Growing Beef newsletter

Director Column

link opens in new window/tab note: pdf files open in new window/tab | click on headings for more information

Dan Loy, Iowa Beef Center director's monthly column featured in Cattleman Magazine. Archives

Dan Loy in The Cattleman Magazine


July 2021

Fair Time

More than one-half of Iowa’s county fairs occur in the month of July. Every fair is different but for most it is a celebration of our rural heritage. Among the features of almost every fair are steaks and burgers grilled by the county cattlemen’s association and youth take center stage through livestock shows. Last year many of the county fairs were canceled or modified significantly. Some “show and go” youth shows happened but the county fair experience was clearly not the same as years past. According to Mike Anderson, Iowa 4-H Livestock Program Specialist, this year there are 7,800 members enrolled in the 4-H beef project in Iowa with 12,078 cattle identified including market beef, breeding beef, cow-calf and bucket/bottle calves. Beef projects are a great way for Iowa youth to learn responsibility, hard work, stockmanship and business principles. The county fair is the place where these youth can show pride in their hard work and accomplishments. Many young people missed this opportunity last year. So even though you may not have been to a county fair in a while be sure to take one in this summer, walk through the barns and stop and ask a young person about their calf. You might be helping to shape a future leader of the beef industry as most of today’s leaders are former 4-H or FFA members.

Many of you need Beef Quality Assurance training and re-certification. Our team of educators have been working hard to meet this demand. The BQA program is in partnership with the Iowa Beef Industry Council, and a list of upcoming events can be found at their website. The BQA program helps assure a wholesome beef supply to consumers and is centered around ensuring food safety and animal care and comfort. Two animal comfort issues that need to be dealt with in the summer are heat and flies. If you need an update on managing these issues we have publications on both topics. "Fly Control in Ruminants" and "Heat Stress in Beef Cattle" are both free downloads from the ISU Extension Store. While you are there you might consider ordering the "Pasture Management Guide for Livestock Producers". This comprehensive 167-page resource is a valuable resource for any grazier’s library.

Be sure and look for local pasture and forage events this summer as well as cover crop grazing programs into the fall. As feed costs continue to challenge beef producers, extending the grazing season and improving pasture utilization through managed grazing systems becomes increasingly important.

This will be the 5th year for the ISU Feedlot Short course to be held August 3-5. This is a hands-on program that is limited to 30 participants. It has filled up each year so be sure and register soon. Check the Iowa Beef Center web site for the registration link and program details. Featured instructors include Drs. Robbi Pritchard and Dan Thomson. Topics include nutrition, feed mixing and bunk management, managing and identifying cattle health issues, hoof health, facility design and cattle handling and more.

Be sure to follow us on social media as our team continues to provide timely tips via our #CowTipTuesday and #FeedyardFriday videos. If you are not on social media these short but informative videos are archived on the video section of our web page.


The IBC at Iowa State University serves as the university’s extension program to cattle producers. Our center comprises a team of faculty and staff from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the College of Veterinary Medicine and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. We work together to develop and deliver the latest in research-based information to improve the profitability and vitality of Iowa’s beef industry. If you’d like to be notified of updates on progress of research projects or programs that might be coming to your area, please subscribe to our "Growing Beef" newsletter by following the link on our website, If you have a question, use our "Ask our Experts" link. Also, feel free to call us at 515-294-BEEF or email us at You can follow @iowabeefcenter on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. And be sure and listen to our newest venture - the Iowa Beef Center Podcast!