With the frigid frostiness of winter seemingly in the rear view, we—and your cattle—can now rejoice that spring has finally arrived. No more drastic temperature changes from relatively warm to teeth chattering cold — we hope.
By Aaron Berger, University of Nebraska Lincoln Extension
Forage values in Nebraska for growing season grazing have seen significant increases over the last several years. Demand for grains encouraged many producers to convert tillable pasture land to crop land. In addition strong cattle prices have strengthened demand for summer grazing. Currently, crop prices have moderated while demand for summer forage has increased. This has created a scenario where many producers are considering planting annual forages on irrigated or dry land crop ground as a way to meet this forage demand.
She could be a commercial replacement heifer standing in a pen almost anywhere. But this one happens to be one of mine. There are many things to like about this spring 2014-born heifer. She has length, depth, muscle, adequate femininity and a polled head. Her phenotype would appeal to most cattle producers. Good base width and a wide top. She weighed-up well at weaning and is calm natured.
The month of May is traditionally the time when “spring round-ups” take place. This is the time that large and small cow/calf operations schedule the “working” of the calves. As the majority of the calves reach their second month of life, it is time to castrate the male calves and immunize all of the calves to protect them against blackleg.
By Bethany Johnston, Nebraska Extension Educator and Rick Funston, UNL Beef Reproductive Physiology Specialist
Synchronizing estrus in your beef herd can shorten your calving season, produce more uniform calf weights, and last but not least, provide the opportunity to use proven genetics through artificial insemination (AI). As cowherds rebuild, many producers are synchronizing heifers and replacing bull power with AI sires as bull prices increase.
Wall Street hopes the new crop of publicly traded eateries will replicate the success of Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc (CMG.N), which has grown to about 1,800 restaurants since its 2006 debut. With consumer spending showing signs of improvement and more diners keen on antibiotic-free meats and other healthy foods, now is a great time for restaurants in that niche, especially ones adept at building grass-roots buzz and loyalty, experts said.
Such extreme recommendations, therefore, present a critical point, a tipping point, if you will, for meat producers. Leaving lean meat off the recommended list is so radical that other parts of the same Advisory Committee report do not agree with it, recommending lower amounts of red meat in some places and including it in diet models in other places.
In a report required in the 2014 farm bill, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has said there is “no measurable benefit” to consumers as a result of the mandatory country-of-origin-labeling (COOL) law.
The beef industry stands alone in 2015 in its continued reduction in supplies available to consumers. The year of 2014 was a special year for the animal production industries with record high farm level prices for cattle, hogs, broilers, turkeys, milk and eggs. For 2015, a surprisingly fast expansion of poultry, pork and milk production will cause lower prices for those commodities. Beef stands alone in the continuation toward lower production, but prices remain uncertain.
The combination of poor margins for row crops and the threat of continued dry conditions are prompting many producers to re-evaluate cropping plans. Crops like sorghum that require fewer inputs and use water more efficiently become much more attractive under those conditions.