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


May 2022

May is Beef Month

This May we have much to celebrate in the beef industry. May marks the beginning of grilling season and beef demand has been strong. Many people taught themselves to be excellent home chefs during the COVID pandemic. A lot of pellet grills, hot pots and air fryers were purchased in the last couple of years. And now people are also now going out to restaurants in larger numbers. This is good news for demand for high quality steaks from Iowa-fed cattle. Beef exports continue to be on a record pace and margins continue to improve for beef producers.

We often hear that consumers are increasingly interested in knowing more about where their food comes from. Did you know recent checkoff research found that animal welfare is the primary concern of consumers? And, when consumers were informed about the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program, their positive perception of beef improved from approximate 50% to 70%. The team at IBC works with the Iowa Beef Industry Council to provide in-person BQA education and certification in Iowa. Go to the IBIC BQA website for a list of upcoming programs.

While beef and cattle prices are improving, the cost of production is increasing. Feed costs were already rising prior to the conflict in Ukraine. During times of high costs, it is important to place a premium on improving efficiency. In the feedlot that means taking advantage of technologies that improve efficiency, perhaps reducing days on feed and shoring up often overlooked losses in efficiency such as feed waste and shrink. For many cow herds, grazing management and extending the grazing season can reduce stored feed costs. For information on feed cost management check out the resources on the Iowa Beef Center web page or contact us. Your regional ISU Extension beef specialist or any of our staff here on the ISU campus are available to help. Call us at 515-294-2333 or email us at

Feed costs are not the only costs that have been rising. Fuel and fertilizer are key non-feed costs that increased significantly. We recently updated the Yardage-Diesel Relationship Calculator to help evaluate the impact of increased fuel prices on the necessary yardage charge. You can find it on the “calculators” page on the IBC website. Many producers are rethinking fertilizer rates for pastures and forages. Manure has become a valuable commodity. The Iowa Manure Management Action Group (IMMAG) has many great resources on manure management .

Unless you have been grazing spring cover crops, grazing season should begin this month. Our team hosts several pasture walks and grazing events throughout the summer and fall. This is a good way to pick up new ideas and see them in action. Look for another addition of the Fencing and Grazing Clinic to be held this summer as well. To stay abreast of upcoming programs in your area you can subscribe to our monthly electronic newsletter, Growing Beef. Just go to the IBC website and self-subscribe by clicking the Growing Beef icon.

Registration should be opening soon for the 6th Annual Feedlot Short Course to be held August 2-4. This program includes hands-on learning as well as classroom education. We feature nationally recognized speakers as well as ISU specialists. Be sure to register early. Enrollment is limited to 30 people and it has filled every year.


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 the “Ask our Experts” link on the website. Also, feel free to call us at 515-294-BEEF or email us at You can also follow @iowabeefcenter on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and now, AgFuse!