Proceedings

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2012
Saturday, January 21st
12:00 AM

Applied Approaches to Cow Efficiency

Art Brownlee, JHL Ranch

12:00 AM

The JHL ranch is located in the Western Nebraska grass-covered sand dunes called the Nebraska Sandhills. The operation consists of approximately 28,000 intensely managed acres running between 1400 and 1500 late spring calving cows. Previous to 1999 it had been run with high growth continental cross cattle in 5-6,000 acre pastures. Since that time both the use of genetics and grass management have taken priority. The genetic direction has changed to recognize the value of marbling without giving up the other beneficial traits. The current genetics consist of a foundation type Angus base crossed with Braunvieh.

Current Economic Climate of the Beef Cattle Industry

Derrell S. Peel, Oklahoma State University

12:00 AM

2011 was, in many ways, a year of contrasts for the cattle industry. Regionally, extreme drought conditions in the Southern Plains were contrasted with excellent forage conditions in much of the northern half of the country. As a result of these climate extremes, herd expansion, that began in some northern states in 2010 and continued in 2011, was more than offset by the largest single year cattle liquidations from the states of Oklahoma and Texas. The result as another year of declining beef cow inventories in the U.S. despite record calf prices that provides considerable incentive to rebuild the U.S. beef cow herd.

Maintaining Competitiveness with Today’s High Grain Prices

Derrell S. Peel, Oklahoma State University

Ottumwa, IA

12:00 AM

The availability of cheap feed grain for many years influenced the structure of the beef cattle industry and the types of production systems used in very fundamental ways. These impacts are only just now being truly recognized as the industry struggles to adapt to an economic environment that appears to have fundamentally changed and the changes appear to be permanent. These changes begin as direct short run impacts on the feedlot sector but ultimately will have long impacts that will affect every aspect of cattle production.

Preparation Keys for Successful Bull Purchases by Commercial Cattlemen

Bob Weaber, Kansas State University

12:00 AM

As the winter and spring bull-buying season approach, seedstock purchasers should do their home work to help ensure the bull(s) they purchase this year meet their needs. Preparedness is the key to making an informed purchase. Before you crack open the sale catalogs of seedstock suppliers, there are few resources and skills you should possess.

Selecting for Efficiency

Nick Hammett, Circle A Angus Ranch

12:00 AM

Why is efficiency so important to the beef industry? "Efficiency impacts unit cost of production, thereby having the potential to increase beef's competitiveness in both the domestic and global marketplace, to improve industry profitability, and to enhance long-term sustainability of the industry." (Ritchie, 2001). In simple terms, from a producer’s standpoint, efficiency can make you more money by lowering costs, increasing returns, or both. But, only if measured, interpreted and implemented correctly

Strategies for Renewed Forage Production

Bruce Anderson, University of Nebraska–Lincoln

12:00 AM

Six dollar corn. Fourteen dollar beans. Bring out the plow and disk. Tear up the hay ground, pasture, and CRP. Let’s make some real money. Sound familiar? All across the Corn Belt, farm land previously devoted to forage production was rapidly converted to row crops to take advantage of attractive grain prices and potential profits.

Successful Forage Seeding Methods

Bruce Anderson, University of Nebraska–Lincoln

12:00 AM

Successful establishment of new pastures or hayfields begins with thoughtful selection of the forage species to be planted. Select sites that are likely to be productive, have access to livestock water, and can be fenced adequately. Sow crops the year prior to forage seeding that will permit control of problem weeds, but avoid use of herbicides that could result in carryover damage to new forage seedlings. Complete any major soil modifications well in advance of seeding.

Sustainable Production and Distribution of Bioenergy for the Central USA

Chad E. Hart, Iowa State University
Bob Wells, Iowa State University

12:00 AM

Global demand for energy continues to increase as the planet’s population grows past 7 billion and incomes rise, especially in developing countries. The increasing demand for energy has spurred many countries to explore alternative energy platforms. Over 50 countries throughout the world have active bioenergy programs. The U.S. has moved to the front of this activity as we have grown to become the largest producer of biofuels and as we alternate between the world’s largest importer and exporter of ethanol. In 2007, the federal government provided a blueprint for biofuel development over the next decade with the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS). Figure 1 shows the RFS and details targets for various types of renewable fuels. Looking forward over the next decade, the government is seeking significant expansion of cellulosic biofuels. The target for cellulosic biofuels expands from 250 million gallons in 2011 to 16 billion gallons in 2022.

Tips for Strategic Culling, Cow Body Condition Scoring and Replacement Selection

Bob Weaber, Kansas State University

12:00 AM

High supplemental feed costs, and in some areas persistent drought, should motivate producers to evaluate their feed resources and management plans heading into the fall and winter months. One major priority for many producers is evaluation of ways to minimize supplementation of cows with harvested feedstuffs, either hay, by-product feeds or coarse grains. One certain way to reduce the overall nutrient requirements of the herd is to cull out unproductive animals. As you begin processing cattle to wean calves consider spending a little extra time to identify ‘problem’ cows by evaluating them for pregnancy status, udder quality, and adequacy of teeth and feet structure.

Using Genetics to Get More Efficient

Bob Weaber, Kansas State University

12:00 AM

Improvement of the economic position of the farm or ranch is an ongoing process for many commercial cow-calf producers. Profitability may be enhanced by increasing the volume of production (i.e. the pounds of calves you market) and/or the value of products you sell (improving quality). The reduction of production costs, and thus breakeven prices, can also improve profitability. For commercial beef producers, the implementation of technologies and breeding systems that increase the quality and volume of production and/or reduce input costs is essential to maintain or improve the competitive position of the operation. Profitability is influenced by these factors concurrently. Efficiency is the proportion of outputs to inputs and is frequently used by beef producers. There are many different ‘efficiencies’ that affect beef production, especially at the cow-calf level. Some of these efficiencies are observed at the individual animal level and some observed at the system or herd level. The various efficiencies can be categorized into with measures of biological or economic efficiency. Improvement in individual animal efficiency, especially during the post-weaning growing or finishing phases, may or may-not improve efficiency at the herd or system level, and may have undesirable correlated response in traits of cows.