2023 Driftless Region Beef Conference

The driftless region is unique.
Adopt beef production practices that fit where you live.

Nearly 2.5 million cattle in four Midwest states. The driftless region in these states contain rolling hills, streams and karst soil topography. Since soil and water conservation is best accomplished when much of this land is seeded for forage and livestock consumes those forages, the 11th Annual Driftless Region Beef Conference will focus on efficient and economic forage and beef production. This conference brings together beef producers for an educational program that focuses on production needs and timely topics and includes Extension specialists in Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin.


The program

Select from 8 different workshop topics to develop a customized program. Visit with the many conference sponsors in the display area and learn about products and services they offer. Visit with fellow beef producers from the region. This is an informative and enjoyable event you won't want to miss.

January 26

  • Updating the carbon market landscape: Sarah will present the latest information about agricultural carbon markets for livestock and crop farmers. The presentation will give some background about agricultural carbon markets, discuss the economics of carbon markets, and provide some information about current enrollment rates and opportunities. Sarah Sellars, graduate research assistant, Agricultural and Consumer Economics, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Savoy, IL
  • Building a direct meat sales business: Lillie Beringer, Beringer Family Farms, Cascade, IA
  • Cows, covers and no till cropping systems: How returning beef cattle and cover crops to row crop acres can benefit both in a no till system. Jack Smith, fifth generation farmer, Epworth, IA
  • Animal handling impacts on performance and efficienciesDr. Dan Thomson, professor, Animal Science, Iowa State University, Ames, IA
  • Feeding systems into the future: Feed costs have reached record levels. The cost price squeeze has reached all sectors of the beef cattle industry. This presentation will look at ways to manage increased feed costs. Dr. Dan Loy, University Professor and director, Iowa Beef Center, Iowa State University, Ames, IA
  • Changes in animal health regulations – OTC & implant changes in 2023: Dr. Dan Thomson, professor, Animal Science, Iowa State University, Ames, IA
  • Bull pen discussion: W. Travis Meteer, beef extension educator, University of Illinois, Baylis, IL


January 27

  • Checkoff funded research drives value to driftless region producers: Casey Anderson, director of industry relations, Iowa Beef Industry Council, Ames, IA; Tammy Vaasan, executive director, Wisconsin Beef Council
  • Drylot cow demonstrations: W. Travis Meteer, beef extension educator, University of Illinois, Baylis, IL
  • Turning corn into beef: Dr. Smith is wrapping up a multi-state project comparing various forms of corn for cattle feed. He will share the results and discuss the components of corn form for feedlot performance. Dr. Zachary Smith, assistant professor, Animal Sciences, South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD
  • Annual forages to fill the grazing gap: Incorporating annual forages into a cattle operation can extend the grazing season and fill the summer slump of perennial cool season pastures. Annual forages are high in feed value, reduce soil erosion, increase soil water infiltration and improve soil health. This breakout session will discuss the advantages, forage potential and economic cost of annual forages for grazing and feed. Denise Schwab, extension beef field specialist, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Vinton, IA
  • Confinement mobility & mat studiesDr. Josh McCann, assistant professor, Animal Sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL
  • Impacts of poor nutrition during late gestation on the cow-calf system: Nutrient restriction resulted in pregnant females losing body weight and condition during late gestation while calf birth weight is sometimes affected. Even when dams were fed to meet their nutrient requirements during lactation, milk yield and calf growth were reduced by late gestational nutrient restriction. Colby Redifer, graduate research assistant, Animal Sciences, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO
  • Dairy on beef performance and biometrics: This presentation will give an update on research projects at UW investigating the use biometric measurements and 3-D camera imagery at young ages to predict phenotype at market time. Bill Halfman, extension beef outreach specialist, University of Wisconsin Extension, Sparta, WI; Alyssa Seitz, graduate research assistant, Animal Nutrition and Meat Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI
  • 7 & 7 Synch: A synchronization option for your herd?: The 7 & 7 Synch protocol and similar protocols involving presynchronization afford a greater degree of control over the bovine estrous cycle, offering improved results among cows receiving fixed-time artificial insemination or embryo transfer. The fundamental physiology involved in these presynchronization approaches will be presented, along with results of large- scale field trials evaluating pregnancy results in commercial herds. Dr. Jordan Thomas, assistant professor, Animal Sciences and state cow-calf extension specialist, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO
  • Hairy heel wart: Dr. Dörte Döpfer, professor, Food Animal Production Medicine, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madision, WI
  • Market outlook: Dr. Derrell Peel, Breedlove Professor of Agribusiness, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK

The early registration fee is $85 per person and must be received prior to midnight, Jan. 13. The price increases to $115 after that date. More information on topics, speakers and lodging is available at www.aep.iastate.edu/beef. Online and mail registration forms are available on the conference website.

The Driftless Region Beef Conference is sponsored by ISU Extension and Outreach, University of Illinois Extension, and University of Wisconsin Extension. For more information or to receive a brochure, contact Denise Schwab, beef specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach, at 319-472-4739.