1. Published

    The wet spring has certainly provided favorable breeding conditions for flies. As we progress into the summer it is evident that fly pressure is and will be heavy.

    Although all flies do pose risk of irritation and thus lost dollars to beef producers, it is important to know there are four main types of flies that bother cattle: Stable fly, Horn fly, Face fly, and Horse fly.

  2. Published

    Are you short on hay? Are your pastures struggling and grazing days coming up short? Do you need an emergency forage if it turns dry this summer? If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, you may need to look into planting a summer annual forage.

  3. Published

    I recently attended a University of Illinois livestock and meats judging team reunion. Admittedly, when I received the invitation in the mail I thought to myself… I am way too busy to go. However, my team was to be highlighted on the program as the 10 year anniversary team. Thus, I put it on my calendar.

  4. Published

    Commercial cow-calf producers and seedstock breeders interested in purchasing a total performance tested bull will want to attend the 2019 Illinois Performance Tested Bull Sale. The sale will be the leadoff event of the Illinois Beef Expo. There are 59 bulls cataloged with 23 being longer-aged 2017 mature bulls and 36 yearlings. A breakdown of the breeds includes 31 Angus, 17 Simmental and SimAngus, and 11 Polled Hereford. The sale is scheduled for Thursday, February 21, at 11:00 a.m. and will be held in the Livestock Center on the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield.

  5. Published

    As livestock owners care for livestock in frigid temperatures, it is important to know where efforts are best spent. Cattle handle cold weather quite well as long as they have a dry, heavy winter hair coat. If you are curious what cold weather is for cows, I have written on that previously. You can find that information here.

    Here are a few strategies we can deploy immediately to help cattle in cold weather:

  6. Published

    Wet, cold weather continues to persist in Illinois. Naturally, these conditions create mud. Muddy conditions are rather difficult to navigate on the cattle farm. These conditions can be frustrating for the farmer and the cattle. Challenges associated with mud on the cattle farm need to be identified and evaluated to ensure the environment is not detrimental to animal health and performance.

    Challenges

  7. Published

    Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) is a national program that provides a continuing education opportunity for farmers and ranchers. BQA equips producers with production strategies and general skills to maintain and strengthen a quality, wholesome food supply.

  8. Published

    The best way to utilize cornstalks is to graze them. Cattle graze selectively, looking for the more palatable feedstuffs. The more palatable parts of the plant are also more nutritious. Cattle first eat the remaining corn grain, then husks, then leaves, and finally the stalk.

  9. Published

    Many cattle producers are still looking for economical forage to use as winter feed for beef cows. Cornstalks, bean-stubble, wheat straw, and CRP hay are a few of the low-quality forages that are being considered by farmers. Some areas that experienced drought conditions this summer had CRP (Conservation Reserve Program) acres released for haying. Thus, questions are coming in about CRP hay. CRP hay is not something cattle producers use annually and many may be unfamiliar with its characteristics. Thus, I will discuss my thoughts on CRP hay… The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

  10. Published

    BAYLIS, Ill. – The annual Orr Beef Research Center Field Day will take place at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 5. The meeting will be held at the John Wood Ag Center located on State Highway 104 in Baylis. Speakers from the University of Illinois will lead discussions that will address research, current topics, and situations producers are facing on-farm. A meal will be provided to those who take part in the discussions and tour.

  11. Published

    Limited hay supplies have cattle producers looking at opportunities to grow more forage yet this fall. An early maturing crop is going to open the door for use of row crop acres to grow more forage.

    Many producers have already identified the opportunity to put Oats, Cereal Rye, Turnips, or other forage crops in this fall. As a result, expect to see shortages in seed supplies, higher priced seed, and some delay if seed is not in stock. However, don't let this keep you from consulting your seed salesman. They will have options for you.

  12. Published

    Authored by Ashley Cooney, Intern, University of Illinois Orr Beef Research Farm.

  13. Published
    Authored by Ashley Cooney, Intern, University of Illinois Orr Beef Research Farm. At the Illinois Beef Association's Summer Conference, I had the chance to talk to producers and learn about how they operate their farms. One conversation with a producer stuck out to me and got me thinking. The producer's cow-calf operation had two calving seasons: fall and spring. My conversation with the producer led me to a comparison of the calving seasons and which one could be the most ideal.
  14. Published

    Beep! Ding! Buzz! The noises and alerts that come from a cell phone can absolutely dominate your day. Answering calls, emails, texts, social media alerts, and on and on… the happenings around you can come and go while you are still staring at your phone.

    While taking pasture samples a few weeks ago, I challenged myself to observe. I turned my phone to silent and left it in my pocket. I wanted to focus on the pasture conditions and the behavior of the cattle.

    Here are a few really simple observations I made when sampling pastures:

  15. Published

    Severely tight hay reserves will undoubtedly cause many farmers to aggressively put up hay this spring. When the weather is right and hay fields are mowed there will be many farmers looking over the fence at pastures as an opportunity to make more bales. While it is important to get hay reserves built back up on your farm, I would caution producers against baling pastures.

  16. Published

    Spring forgot to set the alarm clock! While we are waiting for Spring to wake up and replace this persistent winter weather with warm temperatures, many cattle owners are struggling to stretch an already short hay supply.

  17. Published

    The Illinois Performance Tested (IPT) Bull Sale was the lead-off event of the 2018 Illinois Beef Expo held on Feb. 22 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, Ill. The sale averaged $3,875 on 50 lots.


    "This sale continues to be one of the best sources for total performance genetics in the Midwest," said Travis Meteer, IPT sale manager. "During the past 50 years, the sale has sold 4,740 bulls valued at over 8.7 million dollars."

  18. Published

    Growing pressure from the consumer to further reduce use of antibiotics in livestock production is a hot topic. Many times in hot topic discussions, the obvious gets overlooked. I believe colostrum and managing cows to produce high quality colostrum is necessary no matter the production practice, but we should do a better job emphasizing colostrum in today's production climate.

  19. Published

    Grazing cornstalks is arguably the best cost-saving strategy Midwestern cattlemen can deploy. I wanted to share some frequently asked questions pertaining to grazing cornstalks.

    Q: How long can I graze cornstalks?

  20. Published

    Seedstock breeders in Illinois should be identifying bulls they plan to consign to the 2018 Illinois Performance Tested (IPT) Bull Sale. The IPT Bull Sale is the leadoff event for the annual Illinois Beef Expo. The sale is scheduled for Thursday, February 22nd at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield. The sale accepts older as well as younger bulls, with a birth date range from January 1, 2016 through March 2017.