News & Releases

 

June 2024

Heavy rains and ongoing flooding may mean big changes for producers. See our Flood Resources page for links to people, programs and information that can help. Also, the Iowa Concern website, toll-free phone at 1-800-447-1985, and live chat are available all hours, all days with help and referrals as needed.

With the first hay crop harvested, summertime for forage growers is in full swing. In addition to being the primary feed source for ruminants, forages bring many values to farms and surrounding communities. To celebrate the many benefits of the forage industry, the American Forage and Grassland Council will host the 10th annual National Forage Week June 16-22. Forages play many roles ecologically and economically, including capturing and recycling vital nutrients, enhancing soil fertility. They also help support diverse ecosystems by providing habitats for other plants and animal species.

Although dairy animals have traditionally made up about 20% of the beef supply, packer decisions in 2017 to stop purchasing fed dairy steers have led those producers to make different choices in their genetics and breeding decisions. Early semen selection approaches provided black-hided cattle but with conformation more closely matching straight-bred dairy cattle. With little direct connection between feedlots and dairy farms, it's difficult to obtain data from the common link: beef on dairy (BXD) calf raisers and ranches, and producers finishing BXD calves. An Iowa Beef Center-led study focused on this link with surveys of both groups in or near Iowa.

Cattle producers and consumers have a role in keeping the beef supply chain safe. Cattle producers need to be diligent in biosecurity. Consumers are responsible for proper handling and cooking. Implementing biosecurity and safe handling and cooking procedures are vital.

THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELED. STAY TUNED FOR POSSIBLE RESCHEDULING AT A LATER DATE. Closing out the calving season and getting crops in the ground are normal late spring/early summer activities for Iowa producers. Because it's always advantageous to actively consider potential improvements in fencing and pasture ground in slow seasons, Iowa Beef Center and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will host a fencing and grazing clinic in western Iowa this summer.

 

May 2024

Avian influenza (HPAI) has been confirmed in dairy cattle in nine states to date. Yet, so far, there are no confirmed positive herds in Iowa. Iowa State University extension beef veterinarian Grant Dewell said it is believed that the virus is transmitted from cow to cow during milking. As of now, beef cattle have not been identified with the disease, and this is most likely due to the mammary gland being the primary involved tissue.

The 2024 Update for Veterinarians program offers current information and education for large-animal and mixed-animal veterinarians with a focus on beef production. Organizer Chris Clark said practitioners who work with cattle will hear from Iowa State University experts on water and its impacts on diet formulation and health, Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in dairy cattle, and biosecurity strategy updates at the June 25 event. It will be held at the ISU McNay Memorial Research and Demonstration Farm near Chariton.

Mother Nature has created a new environment for northwest Iowa feedlot producers. Torrential rains have turned once-dry feedlots to mud, and accompanying hail may have bruised cattle. Iowa State University extension beef specialist Beth Doran said it's important to have a strategy and plan in place to deal with the issues facing producers.

Beef producers in northeast Iowa are encouraged to check their Beef Quality Assurance certification expiration date to be sure they can continue to sell their cattle. BQA is required for everyone who sells catle to Tyson Foods, Cargill, and Iowa Premium, as well as several other beef processors and some sale barns. Iowa State University Extension beef specialist Denise Schwab said seven BQA dates and locations are scheduled in the northeast Iowa area, and are for both initial certification and recertification. At the end of the meeting, all participants will become BQA certified.

It can be daunting to think about improving a grazing system for your farm, let alone starting one. Yet, Decorah-area producer Rob Jewell took on the challenge and, over time, has developed a managed system that continues to provide success – and challenges. What's his secret? Find out at a pasture walk on his farm.

 

April 2024

New this year, the annual McNay Memorial Research and Demonstration Farm field day will host demonstrations focusing on hay equipment, cattle working and feeding equipment. ISU extension beef specialist Chris Clark said adding this component to the June 6 event will assist in showcasing equipment options for hay producers, while the general session during the provided lunch features topics of forage selection, fertilization and harvesting. The event is free, with preregistration strongly encouraged.

After another year of dry growing conditions, many Iowa pastures are likely somewhat stressed and overgrazed. Iowa State University extension beef specialist Chris Clark said it's important for producers to be thoughtful and proactive in terms of pasture management, and the recording of a recent Iowa Beef Center webinar on pasture preparation and renovation now available online could help.

In the beef industry, consistency is key to, well, just about everything. From sire and AI choices to ration options to market opportunities, producers can add value at each production stage based on their decisions. Garrett Englin, cattle buyer for JBS USA, said consistency is key for packers, too. Speaking at the 2024 Feedlot Forum in northwest Iowa, he told attendees how a current trend is helping.

 

March 2024

The February Iowa Beef Center five-part feedlot webinar series is now available on YouTube. You can take advantage of these webinar recordings wherever you have internet access and some downtime. This series focused on hot topics and common questions fielded from Iowa feedlot producers, and provided timely, relevant, and practical information for those who operate and are involved in feedlots.

Many pastures and hayfields across the state continue to recover from the dry conditions experienced during 2023. Iowa State University extension field agronomist Rebecca Vittetoe said that while fertilization for perennial forages is often overlooked, it's just as vital as it is for row crops to maximize productivity.

After another year of dry growing conditions, many Iowa pastures are likely somewhat stressed and overgrazed. Have drought conditions and overgrazing left your pastures in rough shape? Join Iowa State University extension specialists on March 27 at noon for a free webinar to talk about the topic.  The program, organized by ISU extension beef specialist Chris Clark, will focus on discussion of strategies to meet your herd’s nutritional needs and optimize pasture productivity going into the 2024 growing season.

Have drought conditions and overgrazing left your pastures in rough shape? Join Iowa State University extension beef specialist Chris Clark at one of two in-person workshops, or join Clark and other ISU extension specialists at a webinar to talk about the topic, all scheduled for this month. Each session will focus on discussion of strategies to meet your herd’s nutritional needs and optimize pasture productivity going into the 2024 growing season.

 

February 2024

Are you in the market for a new pasture lease? ISU extension farm management specialist Charles Brown reminds producers that unlike crop land leases, pasture leases may be written for a shorter time period than March 1 to end of February. The process still requires that all leases to be terminated by serving a written termination notice at the end of the lease, or the tenant will have the lease for the following year under the same terms as the old lease.

As a college senior, Brad Kooima had no intention of doing anything after graduation other than returning to the farm and raising cattle. A required 10-hour per week internship would change all that.

Have drought conditions and overgrazing left your pastures in rough shape? Could you use a refresher on pasture management strategies? The March 4 session of All Things Beef might be just the ticket. Iowa State University extension beef specialist Chris Clark said this session will include information to help producers meet nutritional needs of their herds and optimize pasture productivity going into the 2024 growing season.

More than 20 years ago, a northwest Iowa county cattlemen's group worked with Iowa State University extension beef specialist Beth Doran to organize a feedlot-focused program. The area is home to the feedlot industry in Iowa with more than 950,000 head of cattle on feed in 17 northwestern counties. This local group wanted to bring relevant and timely information and education to themselves and their peers, and the now-annual Feedlot Forum was born.

All hay producers in the region are invited to attend the 39th annual Eastern Iowa Hay Producers Association Annual Meeting and Conference on March 14 at Buzzy’s bar and grill, 414 Main St., Welton. This year’s program will feature two new Iowa State University staff, Dr. Shelby Gruss, assistant professor in forage extension, and Madelynn Wuestenberg, ISU extension specialist.

Those needing BQA certification - either initial or renewal - may want to attend a free BQA session tomorrow, Saturday, Feb. 10, at the Iowa Beef Expo. Hosted by Certified Angus Beef (CAB) and Sysco, the event begins with a Certified Angus Beef® brand lunch at noon in the Penningroth Sale Arena on the Iowa State Fairgrounds, followed by the BQA session at 1 p.m. and a presentation from Travis Thomas of Upper Iowa Beef. Iowa State extension beef specialist Denise Schwab will lead the BQA training. Although the entire workshop is open to the public, registration is encouraged.

Whether you're new to beef production or perhaps a dairy producer considering adding or transitioning to cow-calf production, Iowa State University extension beef specialist Denise Schwab said the Beef Cow-Calf School for Beginners from University of Wisconsin--Madison is a good option for anyone wanting to learn more about the beef business.

Producers who need to renew or obtain their certification in Beef Quality Assurance can preregister now for an in-person training in Moville in northwestern Iowa. Offered by the Iowa Beef Center, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and the Iowa Beef Industry Council, the session Is set for Tuesday, Feb. 27, from 1 to 3 p.m.

 

January 2024

Just in time for some mid-winter learning, the Iowa Beef Center is hosting a five-part feedlot webinar series beginning Feb. 1. Iowa State University extension beef specialist Erika Lundy-Woolfolk is organizing the series that will be held every Thursday in February.

To help Iowa cattlemen and women prepare for a successful calving season and subsequent breeding period, Iowa Beef Center has rescheduled the two Advanced Calving Clinics for Feb. 26, according to Iowa State University extension beef specialist Denise Schwab. Session topics cover essentials from conception to calving, including nutrition basics during gestation and early lactation, assisting at calving, working with your local veterinarian, and baby calf health and care.

Don’t delay in preregistering for the 2024 Iowa Forage and Grassland Council annual conference. Set for Feb. 6, the event returns to Reiman Gardens, 1407 University Blvd., just to the southwest of Jack Trice Stadium. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. with a welcome and introductions at 10 a.m. Two presentations are on tap for the morning session, and lunch at noon is followed by the IFGC annual meeting. The two afternoon sessions run from 1 to 3 p.m.

Building a beef program around strong genetics is vital to future and continued profitability for producers, and that's no bull. To a person, members of an interactive bull stud panel at the recent Genetic Symposium stressed the importance of knowing what you want and how to best get it.

NOTE: THE 2024 FEEDLOT FORUM IN SIOUX CENTER IS BEING HELD AS SCHEDULED ON JAN. 16. The agenda features current feedlot topics including beef on dairy production, new implant regulations, the 2024 Farm Bill, market transparency, and beef industry expansion. An added bonus is the trade show featuring more than 20 industry-leading companies and organizations.

If pasture renovation is top of mind for you this winter, make plans to attend a session in Poweshiek County dedicated to that topic on Jan. 24. Iowa State University extension beef specialist Patrick Wall will lead the session, set to begin at noon with lunch and run through 2:30. Location is Meyer Seed, 5204 Hwy 63, Montezuma.

WEATHER RELATED ANNOUNCEMENT: Calving clinics originally scheduled for Jan. 15 in Maquoketa and Independence are tentatively postponed. Decisions on canceling or rescheduling will be made soon and updated here. What do all profitable cow-calf operations have in common? A live healthy calf crop is the key to profitability! To help Iowa cattlemen and women prepare for a successful calving season and subsequent breeding period, Iowa Beef Center is offering two Advanced Calving Clinics on January 15, 2024.

WEATHER RELATED DATE CHANGE: The next session of the All Things Beef workshop series originally set for Jan. 9 has post postponed until Feb. 5. Time for the calving refresher session remains at 6-7:30 p.m.Iowa State University extension beef specialist Chris Clark said this session offers info for cattle producers on what to look for and what to do during the process.

The 2024 Iowa Forage and Grassland Council annual conference is set for Feb. 6 in Ames. The event returns to Reiman Gardens, 1407 University Blvd., just to the southwest of Jack Trice Stadium. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. with a welcome and introductions at 10 a.m. Two presentations are on tap for the morning session, and lunch at noon is followed by the IFGC annual meeting. The two afternoon sessions run from 1 to 3 p.m. The conference is open to the public.

Southwest Iowa cattle producers, including 4-H and FFA members, are invited to attend a calving clinic Jan. 23 at St. Peters Catholic Church Parish Hall, in Defiance. In addition to classroom style learning, attendees also will have the opportunity for hands-on practice with delivering calves and dealing with dystocia cases utilizing a life-sized model cow and calf from the ISU College of Veterinary Medicine.

 

News releases |2024|