Extension Educator, Local Food Systems and Small Farms
Beef producers are certainly having a very difficult time right now. Feed has never been more expensive: corn prices are at an all time high and forages are almost non existent, which makes for extremely high prices. Couple that with the fact that cattle prices just aren't all that rosy and it makes for a difficult scenario.
But for those who can hold on until spring pastures green up, there will be opportunities. No doubt, the producers who can contain their feed cost will have an advantage. And to do that, many producers are going to have to turn up their management skills and be willing to try some new practices.
Some considerations would include: utilizing feed stuffs that they've never used before; managing their pastures through Management Intensive Grazing; growing forages following wheat; ammoniating wheat straw; using summer annuals in the crop rotation; and other practices can allow for a much more efficient feed cost. These are all proven practices that are underutilized by many beef producers. But they will be necessary if beef producers hope to be cost effective for the future. It's a totally new ball game with feed prices the way they are today. And not too many are expecting that scenario will change soon.
To help explain the effectiveness of these alternative practices, we've scheduled a Beef Management Program for Monday evening, Feb. 4th, in Timewell (eastern Brown County, just off Rt. 24), at the old school, from 6pm-9pm. There is no cost for the program.
Speakers will include Dean Oswald, U of I Extension; Monte Rowland, Ursa Farmers Coop; Scott Jones, Midwest Grass and Forage. Contact the U of I Adams/Brown Extension unit at 223-8380 for reservations.