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The Cattle Connection

The cattlemen's connection to timely topics, current research, and profitable management strategies
commodity bay storage

Inventory Stored Feeds

Posted by Travis Meteer - Economics

Currently, low hay supplies and overstocked pastures are commonplace in the Midwest. Limited forage availability is still a challenge for cattlemen. As a result, it is vital for cattle producers to inventory feeds. An inventory of what is on-farm will help producers budget purchased feeds. Simply counting round bales, feet of silage bags, and carefully estimating remaining grazing days...

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Fly Control

Fly Control

Authored by Ashley Cooney, Intern, University of Illinois Orr Beef Research Farm. It's the middle of fly season and a good time to put a fly control program into place or to evaluate how effective your current fly control program is. Flies can cause up to $1 billion in revenue loss, so it is vital to have a good fly control program. The loss in revenue is caused when flies found on catt...

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Comparing Spring vs. Fall Calving

Authored by Ashley Cooney, Intern, University of Illinois Orr Beef Research Farm. At the Illinois Beef Association's Summer Conference, I had the chance to talk to producers and learn about how they operate their farms. One conversation with a producer stuck out to me and got me thinking. The producer's cow-calf operation had two calving seasons: fall and spring. My conve...

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The Power of Observation

Beep! Ding! Buzz! The noises and alerts that come from a cell phone can absolutely dominate your day. Answering calls, emails, texts, social media alerts, and on and on… the happenings around you can come and go while you are still staring at your phone. While taking pasture samples a few weeks ago, I challenged myself to observe. I turned my phone to silent and left it in my pocket. I...

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hay bale

Haying pastures likely not the cure for depleted forage supplies

Posted by Travis Meteer - Hay

Severely tight hay reserves will undoubtedly cause many farmers to aggressively put up hay this spring. When the weather is right and hay fields are mowed there will be many farmers looking over the fence at pastures as an opportunity to make more bales. While it is important to get hay reserves built back up on your farm, I would caution producers against baling pastures. Illinois is n...

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Q&A: Utilizing stunted cereal rye for forage?

Abnormally cool spring weather has not only slowed pasture growth, but also changed the growth curve of cereal rye. I have fielded several calls pertaining to best harvest methods and potential feed value of stunted cereal rye. One main point I immediately share with farmers is there is still feed value in the crop when harvested timely, but obviously yields will be lower due to this year's lon...

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Tips for getting cows bred

Focus on Getting Cows Bred Early in the Breeding Season

I was speaking at a meeting one evening and I was talking about how nutrition affects reproduction. I got to the portion of the talk discussing how post-partum interval affects cows getting bred in a 60 day season. I asked the members of the crowd to raise their hand if they maintained a 60-day calving season. Very few hands went up. One of the few was attached to a gentleman that spoke up and...

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