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    Shade Options for Open Lots

    Heat stress in cattle due to elevated temperature and humidity in the summer months is documented to reduce productivity in dairy cattle. In beef production the losses of production have been slight or imperceptible to most studies. However as stewards of our animals this article will provide you with some points to consider if you would like to develop shaded areas in pens to improve comfort and promote the highest production possible in your animals.

    Read More »

    An Aid for Preparing Livestock Judging Oral Reasons

    Giving reasons is one of the most useful things you will have the opportunity to do while judging livestock. Preparing and giving reasons helps develop memory and public speaking skills, all while participating in an industry based activity. However, regardless of if you are just starting or at the college level, they can be a tough task to complete and be successful at. This article will give you a better understanding of how to accomplish the experience and score you wish to achieve. 

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    Animal Care Webinar Summary: Ongoing Research on Public Perception

    On July 1st, Dr. Candace Croney, Director of Purdue University’s Center for Animal Welfare Science shared some survey findings on Public Perception and Communication of Animal Welfare from ongoing research at Purdue and elsewhere.

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    What’s New with BQA and DACQA

    Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) and Dairy Animal Care and Quality Assurance (DACQA) focus on best management practices that look at the day to day husbandry practices used in caring for cattle that provide beef for family’s tables across the United States and abroad. The National BQA program continually works with all sectors of the beef and dairy industries to improve the content, credibility, and the uniformity of standards for raising food animals to assure the quality of beef products.

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    Animal Care Webinar Summary: Pivotal Time in Animal Care

    On April 1st, Trent Loos, a sixth-generation farmer and agricultural radio show host, shared current examples of how consumer demand has influenced animal care practices in various food animal industries. Mr. Loos shared how animal care is being driven by economic principle of supply and demand; however, producing what the consumer demands may actually be hindering the supply chain.

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    Animal Well-being in South Dakota: Survey closes June 30th

    The SDSU Extension team is conducting a survey to investigate questions about the current level of care being offered to animals and the perceptions people have about animal well-being in South Dakota. The goal of the survey is to gain understanding about the current perceptions of animal well-being in South Dakota, with an emphasis on horses. As the study continues, additional information on other livestock species may be collected.

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    Animal Care Webinar Summary: Understanding “Public” Perception

    Sometimes it is challenging to understand the perceptions of people within our world when it comes to producing food for them to eat. On March 4th, Karen Cannon, UNL Assistant Professor of Agriculture and Environmental Science Communications, shared some insight that may help us in agriculture better understand public perceptions that revolve around food and raising livestock and why these perceptions may not be the same for those of us involved in agriculture.

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    Why Change the State 4-H Livestock Judging Contest

    In my role as Livestock Judging Team Coach as SDSU, I brought forth a proposed restructuring of the State 4-H Livestock Judging Contest which I firmly believe will translate to an experience our youth desperately need. On what do I base this belief? This fall will conclude a three-year stretch of livestock judging teams I have had the pleasure of coaching at South Dakota State University. During these years of rebuilding a program we have seen an increase in student GPAs and collegiate involvement and leadership.  Furthermore, we have had two, top 10 finishes at the North American Livestock Exposition – the national championship contest.

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    Making Sense of Welfare Labeling Options

    Many food labels bombard shoppers with various animal welfare claims in addition to the many labels of non-GMO or pasture raised. It is important for shoppers to understand what a label means when choosing products that promote animal welfare or specific care practices. However, it can be just as confusing for producers to make sense of all these options when determining new marketing opportunities for their cattle. A few of the top-recognized labels are discussed here. A brief outline of the husbandry practices that may require specific compliance is highlighted.

    Read More »

    2015 SDSU BBQ Bootcamps: Save the dates!

    The South Dakota State University Meat Science program is gearing up to host 5 BBQ Bootcamps across South Dakota this summer. These 2 hour 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 the meat lab manager in a fun and interactive setting.

    Read More »

    Shade Options for Open Lots

    Heat stress in cattle due to elevated temperature and humidity in the summer months is documented to reduce productivity in dairy cattle. In beef production the losses of production have been slight or imperceptible to most studies. However as stewards of our animals this article will provide you with some points to consider if you would like to develop shaded areas in pens to improve comfort and promote the highest production possible in your animals.

    Read More »

    Sweet Clover Poisoning

    There have been ideal growing conditions over the last two years for yellow sweet clover throughout western South Dakota and beyond. Not only is sweet clover forage production abundant, it can be very nutritious if managed properly. It is a legume, so like alfalfa and other clovers, it is high in protein. Additionally, unless it is allowed to get tall with heavy stems, it can be highly digestible and thus a good source of energy. However, potential for sweet clover poisoning is a problem that may need to be dealt with.

    Read More »

    Baleage May be the Best Alternative this Year

    At the end of April, many producers were concerned that drought conditions would persist and hay would be in short supply. Thankfully the tables turned and a large portion of the state began getting moisture, but now the continued precipitation in some areas brings its own challenges when it comes to haying season. With the frequent rain showers it is a challenge to get into hay fields and the subsequent high humidity is slowing down the drying process of the hay.

    Read More »

    Early Weaning Beef Calves

    In an earlier iGrow article, Dr. Elaine Grings discussed the impact of milk production on the nutrient requirements of cows and how early weaning can be used as a tool to match those requirements with the available forage supply. Early weaning works very effectively to add body condition on cows when forage is limiting. Although recent rains have relieved drought concerns for most of South Dakota, there still may be situations where early weaning fits.

    Read More »

    Jorgensen Land & Cattle Partnership Honored with 2015 Leopold Conservation Award

    The Leopold Conservation Award is a long-standing honor, recognizing family farms and ranches that have focused their efforts on providing food and fiber to the nation while enhancing the natural environment in which they live. The 2015 recipient is Jorgenson Land and Cattle Partnership near Winner, SD. They understand the responsibility they have to the environment, especially to the care of the soil.

    Read More »

    Feeding Sorghum Crops as Alternatives to Corn

    The combination of poor margins for row crops and the threat of continued dry conditions are prompting many producers to re-evaluate cropping plans. Crops like sorghum that require fewer inputs and use water more efficiently become much more attractive under those conditions. How well do these crops fit for livestock production? The exact answer depends on the class of livestock fed and feedstuff. There are two general options for sorghum crops for feed usage: grain and forage.

    Read More »

    Runoff Management Considerations for Pastures and Lots

    As of March 20, Spring is officially here. While the majority of snow may have melted in many areas, we hopefully still have spring rains in our midst! Spring rains mean runoff. Livestock yards and pastures depend on runoff to keep the animal and feeding areas dry and comfortable. However, the flow of water over the surface of a lot or pasture can pick up solid particles or dissolved nutrients and increase the risk of water pollution.

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    Online BQA Certification Training Modules: Free until April 15

    Boehringer Ingelheim Inc. is generously sponsoring the BQA online certification program allowing beef and dairy producers to complete the certification training for FREE until April 15th, 2015. This saves producers $25 to $50 on the online certification modules offered through the Kansas State Beef Cattle Institute.

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    2015 Bailey Herd Health Conference: Housing, facilities, and health

    Ever since livestock were first put underneath a roof, animals have been positively and sometimes negatively influenced by how that housing is managed. This year’s James Bailey Herd Health Conference for veterinarians, held in February at SDSU, highlighted a variety of perspectives on how veterinarians and producers can better operate their livestock facilities to improve animal health. 

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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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    Using the Diagnostic Lab in Summer Pneumonia Cases Part 2: Nasal swabs and other methods

    Pneumonia in pre-weaned calves is frustrating for cattle producers and veterinarians. In some cases, diagnostic testing can help veterinarians in guiding treatment and future preventive practices; it’s good for cattle producers to understand these methods. Lung tissue is a common post-mortem sample for the identification of specific pneumonia germs. But what about outbreaks where no calves have died? What samples, if any, might be useful from a diagnostic standpoint?

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    Using the Diagnostic Lab in Summer Pneumonia Cases Part 1: Reasons and Tissue Sampling

    Pneumonia in pre-weaned beef calves continues to vex cattle producers and veterinarians every summer. Because it occurs in well-vaccinated and managed herds as well as in minimally managed herds, and because of its unpredictable nature, summer pneumonia can be frustrating. Veterinarians have some tools at their disposal when it’s warranted to investigate these outbreaks more closely. It’s a good idea for cattle producers to know how some of those tools work and whether they make sense for their situation.

    Read More »

    Sweet Clover Poisoning

    There have been ideal growing conditions over the last two years for yellow sweet clover throughout western South Dakota and beyond. Not only is sweet clover forage production abundant, it can be very nutritious if managed properly. It is a legume, so like alfalfa and other clovers, it is high in protein. Additionally, unless it is allowed to get tall with heavy stems, it can be highly digestible and thus a good source of energy. However, potential for sweet clover poisoning is a problem that may need to be dealt with.

    Read More »

    Baleage May be the Best Alternative this Year

    At the end of April, many producers were concerned that drought conditions would persist and hay would be in short supply. Thankfully the tables turned and a large portion of the state began getting moisture, but now the continued precipitation in some areas brings its own challenges when it comes to haying season. With the frequent rain showers it is a challenge to get into hay fields and the subsequent high humidity is slowing down the drying process of the hay.

    Read More »

    Early Weaning Beef Calves

    In an earlier iGrow article, Dr. Elaine Grings discussed the impact of milk production on the nutrient requirements of cows and how early weaning can be used as a tool to match those requirements with the available forage supply. Early weaning works very effectively to add body condition on cows when forage is limiting. Although recent rains have relieved drought concerns for most of South Dakota, there still may be situations where early weaning fits.

    Read More »

    Milk Production Puts High Nutritional Demands on Beef Cows

    Is this year’s weaning date already on your calendar? Traditional fall weaning dates arise from a combination of declining forage supply and quantity, declining milk yield in the cow and having calves off the cow before winter weather sets in. These are all important considerations and ones that should be evaluated closely every year. Milk production is a major driver of cow nutrient needs and how well the forage supply is meeting those needs should be closely monitored.

    Read More »

    Supplemental Feeding on Pasture to Stretch Forage Supplies

    Available acres for summer grazing have been shrinking in recent years, particularly in areas where it is feasible to convert grass into cropland. The combination of fewer acres and strong cow-calf returns results in increased pasture costs, either for purchase or for rent. In some cases, feeding harvested feedstuffs is more economical than relying on pasture when full market rental rates are considered.

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    Low Lignin Alfalfa Field Visits

    Back in March we discussed the importance of reduced-lignin alfalfas and how they might benefit the farmer’s operation in South Dakota. Surprisingly, there are field plots that have been planted with this variety in Brookings, near South Dakota State University. From a distance, a field of low lignin alfalfa will look similar to a conventional alfalfa field. However, low lignin alfalfa will have more leaves, a dense canopy with higher concentrations of leaves in the lower part of the canopy.

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    Pinkeye: Early Detection & Action Recommended this Summer

    With warm weather approaching, thoughts of many cattlemen around this area have turned to pinkeye, one of the most common and economically damaging cattle diseases. Pinkeye, the common name for infectious bovine keratoconjunctivitis (IBK), is a contagious disease causing inflammation of the cornea and conjunctiva. If left untreated, severe damage to the eye may occur. Estimated losses each year are around $150 million due to lost weight gain, reduced milk production, treatment costs, and potential price discounts for affected animals.

    Read More »

    Jorgensen Land & Cattle Partnership Honored with 2015 Leopold Conservation Award

    The Leopold Conservation Award is a long-standing honor, recognizing family farms and ranches that have focused their efforts on providing food and fiber to the nation while enhancing the natural environment in which they live. The 2015 recipient is Jorgenson Land and Cattle Partnership near Winner, SD. They understand the responsibility they have to the environment, especially to the care of the soil.

    Read More »

    Summer Family Fun Destination Meal

    July is closing to an end and before we know it fall will be here. Be sure to soak up the warmth and spend additional time with your family before school and the busy fall season begins. When searching for quick weekday meals or planning for special occasions, BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com is a great resource to consider.

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    VFD Rule Finalized: Insights on changes in feed-grade antibiotic use

    Livestock producers and veterinarians recently gained a bit more insight into the changes they’ll be facing in the way antibiotics are used in food animals. Back in December 2013, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published “guidance for industry” documents that outlined, among other changes, how the Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) will become a critical component of food animal feed-grade antibiotic use.

    Read More »

    Jorgensen Land & Cattle Partnership Honored with 2015 Leopold Conservation Award

    The Leopold Conservation Award is a long-standing honor, recognizing family farms and ranches that have focused their efforts on providing food and fiber to the nation while enhancing the natural environment in which they live. The 2015 recipient is Jorgenson Land and Cattle Partnership near Winner, SD. They understand the responsibility they have to the environment, especially to the care of the soil.

    Read More »

    Father’s Day Grilling

    Father’s Day is just around the corner. From my past knowledge of Father’s Day, fathers typically want to just keep things simple, be with their family and enjoy doing things they love. Instead of finding that perfect gift, perhaps consider grilling a meal for your dad! Grilling is one of those no-fuss, outdoor cooking techniques that allows you to mingle and have fun while you cook – not to mention it can be a healthy option, too.

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    Taking Your Kitchen Outdoors During Grilling Season

    The grilling season is upon us. Grilling brings with it a heightened need to address safe food handling practices. Taking the kitchen out-of-doors creates increased risk for cross-contamination and unsafe storage temperatures. Refer to the various articles, publications and websites sharing grilling tips, safe food handling practices, recipes and more.

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    Making Sense of Welfare Labeling Options

    Many food labels bombard shoppers with various animal welfare claims in addition to the many labels of non-GMO or pasture raised. It is important for shoppers to understand what a label means when choosing products that promote animal welfare or specific care practices. However, it can be just as confusing for producers to make sense of all these options when determining new marketing opportunities for their cattle. A few of the top-recognized labels are discussed here. A brief outline of the husbandry practices that may require specific compliance is highlighted.

    Read More »

    Grilling Tips: Don’t Ruin Your Ribeye!

    Memorial Day is right around the corner, and for many, this holiday also marks the beginning of the grilling season. As steak is one of the most popular items to grill I thought it would be helpful to review research conducted by former SDSU Meat Scientist Duane Wulf entitled “Great steaks from your Gas Grill”. Researchers at SDSU tested various grilling parameters to determine their effects on tenderness, juiciness and flavor of seven different beef cuts.

    Read More »

    2015 SDSU BBQ Bootcamps: Save the dates!

    The South Dakota State University Meat Science program is gearing up to host 5 BBQ Bootcamps across South Dakota this summer. These 2 hour 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 the meat lab manager in a fun and interactive setting.

    Read More »

    May is Beef Month

    May is “Beef Month” in South Dakota. This tradition began more than 40 years ago and recognizes beef production as one of South Dakota’s largest economic sectors. Because they are so important to the state’s well-being, South Dakota cattlemen and women take great care in their production practices. Cattle producers are constantly finding ways to improve beef production and sustainability practices to help ensure a safe, wholesome and nutritious product now and well into the future.

    Read More »

    Sweet Clover Poisoning

    There have been ideal growing conditions over the last two years for yellow sweet clover throughout western South Dakota and beyond. Not only is sweet clover forage production abundant, it can be very nutritious if managed properly. It is a legume, so like alfalfa and other clovers, it is high in protein. Additionally, unless it is allowed to get tall with heavy stems, it can be highly digestible and thus a good source of energy. However, potential for sweet clover poisoning is a problem that may need to be dealt with.

    Read More »

    Jorgensen Land & Cattle Partnership Honored with 2015 Leopold Conservation Award

    The Leopold Conservation Award is a long-standing honor, recognizing family farms and ranches that have focused their efforts on providing food and fiber to the nation while enhancing the natural environment in which they live. The 2015 recipient is Jorgenson Land and Cattle Partnership near Winner, SD. They understand the responsibility they have to the environment, especially to the care of the soil.

    Read More »

    Adding Options with Annual Forages

    In many areas of South Dakota, the pasture acres are in short supply. The fact that at least so far in the growing season precipitation is below normal adds to those concerns. If those trends continue, finding additional feed resources will become a high priority for cow/calf producers. Annual forages are viable options to consider in addressing those needs. The two broad categories of annual forages are cool-season and warm-season forages.

    Read More »

    Feeding Sorghum Crops as Alternatives to Corn

    The combination of poor margins for row crops and the threat of continued dry conditions are prompting many producers to re-evaluate cropping plans. Crops like sorghum that require fewer inputs and use water more efficiently become much more attractive under those conditions. How well do these crops fit for livestock production? The exact answer depends on the class of livestock fed and feedstuff. There are two general options for sorghum crops for feed usage: grain and forage.

    Read More »

    Nitrate Quick Test Trainings

    Weather patterns could suggest that this might be a dry year like we had back in 2012. As such, this is the time that producers start to think about the risk of nitrates in feed supplies and how it will affect their livestock operations. It is well known that certain plants are nitrate accumulators and can contain toxic levels of nitrate when consumed by cattle and sheep.

    Read More »

    Grassland Considerations If Drought Persists

    The spring of 2015 has offered ranchers some stress relief in the form of what has been described by some as the ‘perfect’ calving season. However, one rancher was quick to follow his statement on the good calving weather by saying “if calving goes well, expect the pastures not to look so good”. There is a lot of truth to that statement as we know that April and May rains impact overall range and pasture production for the remainder of the growing season.

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    Noxious Weed Control

    Noxious Weed Control in pastures is becoming more of a challenge. Many commercial spray businesses are no longer spraying pastures, and if they are, there may be restrictions on the time and products they will spray, or they may only work with you if they also have the rest of your spraying business. However, it is still the law to control noxious weeds. Not being able to find a commercial applicator is not a valid reason to not control noxious weeds.

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    Spring Turn-Out Dates: What Are Your Options?

    It has been a very long winter and we are waiting impatiently for signs of spring to occur. There’s nothing like green grass to remind many of us how much we love the livestock business. In the midst of market highs and lows, droughts, blizzards, and floods, it is encouraging to remember how reliable the progression of seasons is. Every year at green up, grass managers must make decisions about when and where to begin grazing.

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    Grassland Fertilization | Part 1: Terminology & economics

    Grassland fertilization is a topic of much interest and debate among grassland managers of all walks. From livestock managers, to hay producers, ecologists, and fertilizer salesmen…opinions on the value of fertilization are not in short supply. What can be hard to find in popular media are fertilization effects in relation to ecology, economics, and long-term sustainability of grassland systems.

    Read More »

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