and tell” is the best approach to make sure that a concept sticks. With that in mind, SDSU Extension has produced two videos on AI procedures.

    Read More »

    Breeding Season: Are your beef cows ready?

    Preparing cows for a successful breeding season is critical for a cow/calf producer’s financial bottom-line. Two considerations often come to the top of the list when thinking about management strategies for setting the cowherd up for high pregnancy rates are: 1) nutrition and 2) moving late calving cows up in the breeding season. However, another management consideration is vaccinating cows for reproductive pathogens. Some producers elect to vaccinate cows (pregnant) during pregnancy testing due to management and labor constraints.

    Read More »

    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.

    Read More »

    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.

    Read More »

    Celebrate May Beef Month

    The recent cool, wet weather brings some much needed moisture for many regions of the state promising us a vibrant spring for many of our South Dakota ranchers and families. The process of raising safe, quality beef begins on the land where farmers and ranchers work to meet a variety of consumer interests and needs. May continues to be the month when the covers come off the barbecue grills and the aroma of beef cooking in backyards and parks across the state signals that summer is on the way.

    Read More »

    Easy Beef Breakfast

    April is full of school activities, including standardized tests and increased outdoor sporting events. Parents may be interested to know that many studies show a direct link between nutritious family meals and academic success. Daily family meals start with breakfast. Breakfast kick-starts students’ metabolism and fuels their bodies which helps them stay focused during school activities.

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    The Power of Meat Labels and Marketing

    We all have bought meat products of some kind from a grocery store or local butcher. However, were you aware of all the statements and logos on that package and what they meant in terms of their impact on the dollar value of the product you purchased? During the March 2nd Animal Care Wednesday Webinar, Dr. Bryon Wiegand, a Professor and Meat Science Extension Specialist at the University of Missouri, discussed the value of meat products and their label claims.

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    Beef and National Nutrition Month

    The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) were released in January, and March is National Nutrition Month! What better time to revisit your New Year’s resolutions and check your nutrition status to help guide better eating habits, reach wellness goals and sustain a healthful lifestyle. The Dietary Guidelines refers to lean beef as a nutrient-rich food, which means it is high in nutrients, yet low in calories. Lean beef is a wholesome, high-quality protein that is a good or excellent source of 10 essential nutrients, including Zinc, Iron, Protein and B vitamins.

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    Beef is a Nutrition Powerhouse

    Lean beef is a nutrition powerhouse. It is a naturally nutrient-rich food providing 10 essential nutrients with only about 150 calories per 3-ounce serving. Lean beef packs more nutrients per bite with fewer calories, so it’s easier on the waistline than empty-calorie foods. Here are just a few of the many “hidden” nutrients in lean beef, along with the multiple body benefits they provide.

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    Beta-agonists in the Spotlight

    During the February 3rd Animal Care Wednesday Webinar, Dr. Kristin Hales, a Research Animal Scientist at the U. S. Meat Animal Research Center discussed some research findings about the effects of feeding Zilmax® and using shade in feedyard pens on beef cattle performance, heat stress, and other important measures.

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    Healthy Protein 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. A new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition by researchers from Pennsylvania State University, concluded that animal protein foods – including lean beef – can be just as effective as plant proteins in achieving weight loss and improving risk factors for metabolic syndrome as part of a heart-healthy dietary pattern.

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    True White Grub & June Beetle Update

    Throughout South Dakota, there are continued reports of grub injury in pastures and rangeland. After visiting additional sites, we observed that nearly all of the true white grub populations are currently in their adult form (May or June beetles). June beetles normally move from the lower soil horizon towards the surface as air and soil temperatures warm up. We found beetles in the root zone of the grasses, just below the soil surface.

    Read More »

    Soil Stewardship for Healthy Landscapes

    During the middle of the 20th Century, a European visitor asked an Iowa farmer, “how deep does your black soil go?” to which the farmer is reported to have answered “All the way, I guess.” This rich, black topsoil, that has supported agriculture and, indeed, national prosperity since the time of settlement in the nineteenth century, resulted from long-term development beneath the extensive Great Plains prairies.

    Read More »

    Alfalfa at the Start of the 2016 Growing Season

    Alfalfa is considered one of the most important forage-legume species in South Dakota. It is a deep-rooted legume that grows best in moderate to well-drained soils. In South Dakota, under optimum growing and soil conditions, along with proper management, yields can exceed 3 to 4 tons DM/acre of hay when irrigated, and 1 to 2 tons DM/acre on dryland.

    Read More »

    Integrated Crop Livestock Systems: Enhancing economic profit & soil health

    Introducing livestock into arable cropping systems can improve soil health and provide economic benefits. In the integrated crop livestock systems, cover crops and crop residue provide feed to livestock, while plants capture nutrients from the livestock waste. Potential economic benefits include reduced fertilizer cost for the cash crop, yield/profit increase from subsequent cash crop, and additional cost savings from supplemental hay.

    Read More »

    Ant Mounds in Pastures

    Pastures and rangeland host numerous insect species. While the majority of these insects are benign, some are considered pests. The latter is especially true when insects inhabit areas where they were not previously observed, or areas where their presence is a nuisance. In some instances, these perceived pests are actually providing valuable ecosystem services. Recently, a report came in of large ant mounds in a pasture. After investigation it was determined that the mounds are the creation of the Allegheny mound ants (Formica exsectoides), which are native to North America.

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    True White Grubs in Pastures and Rangeland

    Over the course of the winter and spring, many reports came in of grub damage to pastures and rangeland. Many species of grubs feed on grass roots, which may result in reduced grass stands as the root systems are destroyed and the grass is killed. After visiting pastures with infested areas we determined that the damage to grass stands is primarily due to true white grubs. However, there are likely more than 40 species of true white grubs present in South Dakota, all of which are capable of causing damage to pasture or rangeland.

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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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