Dry conditions are causing Nebraska cattle producers to re-evaluate their operations:
• If the summer grass didn’t grow, can pairs be turned out on pasture?
• With wetter conditions, how should the herd be restocked?
• Weeds in the pasture have exploded. Is this normal or noxious?
University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension experts will address these and other topics during the annual Ranching for Profitability series in January at eight Nebraska locations: Stapleton, Thedford, Broken Bow, O’Neill, Ainsworth, Valentine, Overton and Kimball.
UNL specialists and educators will provide useful, research-backed information for producers who are still experiencing drought or wonder what to do in the next drought.
Attendees should register a week before each date at the local extension office, so planners can get a meal count. Cost is $15 per person. Program sponsors are Zoetis (formerly Pfizer Animal Health) and UNL Extension.
The flash drought of 2012, coupled with high feed prices, caused many producers to rethink summer grazing. Putting cows and pairs into feedlots with nutritional diets, yet limited intake, became an option.
UNL Extension Beef Specialists Rick Rasby and Karla Jenkins will share research results on confinement feeding and address feed costs involved with doing this under current market conditions.
With wet conditions after a drought, weedy species flourish in grasslands. Which weeds should be controlled and which are just a natural part of the pasture? UNL Extension Range Specialist Jerry Volesky will discuss management of weeds on rangeland and pasture.
Kate Brooks, UNL Extension ag economist, will discuss current market conditions and outlook for corn and cattle. Many herds were destocked during the drought, and Brooks will also address the economics of restocking options.
At Thedford, Jim Crandall with UNL Extension will lay out health insurance options for farmers and ranchers. The change in health care may provide opportunities for ranchers who buy individual insurance.
At Ainsworth, Extension Educator Dennis Bauer will discuss ways to balance an operation for protein.
The schedule and contact numbers for registration (all times are local):
• Jan. 6, O’Neill: Holt County Court House Annex Meeting Room, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; call 402-336-2760.
• Jan. 6, Ainsworth: Zion Lutheran Church, 5-9 p.m.; call 402-387-2213.
• Jan. 7, Thedford: Brahmer’s Steakhouse, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; call 308-645-2267.
• Jan. 7, Valentine: Peppermill Restaurant, 5-9 p.m.; call 402-376-1850.
• Jan. 13, Broken Bow: Broken Bow Country Club, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; call 308-872-6831.
• Jan. 13, Overton: Community Building, 5-9 p.m.; call 308-324-5501.
• Jan. 14, Stapleton: Logan County Fair Building, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; call 308-532-2683;
• Jan. 14, Kimball: Kimball Event Center, 5-9 p.m.; call 308-235-3122.