Four months have passed since a large grass fire started along Interstate 90 between Wall and Cactus Flat, and was later named the Cottonwood Fire. With the combination of dry conditions, temperatures in the upper 80’s and a high wind warning that day, it was the recipe for a perfect storm. The fire burned over 41,000 acres within a matter of hours and was deemed the 5th largest fire on record in South Dakota history.
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.
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.
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.
Continued education is a valuable tool to help you with questions you may have, an opportunity to educate yourself on a new topic/issue or to challenge you to look at new parameters impacting the beef industry. As research has proven, leaders are those who are willing to learn, and continue to learn. As an active beef producer your schedule is busy and time constraints or conflicting schedules don’t always allow you to attend some of the face-to-face educational sessions you would like to.
With snow filling road ditches across the state this past month, preparing for calving season just got more difficult. Hopefully the barns are soon to be ready and you’re finding ways to stay warm between calf checks if you’ve started calving already. While calving season is undoubtedly a super busy time, it’s also important during this time to think ahead to spring and pay attention to first-calf heifer pairs so they remain healthy and are ready to breed back come spring.
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.
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.
As we continue with the series on ‘Agricultural Generational Communications’, we introduced you to a mock farm called “ABC Farm” consisting of senior generation, 71-yr-old (John) who started the farming business, his son (Tom) a 51-yr-old, farming alongside his dad for nearly 25 years, and grandson/son 24-year old (Brandon) who returned to the farm after completing college. This farm example will be used to provide tips on working across generations in agriculture.
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.