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Cattlemen's Day focuses on producers' challenges


Nebraska

This year, cattle producers will be faced with some tough decisions. The severe drought of 2012 has depleted pastures and feed inventories. The beef industry is ever changing, and drought management will be key in 2013.

The Cattlemen's Day on Feb. 15 at the Gudmundsen Sandhills Lab near Whitman will focus on the tough questions. Grazing during and after a drought, nutritional considerations of cows in a drought, challenges and opportunities of the beef industry, results of May calving systems, and a producer panel dealing with high input costs will provide insight for another dry year.

Jerry Voleksy, UNL Extension range specialist, will start the morning with considerations for grazing and forage for another dry year, or if the drought breaks. "Carryover grass (from 2011) supported 'fair' stocking rates in 2012 for many regions," said Volesky, "but most pastures have utilized all available forage." Reduced stocking rates, delayed turnout, or no turnout are considerations for the upcoming year. Seeding on cropland with annual forages may also produce much needed forage, but "seeding date and rates are critical." Don't wait until turnout, stressed Volesky. Planning for multiple scenarios should be done this winter to optimize pasture health.

If you are contemplating a May calving system, Rick Funston, UNL Extension beef specialist, will cover an array of considerations. The need for winter supplementation and effect on cow pregnancy rates and subsequent progeny effects, rate of gain of calves over winter and effect in a short or long yearling system, all the way through slaughter. The effects of over winter gain on heifer pregnancy rates, and just this year, effect of supplementation during the breeding season on heifer and first calf heifer pregnancy rates will also be discussed.

John Paterson, as a cattleman, well-known beef specialist with Montana State, and now the National Cattlemen's Beef Association's director for producer education, knows beef. The beef business is constantly changing and Paterson will talk about challenges and opportunities he sees for beef producers.

High feed costs will continue to plague producers in 2013. Aaron Stalker, UNL Extension beef specialist, will talk about cow's nutritional needs and considerations a drought situation could produce.

A producer panel will conclude with their strategies for dealing with high input costs.

There will also be an industry trade show. Contact Rick Funston at rfunston2@unl.edu or call 308-696-6703 for a booth (cost $50). Please pre-register for the sponsored meal, by Feb. 6 to the Central Sandhills Extension Office (800-657-2113 or 308-645-2267) or Ellen (eheil1@unl.edu) or 308-696-6701.

The Gudmundsen Sandhills Lab is located 3 miles north of Whitman, then 5 miles east. The Wagonhammer Building is the building to the east.

Date: 1/21/2013



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