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Ag Decision Maker

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It’s time for a pasture walk in Lucas County and Andy Offenburger’s farm is the place. The event is set for Tuesday, June 21, beginning at 6 p.m., on the farm northeast of Chariton. Iowa State University extension beef specialist Chris Clark said the program will include information from ISU extension beef, agronomy and ag engineering specialists on a variety of topics.

Beef cattle transporters are receiving notice from major packers reminding them to renew their Beef Quality Assurance Transportation (BQAT) certificate. To help them renew or obtain new certification, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will offer BQAT trainings across northwest Iowa this summer.  Extension beef specialist Beth Doran is organizing these trainings.

One of the first Iowa State University Extension and Outreach pasture walks of 2022 is set for June 8. ISU Extension Union County is hosting the event at 1815 240th St, Shannon City, beginning at 6 p.m. The walk is for anyone interested in learning more about pasture management and cattle grazing, and features ISU extension specialists Chris Clark, Aaron Sauegling and Tim Christensen.

With the cool and wet spring in 2022, there haven’t been many opportunities to seed forages. Is it getting too late to plant forages? The short answer is that there is still some time to seed forages this spring. While the typical planting window is late February (frost seeding) through late April, planting forages in May can still be successful. For areas south of I-80, agronomists suggest seeding by the middle of May, whereas north of I-80 could get by seeding even a little later in May. For spring seeding tips, see this article on the ICM website.

It's time to start thinking about scouting for alfalfa weevil. Even with recent cool temperatures, overwintering alfalfa weevil adults have become active, made their way to alfalfa fields, and have likely begun laying eggs in stems. Alfalfa weevil is a cool-season pest and is able to survive less than ideal temperatures by moving under residue or near the crown. Adult alfalfa weevils become active and start laying eggs as soon as temperatures exceed 48°F. Alfalfa weevil egg hatching begins when 200-300 GDD (base 48°F) have accumulated since January 1. See more info and a GDD map in this ICM article.

Many Iowa producers are including winter annual forages as a cover crop to protect water quality and improve soil health. These forages also can help reduce feed costs and improve the health of spring calving cow herds. Iowa State University extension beef specialist Denise Schwab said three field days will be held this month in northeast Iowa as a part of the Forage Alternative Research Project demonstrating the use of winter annuals for spring grazing.

Current retail values of diesel fuel can be used as an index to estimate current and near-future yardage charges in maintaining livestock. Iowa Beef Center associate scientist Garland Dahlke said it’s important for producers to know their costs, especially in light of higher fuel prices. He recently updated the Iowa Beef Center’s Yardage-Diesel Fuel Relationship calculator to help producers determine cost estimates.

Body Condition Scoring (BCS) at calving is an important predictor of numerous important outcomes such as dystocia, calf vigor, quantity and quality of colostrum, postpartum intervals, return to estrus, and subsequent pregnancy. Very simply, BCS of 5-6 at calving time should be the goal. Chris Clark, Iowa State University extension beef specialist, said it is important for producers to analyze BCS at calving and other key times of the year.

The 6th International Symposium on Beef Cattle Welfare will be hosted as a series of webinars on the fourth Wednesday of each month from February through June 2022. The Symposium features research on a variety of beef production topics including development of new or enhanced methods/tools for animal welfare assessment, indoor production practices and cow-calf management. Iowa State faculty members Dan Loy and Terry Engelken are among the speakers for the first session on Feb. 23. Sessions run form 1 to 3 p.m. Central Time. No cost to attend. See more info and registration link.


News Archives


Dan Loy in The Cattleman Magazine

Dan Loy, Iowa Beef Center director, writes this monthly column featured in Iowa 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.

Read the rest of this column.

Iowa Cow-Calf Commentary

Iowa Beef Center and extension specialists write the "Iowa Cow-Calf Commentary" featured in the Iowa Cattleman Magazine.

May 2022

Getting New Bulls Ready

It’s no secret that Iowa has some great seedstock operations. However, even bulls purchased from the most experienced breeders need your personal evaluation upon delivery and before getting turned out into the breeding pasture.

Read the rest of this column.