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BeefTalk

BeefTalk: Why Push a Chain Up a Hill?

January 25, 2018 — The recent January thaw has helped cows into their generally relaxed routine in which they're essentially finding shelter, eating, drinking and returning to shelter. The slow days of late gestation are eminent. In another month, many cows will be calving. Producers have time now to

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BeefTalk: Shop Around; Cattle Eat More Than Hay

January 12, 2018 — Managing feed resources is the biggest challenge when winter weather changes daily, and so do cattle feed needs. This year's challenge for the beef manager is finding the balance among winter demands, feed inventory and cattle inventory. Because of last summer's dry weather, hay is

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BeefTalk: Keeping More Heifers Turned Out Well

January 4, 2018 — How do you cut cow numbers in half and maintain the same number of cows calving? That seems like a strange question, but the question surfaced as the Dickinson Research Extension Center (DREC) prepped for the current drought on this year's feed supply. The answer

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BeefTalk: Rolling Out Hay is Rolling Out Dollars

December 28, 2017 — As the year ends, reflecting on the past year is good. The obvious point this year is the lack of forage and how, as producers, one responded to the challenge. The Dickinson Research Extension Center needs more than 1,000 1,300-pound bales to make the stretch

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BeefTalk: Will the Hay Inventory Feed the Cows?

December 22, 2017 — Cow herd inventory is the working asset for beef producers, and maintaining that inventory is an important component of a successful beef operation. A walk through the Dickinson Research Extension Center calf pens checks the health and vigor of the calves. The challenge is keeping

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BeefTalk: Just When Does One Let the Calves Go?

December 14, 2017 — Hay is the staple for cow-calf producers. How much hay an operation needs to feed versus how much hay an operation feeds are two different numbers. So assuming cattle consume most of their feed needs from forage, let's figure. A pencil, pad of paper and

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BeefTalk: Use the Numbers When Bull Buying

December 8, 2017 — The future is now: the bull-buying season. The future is in the numbers. The future requires knowledge, so study hard. For me, bull-buying season means bull-buying workshops where I can meet with small groups of producers to look at numbers, the expected progeny differences (EPDs).

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BeefTalk: Reproductive Performance in Commercial Beef Herds is Remarkable

November 22, 2017 — Data from the Cow Herd Appraisal Performance Software (CHAPS), through the North Dakota State University Extension Service and North Dakota Beef Cattle Improvement Association (NDBCIA), illustrate that beef cattle reproduction is quite successful. Producers may experience occasional issues, but as a whole, today's cattle reproduce

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BeefTalk: Beef Growth Performance Continues to be Stable

November 16, 2017 — Beef cattle performance growth trends, as calculated through the Cow Herd Appraisal of Performance Software (CHAPS), are very stable. The North Dakota State University Extension Service and North Dakota Beef Cattle Improvement Association (NDBCIA) collect and analyze the CHAPS data to produce meaningful annual benchmarks.

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BeefTalk: The Challenge of Cow Size

November 2, 2017 — Size has been the common denominator in revenue generation for cow-calf, backgrounding and feedlot operators. The process of raising cattle has been quite steady, with a general acknowledgment that growth is key to success. That is a true statement because calf weight, the product of

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BeefTalk: Commercial Beef Production Benchmarks for 2017

October 26, 2017 — Fall is a good time to review the status of the beef operation. Although the quick-and-easy, seat-of-the-pants review is fun, the details are not there to supply the true facts and figures for proper evaluations. Actually, the focus point of the Cow-Calf Management class that

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BeefTalk: Long-term Cow-culling Rate, Replacement Rate and Cow Age

October 19, 2017 — Cow culling and heifer replacement are front and center in the fall as producers evaluate older cattle, structurally challenged cattle and cows that fail to reproduce. Moving cows to the market pen is fairly straightforward. Herd growth generally has been subtle, as gradual increases in

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BeefTalk: The World is Good, but Sometimes Saying That is Hard

October 5, 2017 — Sometimes, words are really difficult as events shake our foundation. Questions without answers abound. Words of hope and encouragement fall by the wayside. Our world simply stops. We stop, ponder and question. However, on the range or any place that maintains the living, the world

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BeefTalk: Age and Source Verification Revisited

September 28, 2017 — Ten years (as of November) have passed since the Dickinson Research Extension Center summarized research on tagging calves for improved market traceability, and the subject remains relevant today. In the last decade, trading beef was, and still is, a complex pattern of pathways that involves

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BeefTalk: Rain Makes Regrowth; Put Weight on Cows Now

September 21, 2017 — Commit this truism to memory: Feed is available for cattle. In fact, if we did not have cattle and sheep, acre upon acre of forage would be grossly underutilized. Even in dry years, forage is present. Sometimes we need to search, but still, forage is

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BeefTalk: Calves Pay the Bills, But the Cows Make the Bills

September 14, 2017 — Breeding systems have goals, objectives and outcomes that reflect a total beef operation. Today, dairy, swine and poultry breeding systems exist and many accomplish the operations' goals and objectives. Beef production, however, is often the exception. The various stages of a good commercial beef breeding

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BeefTalk: Time to Get Serious; Small Cows Produce

September 8, 2017 — The old question kept coming back: Would the extra calves really pencil out if the center stocked 1,100-pound cows instead of 1,400-pound cows? And then more questions: Would those small cows actually carry the load? Could they be competitive with mainstream beef production? Since the

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BeefTalk: Walking a Trail, Understanding Cow Math

August 31, 2017 — The search for efficient cows at the Dickinson Research Extension Center has resulted in "cow math," the translation of biological and economic efficiency into the herd production inventory based on land units. That is a lot to understand but doable. The beef industry has efficient

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BeefTalk: Seeking Efficient Beef Cows

August 24, 2017 — What do we know about efficiency within the beef cattle business? A lot. What do we know about understanding beef cattle efficiency? A little. How do we implement what we know and understand? Not sure. We have two very difficult issues when beef cattle efficiency

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Dawn Caldwell, Nebraska Beef Producer, Vice-Chair, Federation of State Beef Councils: Straight Talk

August 22, 2017 — I've spent a lot of hours in the skid loader piling cedar trees this week and it's given me a lot of time to think. The divisiveness in our country dominating the news is beyond saddening. We know from history that when people within a

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