Improve Beef Cattle Management with ISU Extension and Outreach Publications

Publications tackle feedlot management, pasture management and herd health

AMES, Iowa – Raising beef cattle presents a myriad of challenges. In addition to field specialists and faculty who are experts in their field, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach has resources in place to help producers meet these challenges and manage healthy and profitable herds.

beef cattle in pasture“These publications, especially the newer ones, are designed around issues and challenges that are typical among producers,” said Dan Loy, director of the Iowa Beef Center and extension beef specialist with Iowa State University. “There are also options that are broader in their approach for producers who are looking to fine-tune their management to improve the efficiency of their cattle and reduce problems that can occur.”

ISU Extension and Outreach offers the BRaNDS software (BRANDS 500) to producers, who use this computer program to better evaluate rations for groups of differing weight and production stages.

“Producers have many things to think about when raising livestock,” said Dan Loy. “The most elemental consideration is daily care and feeding the animals. Producers must make sure they are comfortable every day, that they have access to clean water, food and adequate bedding in situations where it is required.”

Many of the publications listed here have no charge to download.

Publication “Feed Bunk Management” (IBCR 201A) is extremely useful in helping feedlot managers find the right mix of food for consistent and sustainable animal growth. “Growth Promotant Implants for Cattle” (IBC 113), “Beef Feedlot Systems Manual” (PM 1867) and “Small Open Beef Feedlots in Iowa” (PM 3018) are valuable resources as well.

An increase in efficiency can help producers increase their profit margins, sometimes by implementing small changes into their operation. “Pasture Management Guide for Livestock Producers” (PM 1713) is currently in the final stages of a renovation and will be released this spring. “Pasture and Grazing Arrangements for Beef Cattle” (IBC 119) and “Making the Switch to Baleage” (IBCR 202) are also helpful in managing a herd’s grazing.

An extensive list of publications is also available on keeping beef cattle healthy. These publications include:

“Understanding what causes disease can help prevent it,” Loy said. “The solution isn’t always in a vaccine bottle or antibiotic. Improved biosecurity efforts or attention to cleanliness and sanitation are important factors in keeping animals healthy.”

In addition to these publications, the Iowa Beef Center has reached an agreement with the Iowa Beef Industry Council to provide beef quality assurance certification as a part of its programming. This will allow the Iowa Beef Center to continue its goal of bringing animal health and wellbeing information to beef producers.

Photo by Erika Lundy