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3-State Beef Conference set for Jan. 13 in Iowa

3-State Beef Conference to discuss supplementation, optimizing forage use, and the importance of fertility in the current cattle market.

Beef producers who attended last year's 3-State Beef Conference will recognize a familiar face – Rick Rasby, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Professor and Extension Beef Specialist is returning as a speaker by popular demand, says Tim Eggers, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach field agricultural economist in southwest Iowa.

"People particularly appreciated his practical approach to research and his ability to explain how to use results from that research," Eggers says. "Topics and speakers at this conference are determined based on producer input and Rick definitely is on that list. This year he'll speak on evaluating supplementation strategies, including thinking through benefits and negative aspects of supplementation."

The benefits to calves from the supplementation of cows on low quality forage during pregnancy are well documented. Chris Clark, ISU Extension and Outreach Beef Program Specialist in southwest Iowa, notes with the majority of beef producers in Iowa calving in spring, it's key to meet nutritional needs during winter in a cost-effective way.

"Most area producers have spring calving herds. In late winter, their cattle are in third stage gestation, which means energy and protein requirements are increasing, and at the same time inclement weather is a strong possibility," Clark says. "It's key to meet cows' needs but in a cost effective way."

Bruce Anderson, UNL Professor of Agronomy and Extension Forage Specialist, will bring years of forage experience to the discussion, Eggers adds. "Bruce will present, 'Rethinking our Forage Systems,'" Eggers says. "He completed his Ph.D. in 1980 and he's been helping producers optimize the use of their forage for decades. With high pasture rental rates, there's no forage to waste."

Incentive for herd expansion
High calf prices provide the means and incentive for herd expansion. Returns are based on calves being born to new heifers and cows joining the herd, Clark says. Patrick Gunn, Iowa State University Assistant Professor and Extension and Outreach Beef Cow-Calf Specialist will address this in his presentation, "Financial Impacts of Fertility and Infertility in the Current Cattle Market."

"We don’t know how long this strong market will last.  We have to plan on keeping those females in the herd for several years in order for them to pay themselves off," Clark says. "Heifer development cost and the cost of purchasing a female whether it's a yearling, feeder or bred female are so high that it's really economically important to make sure females are managed well to optimize fertility and production."

The Iowa program at the Southwestern Iowa Community College campus in Creston begins with registration at 5:30 p.m., followed by the first presentation a 6. Dinner is at 6:45, followed by more presentations. Cost is $25 per person and includes the meal and copy of the conference proceedings. Preregistration is required by Friday, Jan. 9, by calling the Page County Extension office at 712-542-5171 or 877-596-7243. The conference brochure has information for the Iowa location.

Program details, contacts and links to brochures for sites in Missouri and Nebraska are available on the conference website.

Driftless Beef Conference set for Jan. 22-23
In northeast Iowa, the 2015 Driftless Region Beef Conference is set for January 22-23 at the Grand River Convention Center in Dubuque. The $85 per person registration fee is available through January 15, 2015, and covers all sessions, speakers, and a copy of conference proceedings. Through Jan. 5, attendees can reserve lodging for $79 a night at the conference location by mentioning the conference.

This year’s conference features two keynote speakers: Jude Capper, a livestock sustainability consultant from Bozeman, Montana, and Mark Hilton, professor of beef production medicine at Purdue University. Other speakers include Dan Loy and Lee Schulz of ISU; Rhonda Gildersleeve, and Gene Schriefer from the University of Wisconsin; Nicole Rambo from the University of Minnesota; Travis Meteer, University of Illinois; and Rick Rasby of UNL. Tom Arnold, a beef producer from Elizabeth, Illinois, Joe Dedrickson from Merial, and Darrell Busby from the Tri-County Steer Carcass Futurity round out the speaker list.

Thursday evening's program includes a panel discussion on the wide scope of the beef industry and how all sectors fit together to meet consumer demands. Friday morning's program features four breakout sessions and a breakfast presentation by Capper.

Current program sponsors with display booths at the conference are Equity Cooperative Livestock Sales Association; Merial; Thiesen's; US Feeds; ABS Global, Inc.; Multimin USA, Inc.; Vita Plus, Animat, Inc.; People's State Bank, Wisconsin Beef Improvement Association, Diamond V, Prairie Creek Seed, Zoetis, FarmTek, Summit Livestock Facilities, Mix 30, and USDA National Ag Statistics Service.

The Conference is sponsored by the University of Illinois Extension, ISU Extension and Outreach, University of Minnesota Extension, and University of Wisconsin Extension. Additional conference information, including links to the brochure, registration and lodging, is available at the conference website.

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