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Ag Decision Maker

Published by Ag Decision Maker









Best management practices for winter care of the cow herd aren’t always evident, especially when those unfamiliar with raising livestock see animals outdoors in open fields during cold, snowy weather without apparent access to shelter. A recent Iowa State University study was designed to evaluate whether the effects of winter grazing or confinement for winter care of beef cows in Iowa would have any impact on the physical condition of the cow or the calf born to the cow in spring.

Some financial relief is in sight for cattle producers following recent extreme weather conditions. USDA's Farm Service Agency announced it has updated its Livestock Indemnity Program payment rate to support livestock producers in the Midwest who have lost cattle to the high heat and humidity experienced this summer. ISU extension beef specialist Beth Doran explains.

Iowa is fortunate to have corn as a major cropping enterprise. That's why it's important to keep harvest management tips in mind, according to Iowa State University extension beef specialist Beth Doran.

Drones have been part of agriculture's tool box for years, especially in increasing efficiency and effectiveness for crop acres. A north Iowa field day will focus on how one farmer uses drone technology for pinpoint weed control in pasture land not easily accessible by other methods.

As forage resources dwindle in times of drought producers may need to consider early weaning options for the cow herd. Early weaning is designed to save body condition on the females by ending lactation and decreasing nutritional requirements. Terry Engelken of Veterinary Diagnostic & Production Animal Medicine at Iowa State University said early weaned calves may present health challenges.

Nearly half of all Iowa counties are now authorized for emergency haying or grazing use of Conservation Reserve Program acres for fiscal year 2023. The USDA-FSA made the announcement July 31, with emergency haying authorization ending Aug. 31 and emergency grazing ending Sept. 30, both this year – 2023, for 46 Iowa counties. CRP participants are eligible to seek approval for either emergency haying or emergency grazing, but cannot do both on the same acres. See more information, including additional detail, dates and requesting approval, on the FSA website.


News Archives


Denise Schwab in The Cattleman Magazine.

Denise Schwab, Iowa Beef Center director, writes this monthly column featured in Iowa Cattleman Magazine.

September 2023

As I start writing my first column for the Iowa Cattlemen, I think of the big shoes to fill as I embark as the interim director of the Iowa Beef Center. I’m sure you all know the role Dan Loy played in his 40 years as the ISU Beef Feedlot Specialist and director of the Beef Center. But prior to Dan, John Lawrence and Nolan Hartwig were the directors. Again, huge shoes to fill as I worked with and for both of those gentlemen and highly respected both.

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Iowa Cow-Calf Commentary

Iowa Beef Center and extension cow-calf specialist Randie Culbertson writes the "Iowa Cow-Calf Commentary" featured in the Iowa Cattleman Magazine.

September 2023

Adjusting weaning weights to put calves on an even playing field.

When selling calves at weaning, knowing their weight can be useful information to make marketing decisions. Beyond that, collecting weaning weights is key for measuring calf growth and dam milking ability, which can then be used to identify your best-performing cows in the herd. Suppose you would like to use weaning weights for replacement decisions. In that case, you must adjust those weights to establish a reasonable comparison. Several factors influence weaning weights, such as genetics, calf age, dam's milk, dam age, sex, pasture, and management.

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