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Advice And Tips

Browse our wealth of news and information for advice and tips on topics ranging from baby calf health to pasture and rangeland.

Cattle Feeding

Efficient use of feed resources

Efficient use of feed resources in beef production is important on several fronts. Feed costs represent the largest of the cost of production items, ranging from 50-60% of cow-calf costs to 70-80% of feedlot production costs. Beef cow record summaries have typically shown that herds with the lowest feed costs tend to be in the high third in profitability.


Costs and returns for Illinois beef producers in 2013

Total economic costs in 2013 for Illinois beef feeding enterprises exceeded total returns by $15.60 per 100 pounds of beef produced on beef feeding farms enrolled in Illinois Farm Business Farm Management (see Figure 1). The 2013 returns were higher than the 2012 returns, where total costs exceeded total returns by $21.24 per 100 pounds produced.

Cow Calf

Considerations for delayed calving to fall for open cows

Much of the focus for beef cattle reproduction programs is on breeding cows in a timely fashion and narrowing the range of the calving window. There’s no getting around the fact that excessive days open, and open cows at calving season, cause considerable financial losses for cow/calf operations. Narrowing the calving window reduces variation in calf age, thus helping to produce a more uniform calf crop at market time.


Summer stocker outlook for 2015

As we move towards warmer temperatures and spring grass growth, we approach the annual calf placement decision for many summer stocker operators. Calf prices have risen considerably in the last couple weeks, which is typical of the spring market.


Consumer Trends: Food safety faces an overhaul

Our food system is very safe compared to many other countries, but that doesn’t mean there’s no room for improvement. The 48 million Americans who get sick each year from what they eat would likely agree. More than 100,000 of them go to the hospital and 3,000 die, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Pasture and Rangeland

Managing for variation in forage production with trigger dates and stocking rates

Warm, dry conditions in the month of March have dried out the top soil in many parts of central and western Nebraska. While there is still adequate subsoil moisture in many locations, the pattern of above normal temperatures with below normal precipitation is concerning. In addition, below-average snowpack conditions are an ominous sign looking toward potential precipitation as spring continues.


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