Profitability in cattle feeding depends on more than just cattle prices and performance. It appears that controlling feed costs will play a major role in feedlot profits for 2020. Finding the most cost-effective energy and protein sources, and managing to reduce feed waste and losses is important. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach beef specialist Denise Schwab is coordinating a late summer conference that will address a variety of topics related to feedlot nutrition and management. The conference is set for Aug. 9, at Buzzy’s in Welton, from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

“The focus of this conference will be economical and efficient feed sourcing and handling,” Schwab said. “While early this year it appeared corn was going to be cheap and hay would be expensive and hard to source. Now corn price has become more volatile, but hay is still in tight supply. Will corn silage be our best forage source for 2020? We are excited to have Galen Erickson from University of Nebraska-Lincoln back to eastern Iowa to share their research results on corn silage in growing and finishing rations.”

Ruminant research on protein needs and utilization has increase our understanding of how protein is utilized in the rumen and post-ruminally. Dan Loy, Extension feedlot specialist and director of the Iowa Beef Center, will explain how protein functions in the rumen and why we need to better understand protein digestibililty.

Mineral requirements are always a question when working with cattle rations, Schwab said. Iowa State University is leading the country in mineral nutrition, and Elizabeth Messersmith and Katie Heiderscheit, graduate students in Stephanie Hansen’s lab, will share the current research on impacts of trace mineral nutrition on growth promotant performance, as well as future research.

“Bill Halfman from Wisconsin has developed a new spreadsheet tool to examine yardage costs. As profit margins narrow, we see more interest in custom feeding cattle, but most producers have never taken the time to determine what their true costs are,” Schwab said. “Bill will share this tool, as well as what they are seeing from Wisconsin producers who are using it.”

Following lunch, the focus will shift from nutrition to cattle management. Loy will share the results of a project on feeding high quality beef. Schwab will share highlights of the Secure Beef Supply project and what cattle feeders need to know in case of an infectious disease outbreak.

Co-sponsors of the clinic are Mitchell-Maskery Feeds at Maquoketa, Innovative Ag Services at Monticello and PMC Ag Services at Miles.

Preregistration is $15 when done by Aug. 7, and increases to $20 after that date. The fee is payable at the door. To register call 319-472-4739 or email

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