At press time, a wide swath of cattle country was holding its collective breath in anticipation of what Mother Nature would or would not bring this spring.

Among the most critical areas is the cattle and corn-growing powerhouse of Nebraska. In light of the dry conditions and tight feed situation, nutritionist Kenneth Eng told me in early March that one auction owner in Fremont, NE, reported that he was girding himself for a potential influx of cows in the next 30 days.

Nebraska is an area rich in crop residue. Up to 70% of the state’s corn crop gets some irrigation, but only 25% of the available cornstalks are grazed after harvest. Terry Klopfenstein, University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) professor of ruminant nutrition, thinks he might have a potential answer to short feed supplies and cow-calf production for some Nebraska producers.

“I could perceive a system in Nebraska with cows calving in the feedlot in June or July, a turn-out on cornstalks in October, natural breeding on cornstalks, with the calves left on the cows, and then weaned in February or March when the pairs come off of cornstalks. We would then just drylot the cows until the following October,” he says.

The concept is borne out of his research over the past year with confinement cow-calf production.

Klopfenstein’s research will be among a body of cow efficiency work from three universities that will be presented from noon to noon on Sept. 12-13 at UNL’s Johnny Carson Center. It’s the first in an annual series of research symposia underwritten by a $2-million endowment by the Dr. Kenneth and Caroline McDonald Eng Foundation. Other universities participating include Texas A&M University and Oklahoma State University. The public is invited to attend.

Schedule of Events

The research focus is cow efficiency, and specifically confinement cow-calf production. Among some of the topics to be discussed are:

  • Nutrition, reproduction and early weaning of confined cows.
  • Management and economics of confined cows and calves.
  • Defining value and requirements in cows rations.
  • Variation in residual feed intake and feed efficiency of growing heifers and cows, and the implications for intensified cow-calf production.
  • Optimal feeder design for minimizing roughage loss.
  • Ammoniation to improve roughage value.
  • Ionophores for confined cow production.
  • The nutritionist’s and veterinarian’s roles in building cow efficiency.

There will also be plenty of time for Q&A, discussion and networking.

Pre-registration is $100, or $125 at the door. For more information, contact the Eng Foundation at 210-865-8376 (Kenneth Eng), 575-743-6331 (Annie Powell), or engnm@hotmail.com.

 

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