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    Creating a Price Floor: Locking in calf prices. LRP as a risk management strategy

    For years, cattle producers used the commodities market as a way to hedge and create a price floor for their cattle. For example, suppose a cow-calf producer has 100 head of calves they plan on feeding, knows their breakeven price is $215/cwt, and knows the calves will weigh between 500-600 lbs. when marketed. Using the commodities market, that producer can purchase a hedge to create a price floor for their cattle.

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    Livestock Husbandry & Handling Workshop: Dr. Temple Grandin in Watertown, SD

    South Dakota is a strong agricultural state with large numbers of livestock being raised by farmers and ranchers. On August 5, 2014, Dr. Temple Grandin will be back in South Dakota for the second Raising the Best: Livestock Husbandry and Handling for Today’s Market workshop this summer held in Watertown, SD. This workshop is hosted by South Dakota Farmers Union in partnership with SDSU Extension. The workshop is made possible by a grant through the USDA.

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    South Dakota Remains a Key Player in Nation’s Cattle Industry

    South Dakota cattlemen and cattle feeders continue to keep their state among the national leaders in beef production despite the challenges presented by the drought of 2012 and escalating feed and land costs. This status was verified with the release of the USDA South Dakota census of agriculture. With a calf crop inventory of 1,690,000 head (January 1, 2013), South Dakota ranked 4th among the nation’s leading cattle states. Although that number is slightly less than the 2012 total (1,710,000), it is still the largest total since 2008.

    Read More »

    Livestock Husbandry & Handling Workshop: Dr. Temple Grandin in Rapid City, SD

    South Dakota is a strong agricultural state with large numbers of livestock being raised by farmers and ranchers. On July 1, 2014, Dr. Temple Grandin will be the feature speaker in Rapid City, SD as part of the Raising the Best: Livestock Husbandry and Handling for Today’s Market. This workshop is hosted by South Dakota Farmers Union in partnership with SDSU Extension. The workshop is made possible by a grant through the USDA.

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    Niche and Value Added Marketing: Organic Beef

    The organic movement started in the United States (U.S.) in the early part of the twentieth century. The organic movement gained more visibility in the 1960’s and 1970’s when labeled organic produce began showing up in the market place (Kuepper 2010). Since the 1990’s, there has been a steady increase in the demand for organic products.

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    Locomotion Scoring: Speaking a Common Language

    Several iGrow articles have discussed the challenges of identifying cattle lameness cases and determining appropriate actions to take depending on the cause of the lameness. When producers identify lame animals in the herd, it is helpful to consult with a veterinarian using a common language to describe the observed signs of lameness.

    Read More »

    Livestock Husbandry & Handling Workshop: Dr. Temple Grandin in Watertown, SD

    South Dakota is a strong agricultural state with large numbers of livestock being raised by farmers and ranchers. On August 5, 2014, Dr. Temple Grandin will be back in South Dakota for the second Raising the Best: Livestock Husbandry and Handling for Today’s Market workshop this summer held in Watertown, SD. This workshop is hosted by South Dakota Farmers Union in partnership with SDSU Extension. The workshop is made possible by a grant through the USDA.

    Read More »

    Storing Wet and Modified Distillers Grains

    The market prices for distillers grain prices have dropped significantly in recent weeks. As Dr. Darrell Mark points out in his recent iGrow article Distillers Grains Prices Declining, prices have declined both in absolute dollar values but also as a percentage of the value of corn. For instance based on average South Dakota prices for corn and distillers grains at the beginning of May 2014, wet distillers grains (WDGS; 65% moisture) were at 105% of the value of corn.

    Read More »

    Livestock Husbandry & Handling Workshop: Dr. Temple Grandin in Rapid City, SD

    South Dakota is a strong agricultural state with large numbers of livestock being raised by farmers and ranchers. On July 1, 2014, Dr. Temple Grandin will be the feature speaker in Rapid City, SD as part of the Raising the Best: Livestock Husbandry and Handling for Today’s Market. This workshop is hosted by South Dakota Farmers Union in partnership with SDSU Extension. The workshop is made possible by a grant through the USDA.

    Read More »

    Summer Maintenance for Open Yards

    The performance and cost of gain of backgrounding or finishing cattle depends in large part on the quality of their feeding environment. Cattle might possess the greatest genetics for growth and carcass merit and be fed the most finely-tuned ration science can design, but if the feeding environment is too stressful they will not perform as well as expected. As little as 4 to 8 inches of mud can reduce performance and feed efficiency by about 13%.

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    Locomotion Scoring: Speaking a Common Language

    Several iGrow articles have discussed the challenges of identifying cattle lameness cases and determining appropriate actions to take depending on the cause of the lameness. When producers identify lame animals in the herd, it is helpful to consult with a veterinarian using a common language to describe the observed signs of lameness.

    Read More »

    Marketing and Testing Your Hay

    After an abnormally cool spring and a frost across South Dakota in mid-May, the weather started to warm up, and the hay crop has taken off growing. Some hay will stay with the operation however there is a fair amount through the area that gets sold. If you are one of the producers who are deliberating selling your alfalfa or grass hay, there are a few things to consider before marketing it to optimize the price you receive.

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    Lameness in Cattle: Causes Associated with Injury

    This article will examine some of the more physical ways cattle can become lame, starting with the foot and working our way up. A not-uncommon cause of acute lameness in adult as well as younger cattle, especially in pasture situations, is that of penetrating foreign objects into the sole of the foot. One typically thinks of nails in this regard, but many other potential objects can do the job as well.

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    Sustainable Beef Starts With Grass

    Sustainability not only implies good intent but also an understanding of actions, impacts, and improvements. Technically, Webster defines sustainability as: of, relating to, or being a method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged or relating to a lifestyle involving the use of sustainable methods. Not bad, but in truth the word sustainability means something different to everyone when referring to the grass and beef industry. To some it means they have a constant supply of product.

    Read More »

    Livestock Husbandry & Handling Workshop: Dr. Temple Grandin in Watertown, SD

    South Dakota is a strong agricultural state with large numbers of livestock being raised by farmers and ranchers. On August 5, 2014, Dr. Temple Grandin will be back in South Dakota for the second Raising the Best: Livestock Husbandry and Handling for Today’s Market workshop this summer held in Watertown, SD. This workshop is hosted by South Dakota Farmers Union in partnership with SDSU Extension. The workshop is made possible by a grant through the USDA.

    Read More »

    Small Grain Stubble Can Extend the Grazing Season

    Small grain stubble has provided cattlemen with a fall grazing alternative, however this roughage source has dwindled for years since the “corn-soybean rotation” replaced many of those small grain acres. The resurgence of small grain plantings may at the same time provide producers with the means OF once again utilize grain stubble for fall grazing needs.

    Read More »

    Genetic Selection for Healthier Cattle

    The adoption of advanced genetic selection tools such as Expected Progeny Difference (EPD) has been one of the greatest success stories in improving productivity in the beef industry. The ability to select and find cattle that excel in growth while still delivering acceptable calving ease and improved carcass merit has had a tremendous impact on the increases in productivity per cow that has occurred in the last thirty years. Given the success that the use of genetic selection principles have had in increasing output, are there other aspects of beef production that could be improved as well?

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    Storing Wet and Modified Distillers Grains

    The market prices for distillers grain prices have dropped significantly in recent weeks. As Dr. Darrell Mark points out in his recent iGrow article Distillers Grains Prices Declining, prices have declined both in absolute dollar values but also as a percentage of the value of corn. For instance based on average South Dakota prices for corn and distillers grains at the beginning of May 2014, wet distillers grains (WDGS; 65% moisture) were at 105% of the value of corn.

    Read More »

    Fall Grazing of Cover Crops

    If you are considering planting a cover crop after grain harvest, consider whether the planting might also serve as fall forage for livestock. Cover crops planted after harvesting a major cash crop can serve multiple benefits. Not only can they help prevent soil erosion, provide organic matter, and scavenge nitrogen, but an additional benefit can come from using cover crops as forage for livestock grazing.

    Read More »

    Pinkeye Reduction in Your Dairy/Beef Herd

    Pinkeye, also known as infectious bovine keratoconjunctivitis (IBK) is a highly contagious disease, causing inflammation of the cornea (the clear outer layer) and conjunctiva (the pink membrane lining the eyelids) of the eye. Pinkeye results in a mild to severe infection and can cause blindness in approximately 2 percent of the cases. It has a major economic impact affecting cattle through decreased weight gain, decreased milk production, and treatment costs.

    Read More »

    South Dakota Remains a Key Player in Nation’s Cattle Industry

    South Dakota cattlemen and cattle feeders continue to keep their state among the national leaders in beef production despite the challenges presented by the drought of 2012 and escalating feed and land costs. This status was verified with the release of the USDA South Dakota census of agriculture. With a calf crop inventory of 1,690,000 head (January 1, 2013), South Dakota ranked 4th among the nation’s leading cattle states. Although that number is slightly less than the 2012 total (1,710,000), it is still the largest total since 2008.

    Read More »

    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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    Beef’s Saving Value

    Feeding the family healthy, enjoyable meals within a budget can be challenging. As my children have grown over the past few years, so have their appetites and food preferences. The one thing I can count on is their love for beef’s great flavor, which thankfully pairs well with many fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Here are some easy shopping tips for planning meals that help keep the family happy and healthy with beef’s saving value.

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    Preventing Animal-to-Human Diseases at Fairs and Petting Zoos: Ideas from SDSU Students

    Students in the SDSU course that I teach, Animal Diseases and Their Control, were recently asked to think critically about an uncommon but potentially serious public health problem: the movement of germs from animals to people at petting zoos and fairs. Each year, illnesses such as E. coli O157:H7 and cryptosporidiosis are associated with contact between people (often children) and animals on exhibit.

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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.

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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.

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    Using Feed-Grade Antibiotics for Livestock: Changes are coming

    Recently, livestock producers and veterinarians have been hearing about changes coming in the way antibiotics are used in food animals. In mid-December, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a final “guidance for industry” that starts the clock running on some of these changes.

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    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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    Pasture Management Learning Opportunity

    With a few exceptions, most pastures in South Dakota are dominated by cool-season vegetation. As August arrives, nearly all of this year’s plant growth has been completed, even if moisture is adequate. Late summer is an excellent time to evaluate the short-term effects of implementation of the current year’s grazing management plan and any adjustments that were made.

    Read More »

    Sustainable Beef Starts With Grass

    Sustainability not only implies good intent but also an understanding of actions, impacts, and improvements. Technically, Webster defines sustainability as: of, relating to, or being a method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged or relating to a lifestyle involving the use of sustainable methods. Not bad, but in truth the word sustainability means something different to everyone when referring to the grass and beef industry. To some it means they have a constant supply of product.

    Read More »

    Small Grain Stubble Can Extend the Grazing Season

    Small grain stubble has provided cattlemen with a fall grazing alternative, however this roughage source has dwindled for years since the “corn-soybean rotation” replaced many of those small grain acres. The resurgence of small grain plantings may at the same time provide producers with the means OF once again utilize grain stubble for fall grazing needs.

    Read More »

    Fall Grazing of Cover Crops

    If you are considering planting a cover crop after grain harvest, consider whether the planting might also serve as fall forage for livestock. Cover crops planted after harvesting a major cash crop can serve multiple benefits. Not only can they help prevent soil erosion, provide organic matter, and scavenge nitrogen, but an additional benefit can come from using cover crops as forage for livestock grazing.

    Read More »

    Interactive Map for SDSU Research Projects

    South Dakota Soybean Research and Promotion Council, local producers, and SDSU Extension and Research, in cooperation with iGrow announce a new way to communicate with you our partners in the field. An interactive map showing a portion of field research sites is now up and running. The interactive map allows anyone to post comments about a particular project and share these projects via facebook, twitter, or email.

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    Adding Forage Options with Summer Annuals

    Warm-season annuals are excellent options to consider as a way to increase a farm or ranch’s forage production. These are a group of annual grasses that perform best during the warmest part of the summer and are typically planted in June or July. These crops can be a complement to cash grain and cover crops to enhance forage production or grazing opportunities.

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    Develop a Grazing Plan for a “Sweet Clover Year”

    Ranchers in the United States have experienced through the years the highly sporadic year of exceptional sweet clover (SC) production with varying degrees of increased forage production and wonderment in its wide ranging establishment. There are two general types of sweet clover; white and yellow sweet clover. White SC is found more often in “run-in” range sites and tends to produce much more biomass, but becomes less desirable as a forage source when mature, as palatability and digestibility is greatly reduced.

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    Leafy Spurge is Rapidly Developing

    It appears leafy spurge is showing up in areas of north-central South Dakota that have not traditionally had problems with it in the past. Since these new patches are developing SDSU Weed Extension program is encouraging landowners and producers statewide to keep an eye on pastures, hay lands, ditches and shelterbelts for this aggressive noxious weed.

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    Cool Temperatures Slow Leafy Spurge Flea Beetles for Redistribution

    Normally the Leafy spurge flea beetles would start emerging on leafy spurge in the next two to three weeks. Mid June is the normal time of the year when we start collecting the flea beetles for distribution in South Dakota. The cooler than normal spring temperatures most likely will delay normal emergence of this bio-control agent because their life cycle is based on growing degree days much like plants.

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