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. Here are some things you may want to consider.

The Illinois Performance Tested (IPT) Bull Sale was the lead-off event of the 2017 Illinois Beef Expo held on Feb. 23 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, Ill. The sale averaged $3,400 on 54 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 49 years, the sale has sold 4,717 bulls valued at over 8.4 million dollars."

As the temperatures and humidity elevate, it is important to understand and manage to prevent heat stress in your cattle herd. Heat stress can lower performance and in severe cases cause death. Here are some recommendations to keep heat stress at a minimum.

Management tips to reduce heat stress:

The first week of March is traditionally when many in central and northern Illinois are frost seeding clover. However, this year has brought a dry, mild winter and the grass as even started to green up. It feels like spring, and the plants feel it too.

The question has come up quite a bit in the last two weeks, "Is it too late to frost seed or overseed clover?" My reply is… it depends. I think it is important that farmers planning to over-seed in the coming weeks realize that there are some scenarios that will work, and other will not.

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.

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.

This post is authored by Kendi Sayre, intern at University of Illinois Orr Beef Research Center.

I have fielded several calls this week pertaining to best harvest methods and potential feed value of quickly maturing cereal rye. Here are a few questions and answers.

When is the ideal time to harvest cereal rye?

Late boot stage. Cereal rye matures quickly, thus the ideal time to harvest may be only a 1 week window. Many producers have started using triticale because of a longer harvest window.

What is the best harvest method?

Commercial cow-calf producers and seedstock breeders interested in purchasing a total performance tested bull will want to attend the 2017 Illinois Performance Tested Bull Sale. The sale will be the leadoff event of the Illinois Beef Expo. There are 67 bulls cataloged with 27 being longer-aged 2015 mature bulls and 40 yearlings. A breakdown of the breeds includes 42 Angus, 20 Simmental and SimAngus, and 5 Polled Hereford. The sale is scheduled for Thursday, February 23, at 11:00 a.m. and will be held in the Livestock Center on the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield.

Video discussion on this topic available here

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?

This post is authored by Kendi Sayre, University of Illinois Beef Extension intern.

When considering creep feeding your spring born calves, many factors will play a role in the decision. While it might always seem like a good idea to supplement calves to push them to heavier weaning weights, there are negatives as well. Depending on the milk production, pasture quality and quantity, and time of year creep feeding can be an advantage that allows for more profits.