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    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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    Insight Into Agriculture Production in Australia

    Claire Andresen  was part of a group of 13 students who traveled to Australia to learn about their agricultural production systems for two weeks on a Faculty-led International Experience. The tour took them all along the eastern coast of Australia visiting cities such as Sydney, Canberra, Dalby, Armidale, and Toowoomba. They were able to see various segments of agriculture first-hand, but especially beef production including feedlots, seed stock producers, sale yards, and an abattoir.

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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.

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    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.

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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.

    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.

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    Silage Management

    This is the time of the year that we need to be thinking about how to manage and minimize corn silage shrink losses. Stored silage can provide quality feed to support many different livestock systems. Corn silage is a major ingredient in most dairy rations in the United States. Corn for silage should typically be harvested between 60-70% moisture to ensure good storage and fermentation.

    Read More »

    Minimizing Storage Losses in Hay

    Each harvest season brings concerns regarding storage options for hay. Indeed, producers need to find ways to prevent shrink losses in their bunkers and storage systems. Hay storage losses are around 5% when it is harvested at 15% moisture and stored under dry conditions. Stored forages provide essential nutrients for livestock when pastures are inadequate and are a consistent feed supply for dairies, sheep flocks, cow/calf producers, and beef feedlots. However, some of these nutrients can be lost if forages are not stored properly.

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    Selling vs. Backgrounding 2014 Calves

    So far 2014 has been one for the record books when it comes to the cattle market. Increased cattle values combined with less expensive feed have dramatically changed the outlook for cow/calf profitability compared to the last few years. These market place changes should trigger at least an examination of retained ownership plans. After all the net returns from selling calves at weaning will be some of the highest ever for most herds.

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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.

    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.

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    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 »

    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.

    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 »

    Silage Management

    This is the time of the year that we need to be thinking about how to manage and minimize corn silage shrink losses. Stored silage can provide quality feed to support many different livestock systems. Corn silage is a major ingredient in most dairy rations in the United States. Corn for silage should typically be harvested between 60-70% moisture to ensure good storage and fermentation.

    Read More »

    Using Ultrasound to Market and Manage Cows and Heifers

    The use of ultrasound in the beef industry is growing but the question remains, “How can it create more dollars in my pocket?” Traditionally open heifers and cows are sold after weaning when cull prices are at the seasonal low. At times, females are held over through the winter months until after calving. How economical is it to have an open cow or heifer running all winter when the average winter feed cost is $500/head?

    Read More »

    Minimizing Storage Losses in Hay

    Each harvest season brings concerns regarding storage options for hay. Indeed, producers need to find ways to prevent shrink losses in their bunkers and storage systems. Hay storage losses are around 5% when it is harvested at 15% moisture and stored under dry conditions. Stored forages provide essential nutrients for livestock when pastures are inadequate and are a consistent feed supply for dairies, sheep flocks, cow/calf producers, and beef feedlots. However, some of these nutrients can be lost if forages are not stored properly.

    Read More »

    Ergot: A potential poisoning problem for livestock

    Weather conditions this spring and summer in the region appear to have been favorable for a certain kind of poisoning that can affect cattle on pasture. Cool, damp spring weather followed by warmer temperatures favors grasses becoming infected with ergot bodies. These bodies appear as dark brown to black growths replacing the seed heads of grasses and grains. The growths vary from the size of a seed kernel to several times its size.

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    Using Cover Crops for Forage Supply and Dairy Production

    Grain producers are often looking for ways to increase revenues from their land. In the Upper Plains it might not be economical, or even practical, to plant another grain crop during the growing year; however, it may be in the producer’s interest to consider a cover crop. Cover crops provide multiple benefits to the producer and the environment.

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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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    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.

    Read More »

    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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    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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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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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.

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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.

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    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.

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    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.

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