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    The Importance of Feed Testing

    Optimal growing conditions across much of South Dakota this summer have resulted in large quantities of forage being produced. However, quality can vary greatly among and even within fields. Conducting a nutritional laboratory analysis on hay and/or silage samples is the best way for producers to evaluate the nutrient content of their feedstuffs. This information, in combination with the nutrient requirements of the animals being fed, is a cost-effective way to determine economical and practical winter feeding programs.

    Read More »

    Buying Late Bred Cows and Their Potential for Additional Revenue

    Record high cattle prices have led to questions about additional revenue-generating options in the market. This has led some producers to wonder if there is potential for additional revenue. One of the possibilities for creating extra revenue is to buy bred cows this fall and sell both the cow and calf. The main factor for producers to consider when looking at this option is what comparative advantages they have.

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    Waters of the U.S. Update

    The rule defining “Waters of the U.S.” under the Clean Water Act (CWA) that has been proposed by the Environmental Protection agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has a comment period that will end Nov 14th 2014. This has been a controversial topic since the comment period started on April 24th 2014. Some of the main topics of debate have been jurisdiction over ditches, agricultural impacts from fertilizer and pesticide application, and jurisdiction over “other waters”.

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    Why Take Advantage of Online BQA Certification Training?

    Harvest will soon be in full swing throughout South Dakota. Many cattlemen and dairymen will find themselves with little time to think or do anything else except get the crops out of the fields before the weather gets colder. They may want to consider nevertheless a FREE BQA online certification program generously sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica Inc. taking place during September and October 2014.

    Read More »

    Record Calf Prices: Wise Use of a Big Check

    Calf prices are setting records this year and now that you have sold; you are looking at a substantial increase in spending money. A major decision that needs to be made is whether or not profits should be used for personal use or to reinvest that money back into your operation. If you choose to spend some or all of your new found fortune on yourself and your family here are some smart ways to make the money work for you.

    Read More »

    Calf Value Discovery Program Provides Needed Feedback to Cattle Producers

    Weaning is fast approaching and cattle prices are good. With the current prices, many producers may want to sell calves at weaning, which is understandable especially if there are financial obligations. However, if a cattle producer sells their calves at weaning, most often they lose track of how those calves perform in the feedlot and on the rail.

    Read More »

    beefSD Tour: Hoop Beef Systems

    The beefSD Class 2 participants recently completed a bus tour that had stops in Eastern South Dakota, Iowa, Illinois and Minnesota. The group had the opportunity to tour multiple production systems and learn more about the marketing components of the beef industry on a global scale. A series of articles will summarize a portion of the stops and the value to the beef industry.

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    The Importance of Feed Testing

    Optimal growing conditions across much of South Dakota this summer have resulted in large quantities of forage being produced. However, quality can vary greatly among and even within fields. Conducting a nutritional laboratory analysis on hay and/or silage samples is the best way for producers to evaluate the nutrient content of their feedstuffs. This information, in combination with the nutrient requirements of the animals being fed, is a cost-effective way to determine economical and practical winter feeding programs.

    Read More »

    Utilizing Reduced-Fat Distillers Grains in Beef Feedlot Rations

    By now, most beef producers are familiar with corn distillers grains. This byproduct of the ethanol industry has found its way into all corners of the cattle-feeding world; from the cow/calf operation to the feedlot. Presently, some ethanol plants are using techniques to recover fat during the manufacturing process. This procedure decreases fat content of the byproduct from the typical range of 11 – 13% to as low as 4 – 5% on a dry matter basis .

    Read More »

    Replacing Hay With Corn-Based Feeds in Winter Cow Diets

    The drop in corn prices in recent months represents a tremendous change in the feed cost environment for cattle producers. Corn and corn-derived feeds such as distiller’s grains and silage are much lower in price compared to recent history. 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.

    Read More »

    Moldy Corn and Corn Silages Q&A

    We have been starting to receive some reports of corn having some mold and along with some stalk rot in certain areas of the state due to the cool and wetter growing conditions this past year. This has been especially true if there are maturity issues or storm damage followed by cool and wet conditions. It might be helpful then to answer some common asked questions.

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    Learning How Calves Perform Post Weaning

    Deciding how to market calves following weaning is based on several factors including current prices. The three general management options following weaning are: 1) sell at weaning, 2) background the calf or 3) retain ownership. Presently, prices are good for calves, which would tend to favor selling at weaning. At the same time grain prices and cost of gain are lower this year, which tends to encourage retained ownership making the post weaning management decision more difficult for some producers.

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    Why Take Advantage of Online BQA Certification Training?

    Harvest will soon be in full swing throughout South Dakota. Many cattlemen and dairymen will find themselves with little time to think or do anything else except get the crops out of the fields before the weather gets colder. They may want to consider nevertheless a FREE BQA online certification program generously sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica Inc. taking place during September and October 2014.

    Read More »

    Grazing Calves on Cornstalks

    Grazing cows on corn stalks is a long-standing, common practice to reduce feed costs. Grazing calves or yearlings on corn stalks is much less commonly done, but does represent an opportunity to produce inexpensive gains. Corn stalks are often thought of as low-quality roughage suitable only for cows. However, when cattle are given an opportunity to selectively graze stalks, the diet they select is surprisingly high quality.

    Read More »

    Record Calf Prices: Wise Use of a Big Check

    Calf prices are setting records this year and now that you have sold; you are looking at a substantial increase in spending money. A major decision that needs to be made is whether or not profits should be used for personal use or to reinvest that money back into your operation. If you choose to spend some or all of your new found fortune on yourself and your family here are some smart ways to make the money work for you.

    Read More »

    Calf Value Discovery Program Provides Needed Feedback to Cattle Producers

    Weaning is fast approaching and cattle prices are good. With the current prices, many producers may want to sell calves at weaning, which is understandable especially if there are financial obligations. However, if a cattle producer sells their calves at weaning, most often they lose track of how those calves perform in the feedlot and on the rail.

    Read More »

    Corn Silage Harvest Moisture and Management

    Producers have started harvesting corn for silage, and here are some tips that could help to get the best out of this crop. Corn for silage should typically be harvested between 60-70% moisture. This moisture range is the most ideal for optimum fermentation and a rapid drop in pH to preserve the feed value of the crop.

    Read More »

    The Importance of Feed Testing

    Optimal growing conditions across much of South Dakota this summer have resulted in large quantities of forage being produced. However, quality can vary greatly among and even within fields. Conducting a nutritional laboratory analysis on hay and/or silage samples is the best way for producers to evaluate the nutrient content of their feedstuffs. This information, in combination with the nutrient requirements of the animals being fed, is a cost-effective way to determine economical and practical winter feeding programs.

    Read More »

    Things to Consider When Determining Whether to Retain Heifer Calves or Purchase Bred Heifers

    With the current economic conditions in the cattle industry, ranchers may want to take a second look at their plan for herd replacements. Current prices will have some people re-thinking decisions to retain heifers and decide to sell them and capitalize on the exceptional prices instead. Below are some things to consider when evaluating the options.

    Read More »

    Replacing Hay With Corn-Based Feeds in Winter Cow Diets

    The drop in corn prices in recent months represents a tremendous change in the feed cost environment for cattle producers. Corn and corn-derived feeds such as distiller’s grains and silage are much lower in price compared to recent history. 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.

    Read More »

    Heifer Selection: It’s Not Just About Phenotype

    If you are like many in the cattle business, it is enjoyable setting ringside at any cattle show and becoming awed by the physical beauty of the cattle paraded in front of the scrutinizing eye of the judge. Some are almost flawless in design, fit to perfection and exhibited by someone with great showmanship skill and finesse. However, degree of condition, length and quality of hair coat and even a unique color pattern can obscure the true production qualities of this model phenotype.

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    Reduce Feed Cost by Grazing Corn Stalks

    Producers looking for options to reduce feed costs may consider grazing corn stalks. Feed, which comprises over 50% of the annual production costs, is the largest expense of a cow/calf operation. Harvested feeds are usually blamed for the biggest portion; however, with shrinking pasture acres and rising pasture rental rates, summer grazing costs can also be significant. Grazing corn stalks is one option to reduce the total annual feed costs.

    Read More »

    Why Take Advantage of Online BQA Certification Training?

    Harvest will soon be in full swing throughout South Dakota. Many cattlemen and dairymen will find themselves with little time to think or do anything else except get the crops out of the fields before the weather gets colder. They may want to consider nevertheless a FREE BQA online certification program generously sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica Inc. taking place during September and October 2014.

    Read More »

    Governor’s Habitat Work Group Report: A Positive for South Dakota’s Grasslands

    On Wednesday, September 10th 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 »

    Feedstuff Inventory: Quality and Quantity

    Summer has brought cooler temperatures to our growing season, and with this in mind we need to start thinking about feedstuff inventory both in terms of quality and quantity. Hay inventories for the upcoming winter feeding could fall a bit short in some areas across the state, while other areas have an abundant quantity, but may not have the quality.

    Read More »

    Challenges of Employee Turnover: Product quality and consistency

    High employee turnover can lead to inconsistent animal production or potentially lower quality products, both meat and milk. How is this possible? Is it because cattle get accustomed to routines and the people who perform tasks in their home environment? Familiarity does minimize stress, which promotes good health and production.

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    Beef-Up Your Athletic Performance

    The sports season for South Dakota schools is in full swing! Student athletes, who participate in competitive sports, strive to be at their peak performance level. To reach this level, remember the importance of protein in the diet. If you think of your body as a machine, then muscles are the major moving parts that help sustain you during training and competitive events.

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    A Question of Handler Personality Type

    Have you ever wondered why cattle may work great for one individual and then completely blow up when a different individual works them? Low-stress cattle handling provides performance and health benefits, minimizes carcass losses due to bruising or dark cutters, and minimizes injuries to handlers and cattle.

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    Summer Fun and Balanced Beef Meals

    The first week in August incorporates two of my favorite things, National Farmers’ Market Week and National Exercise with Your Child Week. What a great time to get outside, be physically active and take advantage of the abundant fresh fruits and vegetables! One of the best things about this time of the year is visiting the local markets and being able to purchase the freshest, in-season produce.

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    Protocols on the Dairy Farm for Beef Quality

    Demonstrating quality animal care practices, assuring food safety, quality and value, as well as enhancing consumer confidence in the milk and beef products that are produced from dairy cattle are the building blocks of quality assurance programs like Dairy Animal Care and Quality Assurance (DACQA) and Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (F.A.R.M.).

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    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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    Minimizing Storage Loss on Hay

    Feed costs are a large part of livestock producer’s expenditures. Hay is one of many feeding options producers in South Dakota use. The alternative of either growing or buying quality hay is important to producers as well. Adequate hay storage therefore is critical so producers can minimize the loss in both value and nutrients of their hay.

    Read More »

    Governor’s Habitat Work Group Report: A Positive for South Dakota’s Grasslands

    On Wednesday, September 10th 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 »

    Controlling Curlycup Gumweed (Grindelia squarrosa)

    An erect plant growing to between one and three feet, curlycup gumweed (gumweed) is easy to notice in the pastures from July to September, its flowering period. The plant branches at the top with each branch producing an individual bright yellow flower of about one inch diameter (Figure 1). Gumweed is found on rangelands, pastures, disturbed sites and in ditches all through South Dakota.

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    Allan Savory’s Message For South Dakota’s Grasslands

    On September 10th and 11th, SDSU and the SD Grassland Coalition hosted Allan Savory for two days of grassland related teaching, seminars, and a field day. Savory is globally recognized as an advocate for improving systems health through grassland conservation and biodiversity enhancement using livestock. In the lead up to these events, there was much discussion about the pros and cons of inviting someone who’s message has a history of creating dissention and disagreement in the scientific community and among various ranks of grassland advocates.

    Read More »

    Grazing Calves on Cornstalks

    Grazing cows on corn stalks is a long-standing, common practice to reduce feed costs. Grazing calves or yearlings on corn stalks is much less commonly done, but does represent an opportunity to produce inexpensive gains. Corn stalks are often thought of as low-quality roughage suitable only for cows. However, when cattle are given an opportunity to selectively graze stalks, the diet they select is surprisingly high quality.

    Read More »

    Target Noxious Weeds This Fall

    If they have not been treated yet, now is the time to spray those perennial weeds we battle every year. Fall is an excellent time to treat Canada thistle, leafy spurge, and other noxious weeds around the farm and home. Fall control of annual weeds like crabgrass, foxtail, knotweed or purslane is unnecessary and wasteful. These weeds only live for one summer, and naturally die in fall so control is unnecessary.

    Read More »

    Improving Range & Pasture Production: Consider a Fall pasture weed inventory

    Fall is a good time to assess your range and pasture condition as we go into the winter season. This is especially important when it comes to your weed management strategies. Identifying the weeds of concern can take place in the fall and control plans for the next growing season can be determined. A good weed inventory in the fall will tell ranchers what the predominant weed species are in the pasture.

    Read More »

    SDSU WEEDS Group at the Fair

    The SDSU WEED project will be at the fair to answer your questions again. This year the feature will be the amaranth “pigweed” species. There is a lot of confusion on what species we have in the state and how we can control them. This is your one stop location to get your questions answered by the experts.

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    Grazing After the Growing Season

    Providing feed for the cowherd represents the largest expenditure in a cow-calf operation and winter feed is the single largest expense in most operations. In light of this season’s favorable growth, what management strategies could be employed to reduce winter feed expenses with a view to improve profitability? Grazing is generally the least expensive way to harvest available feed, so the opportunity to expand the harvest of this year’s abundant supply is worth considering.

    Read More »

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