Handling Basics: Is time on your side?

Translating Time’s Impacts “This is the way we’ve always done it.” I need more than my fingers and toes to count how many times I’ve heard producers tell me this phrase. However, transportation and handling are not the times to maintain this mentality, especially when weather adds additional stress to the animals. Sources of stress […]

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Corn Silage Opportunities and Considerations for Fall 2013

Prepared by Bill Halfman, UW Extension Agriculture Agent The growing season has resulted in a wide range in the stage of maturity of this year’s corn crop. Some corn looks great and some was planted so late it may not form an ear before the frost.  Add in the varying amounts of drought stress in […]

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Prevent Injury When Working Cattle This Spring

Lots of cattle will be worked or  “chuted” this spring and several producers will be injured due being careless, working the cattle to rapidly, and having their mind “somewhere else.” Most injuries to producers that occur when working cattle include: being kicked, run over, stepped on, pinned against the fence, wall or being attacked by […]

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Updated Feeding Management Resouce for Backgrounders

Backgrounding cattle is often used to add value to homegrown lower quality feedstuffs, and to feeder calves, by using those feeds to add pounds to the feeder calves. Feed efficiency and feed costs are the two most important factors that impact cost of gain. North Dakota State Extension recently released a revised publication addressing Feeding […]

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Be on the Lookout for Aflatoxin Problems this Fall

The hot dry growing season was favorable for aspergillus mold in corn.  Aspergillus mold growth can lead to the presence of aflatoxin on the corn grain.  There have already been a few reports of problems from Iowa due to aflatoxins this fall.  Testing any suspect corn  is a good idea this year, especially when looking […]

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New Stocker Enterprise Budget Spreadsheet

The Wisconsin Beef Information Center has added another economic decision making tool for beef producers. The feedlot enterprise spreadsheet has been adapted for use by farmers backgrounding or grazing stocker cattle.

The worksheet will allow a farmer to calculate projections based one animal and performs a breakeven analysis. The worksheet includes options for cattle grazing, drylot or a combination of both during the growing period. This spreadsheet as well as other tools can be found on our Decision Tools and Software page.

For those who have additional questions regarding use of the tool, please contact your local UW Extension County agent.

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What is your marketing plan?

A marketing plan should answer the questions of what, when, how and where you plan to market your cattle. I like the first habit from Steven Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: begin with the end in mind. What is the end product you plan on producing? Is it a calf weaned on the way to market when some cash is needed? Is it a weaned, preconditioned calf to be sold in a special sale? Is it a backgrounded short or long yearling? Is it one or more registered animals to be sold to other registered breeders or commercial producers?

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Backgrounding cattle when the grass is not green in Wisconsin

Backgrounding feeder cattle typically includes taking light weight calves (350 to 550 pounds) and growing them to 700 to 900 pounds. The calves are then either sold as yearlings or transitioned onto a finishing diet. The feedstuffs used in backgrounding are lower cost materials that the farmer can add value to by marketing through the weight gained by the calf rather than as feed. Pasture is often used as the primary feed source for backgrounding during the summer and commonly referred to as grazing stocker calves. However, harvested feeds such as corn silage, hay, grain, and grain processing co-product feeds can also be successfully used to background calves in confinement operations. Targeted daily gains for backgrounding calves are usually between 1.5 and 2.5 pounds per day with the goal to add frame and muscle, but not fat (finish) to the calf. This fact sheet will address considerations for farmers who are considering backgrounding when pasture is not available.

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Decision-making tools for feeding cattle

As fall and harvest starts to wind down in Wisconsin, some farmers are starting to buy feeders to feed for the winter. This year, farmers are taking a more critical look at the economics of their feeding operation with strong feeder calf prices and high corn prices. The UW Extension Livestock Team has developed some helpful decision-making tools for this purpose.

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Implant Resources

The UW Livestock Team conducted Cattle Feeder Clinics the last two weeks around the state of Wisconsin. Producers had several questions regarding topics not covered in the sessions, and one of the most common topics was regarding implant strategies.

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