News and tips for cow/calf and seedstock producers
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Many of our producers are beginning to calve, and in their honor, we've devoted an entire issue of our magazine to Iowa's cow/calf industry. In addition to magazine articles covering topics from sire selection to calving under roof, be sure to check out the management tips and ICA updates below.

If you are headed to Beef Expo, be sure to stop by and say hi! Our booth will be right outside the Penningroth Sale Arena and we have some fun giveaways going on.

Matt Deppe, Iowa Cattlemen's Association - CEO

Stewards of the Land
Grazing Kickoff Meeting

Join the Iowa Cattlemen's Association and sponsors to learn more about the free grazing advisor services ICA is offering in 2017.

Monday, February 20
6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Wayne County Extension Office - Corydon, IA

The Stewards of the Land Program is intended to improve grazing practices in Iowa while simultaneously providing environmental benefits, such as improved soil health and water quality. The program is grant funded by the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) with additional support from the Iowa Cattlemen's Association, the Iowa Cattlemen's Foundation and Prairie Creek Seeds.

Stewards of the Land Grant Opportunities - Linda Shumate, ICA
Perennial & Annual Forage Selection & Applications - Karl Dallefeld, Prairie Creek Seed
Managing Fescue Pasture - Joe Sellers, Iowa State University Extension

To guarantee a meal, RSVP by Wednesday, February 15
Call 515-296-2266 or email

No cost to attend, thanks to our sponsors: Iowa State University Extension, Prairie Creek Seed, USDA NRCS
The February issue of the Iowa Cattleman magazine is online.


Expanding the Cowherd - The Confinement Option

Are you considering an expansion of the cow herd to help meet the demand for Beef? Are you looking for a revenue source within the Beef Industry that will allow the next generation a chance to come back to the farm? With less grazing land available, increased cost of land ownership and surplus feedstuffs in the cornbelt; now may be the time to consider Cow-Calf confinement or semi-confinement. This Symposium is designed to allow you the chance to gain the insight needed to consider cow-calf confinement as a viable beef production model for the future.

Register online before
March 1st, 2017
for Early Bird tickets.

Early Bird Tickets.................................................$35
Tickets after 3-1-17...............................................$55
At-The-Door Tickets..............................................$65

Sponsored by The Coalition to Support Iowa's Farmers, The Iowa Cattlemen's Association, the Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska and Nebraska Cattlemen

An update on ICA actions that affect YOUR operation.

ICA staff and leaders have been traveling to county banquets this month. Be sure to seek us out if you have any questions or comments for your association. Here is a list of county banquets and here is the current Board of Directors.

The northeast Iowa cow/calf forums were attended by almost 150 producers and covered many animal health topics important to cow/calf producers. Read a summary of the events (with immunization tips) here.

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.

Management Tips & Tricks

Frost Seeding and Other Interseeding Options:

Submitted by Prairie Creek Seed - Sponsor of ICA's Stewards of the Land program

The Stewards of the Land Program is intended to improve grazing practices in Iowa while simultaneously providing environmental benefits, such as improved soil health and water quality. The program is grant funded by the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) with additional support from the Iowa Cattlemen's Association, the Iowa Cattlemen's Foundation and Prairie Creek Seeds. 

When deciding to renovate pastures by either frost seeding or drilling new grasses and legumes into a diminished pasture, answer these questions:  Is your stand dense or thin?  What species of plants do you have in the sward?  Do you have undesirable species in the pasture and could some of these actually help you achieve your objectives? Is it grass or legume dominated?  Are the plants yellow and spindly or thriving?

Dig into your soil with a shovel and ask yourself:  How does the soil structure appear?  Is it crumbly or platey?  Earthworm channels should be abundant. Root health and depth are important.  The soil is the first place to start in your renovation.  It may take changing grazing practices, adding cover crops or a combination of practices to improve the health of your soil.    

When figuring out what species to plant, consider the following:  What am I trying to accomplish?  Do I have cow/calf pairs or a grass dairy?  Am I backgrounding stockers or grass-finishing beef?  High or low land costs will also make a big difference.  If your land costs are higher, then you should do everything you can to optimize your resources and make them count.  

Farmers/ranchers should also maximize the amount of diversity in the pasture.  However, there should be a balance.  If your grazing management eliminates half of the species in the proposed blend, ask yourself, why plant them? Still, overall, the more diversity in a sward; the better the forage quality and the longer it will hold throughout the season.  

How about equipment?  You do not have to have the very best equipment available.  The key is good soil-to-seed contact.  Most perennial plant species do well planted around a quarter-inch deep.  This can be accomplished many different ways.

I prefer a good no-till drill into untilled soil.  I personally have an old Van Brunt drill that is sufficient for now.  When drilling, it will pay big dividends to get off the tractor and look at seeding depth and seeding rates for every pasture.  Drill calibrations take only a few minutes and can save many dollars in seed costs.  There are also producers who are very successful broadcasting seed and using animal impact only to set the seed into the soil surface.  

After the pasture is interseeded, grazing management is important.  The goal is to allow the new seedlings to root down, but also tiller out.  When cool season perennials are around eight to 12 inches tall, one fast-grazing would allow sunlight down to the basal nodes and initiate more tillering.  This in turn will thicken the new seeding and increase forage production.

When no-tilling into existing stands, the grazing management will be a line between under-grazing and over-grazing.  This is a one season effort; but, it will allow for better stands.  New grass seedlings do not like being shaded and so every effort should be made to get sunlight down to them.

Another option to increase diversity or add additional clovers is to frost seed.  Frost seeding can be a good option if the conditions are correct.  Seed is expensive and it would be my preference to drill the seed at the proper depth.  This is not always an option so the next best thing is frost seeding.  It will be important for timing and conditions to maximize the potential success.  First the pasture that is to be seeded should have ample soil exposed.  If the pasture has a heavy thatch the seed will not get good enough soil to seed contact and will diminish the chances of the seed germinating.  The next important factor for success is the air temperatures at seeding.  The days need to be in the upper thirties and lower forties with the night time temps falling into the mid to low twenties. This freezing and thawing action is what pulls the seed into the soil surface for germination. A good rule of thumb in many parts of the state is that when there are snow banks along the fencerows still, then it is usually a good time to frost seed.  If you are going to frost seed then error on the side of earlier frost seeding than later.  These two things will improve the chances of success. 

Enhancing the diversity of your pastures will improve the production and quality of the pasture while enhancing the health of the soil.  Increased forage yields and improved quality will return much to your investment.  This is accomplished with higher yields and improved gains.

Prepare before you Pull (that difficult birth)

Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University Emeritus Extension Animal Scientist
Before applying the obstetrical chains to "pull" a calf during a difficult birth, a proper analysis of the situation must be made.  Wash the vulva, anus and the area in between using soap and warm water.  Pulling on a calf should only be done when the presentation and posture of the calf are normal.  Normal is defined as the "anterior presentation" with fore feet first, head resting on the limbs, and the eyes level with the knees.  A backwards calf can be delivered only when both back limbs are presented.  Before chains are applied, be certain that the cervix is completely dilated.  
To properly use obstetrical chains when assisting with a difficult birth, follow the this procedure.  To attach the chain, loop it around the thin part of the leg above the fetlock.  Then, make a half hitch and tighten it below the joint and above the foot.  Make certain that the chain is positioned in such a manner that is goes over the top of  the toes.  In this way the pressure is applied so as to pull the sharp points of the calves hooves away from the soft tissue of the vaginal wall.  (The toes of the backwards calf will be upside-down compared to the forward presentation).
proper chain placement
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.
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