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Beef Cattle

Details matter when artificially inseminating beef cows

As breeding season for spring-calving cows’ approaches, now is a good time to refresh on semen handling practices. Often, semen handling gets overlooked as we focus on estrus detection, synchronization, and semen placement. However, proper handling is just as important and cannot be overlooked....
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Watching your cows

Observation and reflection seem to be a lost art in a world dominated by phone screens, data sets, and short attention spans. I challenge you to observe and reflect when watching cows graze. Below are just a few of many observations that I have made when watching cows graze in the spring/summer...
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Person paying attention to cattle feeding at a feed trough in a feedlot.

Cattle handling reminders

Isn’t it fun to watch people that are good at handling cattle? I love it. We all aspire to be better stockman and handling animals correctly is a big part of that goal. Investing time in animal handling skills improves quality of life, safety, health, and performance… for both animal and human....
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A person standing to think while staring at a far off herd of cattle in a pasture.

Planning your cattle journey

I have been traveling recently. I hop in the truck, load the navigation app, and off I go. Within seconds, I know exactly how to get to my destination and how long it will take. If I get off course, the app tells me how to get back on track. Finding your way in the cattle business would be easier...
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Group of cattle standing around cement waterer and shade in a pasture lot

Four pasture management tips

Here are four tips for better managing pastures. Rest Keeps Roots Resting plants allows them to recover leaf tissue without robbing the root base. Continuous grazing will result in animals overgrazing as they will continue to graze down the most palatable plants. Overgrazing...
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Small group of black and white Simmental cows grazing in cornstalks.

Can I graze cows on cornstalks?

Grazing cornstalks is arguably the best cost-saving strategy Midwestern cattlemen can deploy. The cost of grazing cornstalks is low; first because the cows graze and harvest their own feed and second, because all costs to produce the plant for grain production are attributed to the row-crop...
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Cow with mouth open from heat

Managing heat stress in cattle

Heat stress is a multifaceted issue that poses significant challenges to beef cattle producers, impacting animal welfare, health, and profitability. Understanding the complexities of heat stress and implementing advanced mitigation strategies becomes crucial. Causes of Heat Stress in Beef...
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Sign at Dixon Springs Ag Center displaying the U.S. Forest Service and University of Illinois branding

2023 Dixon Springs Beef Day

Dixon Springs Ag Center to Host Beef Day Illinois Extension and the University of Illinois Department of Animal Sciences are pleased to announce the annual Beef Field Day at Dixon Springs Agricultural Center will be on Tuesday, August 1, 2023. The program will feature Dr. Nevil Speer from...
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Hereford cow grazing near calf laying in a pasture.

Tips for pasture management

Feed costs represent the greatest percentage of total costs for cow/calf producers. Thus, focusing on opportunities to reduce feed costs will lend to the greatest cost control for cow/calf operators. Improving management of permanent pastures is crucial to profitability. Increasing land costs,...
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two pregnant red angus cows in a field

Planning and managing to avoid dystocia

Dystocia, meaning “difficult birth,” often results in the loss of a calf or complications after birth of a live calf. Some examples of complications after a difficult birth can include aspiration pneumonia, joint damage, nerve damage, and hypoxia. Another big problem can be failure of passive...
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Cows eating hay on snow covered ground

Factors influencing cow nutrient requirements

Drought, elevated feed prices, and overall inflation of costs continue to put financial pressure on cow/calf producers. For these same reasons, cow liquidation has occurred and many economists are forecasting better cattle prices ahead. Thus, cow/calf operators likely have profit opportunity in the...
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Cow and calf in fall season

Breeding tips for fall-calving cows

For fall calving herds, breeding season is upon us. Successful reproduction is the forefront of a cow/calf operation and heavily impacts an operations profitability. Investing time and resources into ensuring breeding season success will prove to be profitable. Fall calving operations share...
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cow in snow covered field

Managing winter feed costs

Approximately 60% of a beef cattle producers’ expenses are due to feed costs. Keep feed costs in check while keeping cows in an appropriate body condition score is a key strategy in enhancing an operation's profitability. Especially over winter months, feed costs can pile up. Consider the...
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farmer looking at cull cows

Getting the most out of cull cows

As with all markets, there is fluctuation in the price of cull cows. In general, market lows occur during times of highest supply. Since most Illinois producers cull cows in the fall after weaning, the prices in fall are typically lower than other times of the year. Price is also affected by body...
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cows grazing cornstalks

Common questions about cornstalk grazing

Grazing cornstalks is arguably the best cost-saving strategy Midwestern cattlemen can deploy. Here are some common questions pertaining to utilizing cornstalks. Q: How long can I graze cornstalks? A: This depends on stocking rate and available dry matter. At 150 bushels an acre,...
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Fly Control for Beef Cattle

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...
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