News and tips for cow/calf and seedstock producers
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Welcome to the first edition of the Cow/Calf Chronicle!

This e-newsletter is part of our mission to grow Iowa's beef business through advocacy, leadership and education.

Every month, you'll find educational articles, relevant news, and ICA updates designed to help you build your beef business. If you have any suggestions for this email, or for the association, don't hesitate to reach out! We want to hear from you!

Matt Deppe, Iowa Cattlemen's Association - CEO
The January issue of the Iowa Cattleman magazine is online.
Stewards of the Land - Meet Linda, the new ICA Grazing Advisor, and learn how the Stewards of the Land program can improve your pasture!
Cow/Calf Commentary - Check out Dr. Gunn's suggestions for maximizing profit in 2017.
The Hazards of Bale Wrap - Health problems (or even death) caused by bale wrap are completely preventable.
There are several events on the calendar for cow/calf and seedstock producers in the next few weeks:
ICA Cow/Calf Forums
1/19, Rossville
1/19, Oelwein
Driftless Beef Conference
1/26-1/27, Dubuque
Iowa Beef Expo
2/12-2/19, Des Moines

An update on ICA actions that affect YOUR farm.

ICA's Cow/Calf Council met prior to the Leadership Summit to help shape the priorities and policies for 2017. Thank you to the members who volunteer their time and expertise to serve on the council.

Two free ICA Cow/Calf Forums have been scheduled in Northeast Iowa on January 19. More details here. 

ICA received a grant from the NRCS that allowed us to hire a Grazing Advisor. Linda Shumate is available to help ICA members improve their grazing practices and find cost-share programs to help. Find out more here.

The ICA Bull and Heifer Evaluation Program is well underway for the 2016/2017 year! Not familiar with the program? Click here to learn more.

ICA will be at the Iowa Beef Expo again this year, right outside the Penningroth Arena. Visit us for a chance to win an ICA vest AND a $250 coupon to be used at one of our bull sales!
Have you renewed your membership for 2017? Don't forget to mail in your invoice or renew online here.

News you Need:

  • The Veterinary Feed Directive went into effect January 1. Are you ready?
  • The state beef checkoff referendum passed in Iowa, and the Iowa Cattlemen's Association is looking forward to working with the Iowa Beef Industry Council to put the funds raised to good use in our state. More details can be found here.

Management Tips & Tricks


Do you have areas in your pasture that are bare spots? Do you see a lot of cow paths?  

These could be a signs of compaction.

Pastures that have been grazed for many years (or are over-grazed) can become so compacted that you may begin seeing a reduction in forages or even sheet and rill erosion effects due to runoff.

Many may wonder just how to rejuvenate the soil after many years of use; brassicas may be a solution!

Both tillage radishes and turnips are brassicas and are used as cover crops to aerate soils as natural “bio-drills” in cropping systems.  They too can be used to aerate your pastures!  Since these brassicas will be competing with other forages, it may be best to drill for better seed-to-ground contact or broadcast after grazing to get better results.  When the main root grows through compacted soils, they produce an edible forage for your cows on top and leave the main root to decay below. What remains is a void in the soil that will aid in aeration, breaking up compaction layers.
A study conducted with dairy producers in Vermont by the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), University of Vermont Extension and the UVM Plant & Soil Science Department completed field trials showing how tillage radishes and Keyline plowing with a Yeomans plow could lessen pasture compaction.  This article explaining their results may help you determine if this practice would be a good fit for your operation. Or visit On Pasture for more information on pasture management.

If you are interested in trying any of these methods or improving your pasture in other ways, you can visit with Linda Shumate, ICA Grazing Advisor. Call Linda at 515-296-2266 or email

Winter Cattle Care:

Adjust cattle care in wintertime to maintain body temperature

Cattle are well adapted to cold weather and can remain comfortable with a dry winter hair coat even when it is 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Below that, some minor adjustments will help cattle generate extra heat energy to maintain body temperature.

Feed: As temperatures drop, increase feed availability and quality and provide an energy supplement. Corn stalks are not enough for cattle when it is cold so add some corn co-products, corn, other grains or high quality forage.

Water: Cattle cannot eat enough to keep warm without water intake. Be prepared for a winter storm that either freezes your water line or disrupts power supply to run pump and tank heaters. Have an alternate or back-up plan in place.

Wind breaks and bedding: Wind chill can have a huge impact on cold stress for cattle. In general, wind breaks work better than barns.

Cattle will pack into barns trying to get out of the wind. The ventilation is not the best in most old barns, resulting in increased humidity and potential for health problems. Properly designed wind breaks will provide shelter from the wind and be open for ventilation.

If cattle can get out of the wind and have a dry place to lay down they can deal with the worst winter weather. Be prepared to have some bedding material available to make a dry area for the cattle.

Cattle trails: As mud freezes it can make travel from bedding to feeding or watering areas difficult and potentially lead to injuries. Scrape the mud and make sure the path is smooth and solid.

Evaluate body condition: Cows in a body condition score of 5 or less cannot afford to lose any weight before calving. Evaluate your cattle every other week and make sure that they are holding their body condition.

*Adapted from a 2011 article in the Iowa Cattleman magazine by Grant Dewell, DVM.
Questions? Comments?

Reply to this email or call 515-296-2266 and let us know what's on your mind!

The mission of the Iowa Cattlemen's Association is to grow Iowa's beef business through advocacy, leadership and education.
Copyright © 2017 Iowa Cattlemen's Association, All rights reserved.

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