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The Cattle Connection 2015

First-Calf Cows: High nutrient demand can slow breed-back

First-calf cows (3 year olds) are traditionally the most challenging animal to get bred on the farm. As we approach breeding season, cattlemen need to be aware of this challenge and make sure they do not drop the ball on getting first-calf cows re-bred. First-calf cows are dealing with a large...
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Simple 2-part cow rations for this winter

Depending on your farm set-up, available equipment, and your willingness to purchase diesel fuel, your least-cost ration may look very different than your neighbors. Availability and proximity to co-product feeds, such as corn gluten feed (CGF) and dried distillers grains (DGS) may also shift your...
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Inventory Stored Feeds Now

The dry fall weather has been optimal for farmers harvesting crops, however it has left pastures without needed moisture to grow fall forage. As a result, it is becoming glaringly evident that cattle producers need to inventory feeds and make sure they have the needed amounts of stored feed in case...
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What’s in store for cattle markets in 2015?

After experiencing the market trend upward seemingly every week of 2014, cattle producers should be prepared for a little more normal market pattern in 2015. With signs of expansion, it is likely the cowherd has stabilized numbers and will make an effort to climb the cow herd inventory. The climb...
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How much can I afford to pay for a bull?

A popular question this time of year is "How much can I afford to pay for a bull." My go-to answer is usually… "How much revenue loss would you have from a pasture full of open cows?" After all, we often de-value the role of the bull. We forget that he is a crucial part of the equation to making...
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Resource for understanding Unit Cost of Production

Cow/calf producers will forever remember the record profits of 2014. They may also vividly remember the "fall of the 2015 fall." Prices have quickly fallen off the last two weeks, this following a continual inching down during the months of July and August. This collapse in prices leaves many...
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Colostrum- The elixir of life

This post is authored by Dallas Duncan-Meteer, DVM, Mt. Sterling Veterinary Clinic.   Ensuring adequate colostrum intake is one of the single most important factors in producing healthy, profitable cattle. Calves are born essentially without antibodies to organisms that cause disease. Calves...
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Research Update: RyzUpSmartGrass

For the last 5 years Ed Ballard, retired Extension, and Gary Letterly, Extension Educator, have been looking at the yield impacts of applying RyzUpSmartGrass to forages in the spring. The product works similar to a nitrogen application, however this product is primarily gibberellic acid, a natural...
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Muddy Conditions Continue

While the moderate temperatures have been welcomed, the mud that has accompanied them has not. Farmers are ready for a good hard freeze. After all, many rely on frozen ground to help keep animals out of the mud while they are more confined for winter feeding. Most farmers will tell you, with a...
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Dealing with Prolapses

Post authored by Monica Jarboe, University of Illinois undergraduate student and summer research intern Around calving time, prolapses in cows and heifers can be major health issues. Some cases may even be life threatening. There are two different kinds of...
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Cornstalks to get the call-up

When a player gets injured and goes on the DL, the manager calls up a player from the minors. This year your hay crop likely got injured. So as the manager, you need to call-up the reserves… cornstalks. As an analyst (nutritionist), cornstalks will serve as a worthy replacement. But, don't expect...
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IPT Bull Sale is the Source for Total Performance Genetics

Commercial cow-calf producers and seedstock breeders interested in purchasing a total performance tested bull will want to attend the 2015 Illinois Performance Tested Bull Sale. The sale will be the leadoff event of the Illinois Beef Expo. There are 69 bulls cataloged with 15 being longer-aged 2013...
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Pastures are posing many challenges this year

I have had many discussions with cattle producers over the last couple of weeks about how to manage pastures in these wet conditions. We have also discussed the effect we are seeing on the cattle grazing these areas. It is hard to complain about too much rain, especially after a beautiful growing...
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Avoiding Acidosis

As farmers put together least-cost rations this winter, many of them will be using corn as an ingredient. For many farmers, corn stored on farm will be the cheapest source of energy. It has been a few years since corn has been this "cheap." Thus, it is worth reminding cattlemen of the dangers of...
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Tips for Calving Season

Calving season is either here or fast approaching for many Illinois cattlemen. I would just like to share a few tips that I have gathered through some of our winter meetings. Perhaps the most important tip is to have a good relationship with your local veterinarian. Sometimes the difficult...
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Is Early Weaning the Right Decision for You?

Early weaning (EW) is a management strategy that can alleviate grazing pressure on pastures. EW can be a management decision to keep from feeding cows to maintain body condition. Young, growing calves will more efficiently convert feed to pounds. Thus, money budgeted for feed may be more wisely...
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Pre-Calving Prep

There is nothing like a healthy new born calf to make your day. However, it is important to remember there are several factors that can influence the health and vigor of new born calves. With higher prices, losing a calf can add stress both mentally and financially to your operation. Here are some...
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Designing a Bud Box

It is often said "If you can work cattle together, you can do anything together." We have all had a stressful chuteside experience, but have you investigated ways to better handle your cattle? As you prepare to wean calves, preg-check cows, and give fall booster vaccinations, you should consider...
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