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    The Ethics of Decision Making

    Leaders often make challenging decisions. In your leadership role, you agreed to take on the responsibility that comes with the role and your actions are constantly being viewed by others. How you choose to make decisions will impact the type of leader you are and how followers like employees, committee members or volunteers will respect you. Will they view you as a leader with integrity or not?

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    Cattle Handling Workshop Hosted at Rosebud Sioux Tribal Ranch

    March 16th was a beautiful day for the “Low Stress for Safety and Success” workshop hosted at the Rosebud Sioux Tribal Ranch. “We are grateful to the Rosebud Sioux Tribal Ranch for hosting us. We appreciate them allowing us to work with their cow herd and experience their handling facilities,” said Heidi Carroll, SDSU Extension Livestock Stewardship Associate.

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    Four Feedback Foes

    As a supervisor you should set time aside at least once a year, to conduct formal performance reviews for your employees. The value in doing so will definitely outweigh the time it will take out of your busy schedule to conduct this important management element. Annual reviews should be a productive time to have an open discussion with employees, share your thoughts about their work and performance progress, discuss their future with your farm/ranch or agri-business, and allow for focused discussion without distractions.

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    Five Tips on Time Management

    Have you ever heard anyone say they are not busy? I am guessing not. No matter how much technology we have at our finger tips or improved ways to complete an agricultural related task, you won’t find many people saying they don’t have their plate full or even over-flowing. Heavy workloads, and the feeling of being overwhelmed or stressed does not may our days very enjoyable. Is the reason for always seeming busy a time management issue? and learning some important tips to help your organize your time and help with focus.

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    Farm Animal Antibiotic Resistance and Stewardship

    During the February 1st Animal Care Wednesday Webinar, we heard one of the leading experts discuss the challenging social concerns of antibiotic resistance. Michael Apley, Frick Professor of Clinical Sciences with the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine, challenged listeners to better understand the difference between judicious use and stewardship of antibiotics by reviewing the many factors involved in epidemiology (study of incidence, distribution, and possible control of diseases).

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    Hands-on Cattle Handling Workshop: A recap from Beresford, SD

    The March 9th “Low Stress for Safety and Success” workshop near Beresford, SD was a full-day of presentations and hands-on activities. This workshop was hosted at the South Dakota Southeast Research Farm and The Opportunities Farm. “This workshop is the second of three producer workshops that was originally postponed from February 24th because of snow storms, so participants were thankful for fair weather and sunshine,” said Heidi Carroll, SDSU Extension Livestock Stewardship Associate.

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    Three ways to understand difficult people

    Managers and supervisors have many challenges to deal with daily in order to strive to help their company reach goals, be productive, and profitable. One of these challenges is dealing with difficult people. Their ability to lead difficult employees, which create an unproductive working environment and shift the employee into a high performing worker is an important skill for managers.

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    Four Steps to Clear Communication

    The greatest challenge with communication is remembering to do so! Busy times around farms, ranches and agri-business companies, lend us to often forget to actually communicate with those we work with. We think— I’ll just send a text and they will know what project I’m working on. A text can definitely provide an update, but when communication calls for a face-to-face discussion, how can one build an environment conducive to effective communication?

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    Agricultural Generational Communications: Part 3

    In my series of articles on ‘Agricultural Generational Communications’, focused around a mock farm, “ABC Farm” to illustrate generational issues, this article is going to focus deeper on communications. How many times have you heard someone say, “If only they would have communicated that point to me,” or “the main problem around here is communication, no one knows what is going on”, and “why does communication have to be so hard.”

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    Online Beef University: Beef up on beef

    Leaders are learners, always striving to learn more and not settling for the status quo. An excellent learning opportunity is now available for beef producers to learn more about the product they produce, or brush up on some of the production facts, beef labeling issues, beef inspection and grading along with the latest knowledge available to the beef industry. As a result you not only become more knowledgeable about the latest data and industry insights of beef production, but learning more about your product will enhance your ability to be a well-spoken beef industry advocate with the ability to inform consumers on their critical current questions and issues.

    Read More »

    Protecting Higher Cattle Prices

    In early 2017 cattle producers were frustrated by price levels below where fundamental indications suggested they could be. In recent weeks the cash and futures prices have moved higher, finally providing an opportunity for producers wanting solid price protection across different cattle sectors. It may also be a time for any hedgers that implemented protection strategies early in the year to revisit coverage and perhaps roll up to higher floor prices or lock in higher price levels available now.

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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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    Caring for Animals When the Power Goes Out

    The power outages experienced in areas of South Dakota might make animal caretakers wonder, “How did we ever raise livestock in the days before electricity?”  Electric lights, hot water heaters, and mechanical ventilation are all items that are taken for granted, except when weather events interrupt their supply of “juice.”

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    Year-End Review & 2017 Planning

    The holiday season and the end of 2016 are upon us. Many newsworthy things happened in the beef cattle industry in 2016 that affected everyone in the beef business. Some were good and some were not so good, but all affected the successes of beef cattle producers throughout the year. The end of a year of managing any business, including beef cattle production, provides an opportunity to assess and evaluate how well management plans and practices worked throughout the year.

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    Hammering Out the Details as the VFD Rule Approaches

    As the January 1, 2017 implementation date approaches, livestock producers, veterinarians, and feed distributors are gearing up to start complying with new rules regarding feed-grade antibiotics. Among some producers and veterinarians, a recent sentiment has been that the VFD rules are “changing,” leading to confusion. In reality, the VFD rules have not “changed” at all since becoming final. The rules as published, however, aren’t heavy on details. When different people interpret these details on the basis of a specific farm’s needs, different answers to the same questions can emerge, unfortunately creating more uncertainty.

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    Synchronization for Natural-Service Breeding Programs

    With 92% of beef operations in the United States utilizing solely natural service breeding in the cowherd, the use of reproductive technology is highly unutilized as many associate these programs with artificial insemination (AI). However, natural-service synchronization protocols can be utilized without AI if slightly different steps are implemented. Natural-service synchronization protocols differ in that less injections are utilized because we do not want estrus grouped so tight that bulls cannot cover all the cows.

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    The Cost of Late Calvers

    Pounds of beef sold is a key number for cattlemen. Late calvers the cows that drag out the calving season, may cost producers more than extra work and management, they may actually be costing dollars. Standardized Performance Analysis (SPA) has been around for decades. This tool helps determine what the actual costs to raise a calf from breeding to weaning. Many producers create a budget for marketing and financing purposes, but SPA calculates the real, final costs.

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    Protecting Higher Cattle Prices

    In early 2017 cattle producers were frustrated by price levels below where fundamental indications suggested they could be. In recent weeks the cash and futures prices have moved higher, finally providing an opportunity for producers wanting solid price protection across different cattle sectors. It may also be a time for any hedgers that implemented protection strategies early in the year to revisit coverage and perhaps roll up to higher floor prices or lock in higher price levels available now.

    Read More »

    Getting Cows in Synch

    Each year the Beef Reproductive Task Force reviews research and field use of bovine estrous synchronization protocols to determine a set of recommended synchronization protocols for beef producers that will result in the most optimal pregnancy rates. This list of protocols is then published for cows and heifers and is available at the Beef Reproductive Task Force webpage or in genetics company catalogs.

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    Mineral Nutrition in the Cow: Trace minerals and managing interactions

    Mineral nutrition is vital to overall cow performance. Without an appropriate balance of minerals, cows may not perform as expected or could exhibit detrimental effects. Minerals are divided into two groups based on the quantity of the mineral required by the cow: macrominerals and trace minerals (microminerals). The macrominerals are required as a percent of the diet, while the trace minerals are required in ppm (parts per million).

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    Alfalfa Winter Kill: What is next?

    This year lack of snow coverage along with up’s and down’s in temperatures have caused several issues with alfalfa stands in several locations in South Dakota. Where the damage has occurred, it is concentrated in areas of fields where ice sheets formed, water ponded, poor drainage, and not enough snow cover to insulate alfalfa against extreme temperatures. Late harvested stands that are three or more years old are showing more damage than younger ones’ under moderate management.

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    Tips for Feeding Poultry Wisely

    During the March 1st Animal Care Wednesday Webinar, we learned the basics of feeding poultry. Brett Kreifels, Extension Assistant-4-H with University of Nebraska-Lincoln, explained the nutritional requirements and basic feeding tips to help ensure the health and well-being of chickens.

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    Online Beef University: Beef up on beef

    Leaders are learners, always striving to learn more and not settling for the status quo. An excellent learning opportunity is now available for beef producers to learn more about the product they produce, or brush up on some of the production facts, beef labeling issues, beef inspection and grading along with the latest knowledge available to the beef industry. As a result you not only become more knowledgeable about the latest data and industry insights of beef production, but learning more about your product will enhance your ability to be a well-spoken beef industry advocate with the ability to inform consumers on their critical current questions and issues.

    Read More »

    Adding Value to Beef for Both the Producer and Consumer

    Getting more bang for your buck is always a goal in life. This holds true for both beef producers and consumers. Almost everyone likes a good steak, but good steaks are generally considered expensive. One way to lower the cost of a steak dinner is to find the “value added” cuts. Not only do these cuts stretch budgets farther, they also help the producer realize more value from the beef they raise. Steaks such as the flat iron, chuck eye, and the Denver cut are a great way to save money and still have an excellent eating experience.

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    U.S. Beef Trade: Who? What? Why?

    Beef producers and consumers often ask about beef trade, why we import and export? The simple answer is we are trying to receive the highest value for the product produced. The following facts might be helpful to understand the beef industry: the U.S. is the largest producer, largest consumer, fourth-largest exporter and the largest importer of beef in the world according to USDA/Foreign Agricultural Service.

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    Beyond the Plate: Using research to guide healthy lifestyle practices

    Our last South Dakota Beef Industry Council (SDBIC), “Beyond the Plate” article identified the importance of beef checkoff research like the Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet (BOLD) study and its impact on healthy lifestyle choices. Supportive research continues to build and expand on the national research through the recent completion of, “Let Them Eat Beef,” a recent study conducted by South Dakota State University’s Dr. Kendra Kattelmann.

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    Beyond the Plate: Research’s role

    Research is the basis of virtually every checkoff program, which therefore makes it very important you know the “why” behind it. Checkoff funded research projects completed to date have likely saved the industry more than once from possible ruin, often brought on by beef information previously based on assumption, rumor, propaganda, and non-scientific studies.

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    Adding Value to the Beef Carcass: Getting to know the value cuts

    A typical beef animal can produce a carcass that weighs between 700 and 900 pounds. Approximately 50% of that weight consists of the chuck (fore quarter or shoulder portion) and the round (hind quarter). Traditionally the chuck and round are fabricated into either 1) roasts that require slow, moist heat cookery, 2) steaks that require some type of tenderization to improve palatability or 3) trim for ground beef.

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    Beyond the Plate: Your Beef Checkoff’s role in creating a foundation for beef demand

    Beef. It’s what’s for dinner. You’re likely familiar with the slogan, because after more than two decades, it still resonates. The well-known words are part of the message the South Dakota Beef Industry Council (SDBIC) has worked for nearly 30 years to share with the goal to increase beef demand, and generate positive attitudes about beef while improving profit opportunities for beef producers.

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    Bring Beef to the Party!

    Tis the season for delicious cooking and while the parties are almost over, we have some ideas to help ensure you are well-equipped to bring the cheer to your New Year’s Eve party. Whether you have a date for a big bash or will ring in New Year a little more low-key with family and friends, when you arrive with a delicious beef appetizer recipe in hand, you’ll be sure to put the “happy” in “Happy New Year!”

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    Grassland Weed Control

    When controlling grassland weeds, the mindset of row crop weed control is put into practice too often. In most cases, broadcast control of weeds in grasslands is rarely necessary. Most often, spot or zone spraying can be used more effectively to manage the noxious and problematic weeds. What is zone spraying? Well, let us take a moment and consider this in a different context. For example, in basketball when a player is on defense, he is not chasing other players all over the court. Instead, he is defending a certain area and not the whole basketball court.

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    2017 June Beetle Update

    In South Dakota, true white grubs have steadily become a significant issue for rangeland and pasture. During the second and third year of their lifecycle, the white grub larvae feed on a large amount of root tissue and leave behind barren or brown circular patches in rangelands. The adults of the true white grub are commonly referred to as June beetles.

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    11th Annual Bird Tour: Highlighting Northwest S.D. Resources

    For over a decade the South Dakota Grassland Coalition has partnered with many organizations, including SDSU Extension, to bring the annual “Birds: At Home on the Range” birding tour to farms and ranches across South Dakota. This year, all are invited to attend the 11th annual tour to be held near Meadow, South Dakota at the Dan and Sharon Anderson Ranch on June 9th and 10th.

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    Towards a Better Understanding of the Bison

    During pre-colonial times there were no domestic cattle (beef or dairy) in North America. The largest ruminant present was the bison, stretching from the forests of today’s Alaska to Mexico. Once with an estimated population between 50-75 million head, the bison came to the verge of extinction in 1890, with just over 1,000 head left. In 1905 efforts led by then U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt and other individuals ended with the formation of the American Bison Society.

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    Summer Season Climate Outlook 2017

    The long-range outlook for the summer climate was released on Thursday, May 18. With the recent rains and transition to cooler temperatures, will this trend last for a while? The last couple of weeks of May are more likely to stay on the cooler side of average, according to NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. Rainfall is also projected to taper off this weekend, and South Dakota will turn drier again for the rest of the month.

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    Black Grass Bugs in South Dakota

    Black grass bugs are an occasional pest of grasslands in South Dakota. They are native to the Great Plains and typically occur in low numbers. However, black grass bug populations can build over time, especially in areas where wheatgrasses are dominant. Large populations of black grass bugs can cause considerable damage (up to 90% forage reduction) to range and pastures. Although we have not received any reports yet this year, it is important to be aware of black grass bugs and to monitor their populations each spring.

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    Promoting Dung Beetles on the Range

    In South Dakota, cattle production on rangelands is a very important industry. To support this industry, it is essential that our rangelands are well cared for. A key contributor of maintaining a healthy rangeland is the presence of a healthy insect community. This community consists of many beneficial insects including pollinators, predators, and decomposers. One of the most influential of these beneficial insects are the dung beetles.

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    Noxious Weed Control in Pasture and Range

    Noxious weed control in pastures is becoming more of a challenge. Most ground commercial spray businesses are no longer spraying pastures. If they are, there may be restrictions on the time they will spray, what products they will spray, or they may only spray if they also have all of the rest of your spraying business.

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    Grasshopper Problems: 2017 Potential

    There are several species of grasshoppers that can negatively affect rangeland conditions in South Dakota. Grasshoppers tend to be more serious than other rangeland insect pests, and they occur most frequently. Each summer, the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) conducts surveys throughout the Western counties to monitor grasshopper population densities. These surveys focus on collecting adult grasshoppers, and the data can be used as a prediction of areas where grasshoppers may be an issue during the following year.

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    Time to Revisit Drought Plans for the Ranch

    The South Dakota Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) recently released two maps highlighting the current grass production estimates and projected peak grass production estimates for South Dakota. These maps updated monthly by the NRCS indicate dry conditions spreading east into areas of North-Central and South-Central South Dakota. Ranchers in Central and Western South Dakota need to start re-visiting their drought management plans and making adjustments if needed.

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