Tag Archives: livestock

In February, Dr. Pablo Loza was making plans to relocate from Argentina to Scottsbluff to assume his duties as the new feedlot management and nutrition specialist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Panhandle Research Feedlot on May 1.

Five months later he remains grounded from traveling by the COVID-19 pandemic, as are so many others. But Loza is stuck farther from his workplace than most. In his apartment in Cordoba, Argentina, he awaits the lifting of restrictions on work visas in the United States.

Meanwhile, he is remotely launching research and extension activities in western Nebraska: conducting a research study, hunting for funding, and meeting virtually with colleagues and with cattle feeders in western Nebraska using the online meeting platforms.

Dr. Clint Krehbiel, head of the Animal Science Department at the UNL Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources (IANR), said Loza was caught up in the U.S. federal government’s ban on H-1B work visas (for highly trained specialty occupations), and might not be able to move to Scottsbluff until January 2021. He added, “In the interim, we have hired him as an adjunct professor and he will continue to work from Argentina. Pablo has interacted with western Nebraska producers and has an experiment underway at the Panhandle Feedlot.”

At the time of his UNL appointment, Loza was director of a research farm about 15 miles south of Cordoba, Argentina’s second-largest city. He moved to the city in May, the time when he had been scheduled to begin duties in Nebraska. But he didn’t think he would be in Cordoba for three months and counting. In Argentina movement is highly restricted and the economy has been hurting since before the pandemic.

Loza also has experience in the United States, including Nebraska. He received a Ph.D. from UNL in 2008 in ruminant nutrition, a master’s degree in ruminant nutrition from Colorado State University, in addition to his degree in agricultural engineering from the National University of Cordoba. He has conducted research in Nebraska, Colorado, and Louisiana.

Loza has been trying to build relationships with his new clientele in western Nebraska. “We did a pretty decent zoom meeting with a group of producers from the area. We talked about things that worried them, how to serve them from a distance, things that could be related to problems they had at the time,” he said.

He also has started a research trial into how cattle behave with a sudden change in their rations due to temporary production cutbacks in ethanol plants, which reduced the availability of an ethanol coproduct, distillers grains, to feedlots.

The project is intended to begin establishing a baseline and provide information about options for replacing important feedstuffs in the event of a disruption – which also could happen in the future under different circumstances, Loza points out. “We take things for granted that things will never change sometimes.”

There are not many potential replacements for distillers grain, according to Loza. The closest would be soybean meals, but cattle feeders in the Panhandle would need to transport soy meal a long way. Another potential replacement would be sunflower meal, also not exactly an abundant product in Nebraska.

Other, more local replacements such as field peas or other peas could be researched, but Loza said their volume would be limited and their protein content and quality variable. “There are probably other sources of vegetable proteins, but might not be as economical, and not in that volume.”

 During the pandemic Loza also has been meeting with colleagues in Extension and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, searching for programs, opportunities, and funding, as well as potential channels for getting information and advice to producers.

He is eager to be able to meet in person with his clientele, the feedlot operators. Online meetings are the best option available, but are not the same as in-person visits to feedlots, especially early in a working relationship. “You can’t jump out of your screen and talk to them for a half hour,” he said. “You want to go visit their operation, see what they’re doing, what they need, to get a feeling.”

Loza is working on having an invitational meeting for producers that would include a presentation on a technical topic and then a period of questions, answers and general discussion – “how they are doing, sharing information on how they are coping with the challenges of their operations.”

In Scottsbluff, meantime, Loza said fellow faculty member Dr. Karla Wilke, Cow-Calf Systems and Stocker Management Specialist at the Panhandle Center, has been helpful in seeing that activities are carried out at the Panhandle Research Feedlot, as have research technicians Nabor Guzman and Doug Pieper.

He also has regular virtual meetings with the research technicians, as well as graduate students and Animal Science faculty. “Everybody’s trying to do what they can. But I’m ready to be there in person.”

After the pandemic, Loza also hopes to conduct research into alternative local rations such as small grains or sugarbeet pulp. His ideal research program would address two types of issues: those that are local to the Panhandle, and those that are applicable to the high plains region.

  • More bullish on cattle then in the past couple of weeks
  • Cattle coming around
  • Could be less cattle this fall then compared to previous years
  • August 5, 2019 $107.80 not far off from where we are today
  • Weeks…not months to getting caught up.
  • Cash will grind higher the next couple of weeks
  • Packers are willing to take on inventory.
  • COVID & retail trade & exports are amazing.
  • Hogs on the other hand struggle. Another gut punch to the trade
  • Pork product not doing well, which makes the cash market struggle
  • Export hogs are good, just need to get the short term to catch
  • Grains-we will get another round of crop rating.
  • We need to shift from supply to demand.
  • Massive exports to China


Tensions with U.S. & China
BUT we keep seeing export sales to them & unknown
Weather has become a non factor at this point for crops
Softer ethanol margins
Weaker dollar and the wheat market
Beans giving up the fight to stay positive
Demand for proteins


  • China & a somber note with the Consultant in Houston
  • China did and another make purchases of soybeans
  • Cash trade Chinese buyers looking at corn & wheat
  • Growing amount of evidence their temp reserve is almost empty
  • Gasoline consumption took another drop
  • Restaurants continue to shut down after reopening

The U.S. Meat Export Federation released an updated version of an independent study aimed at quantifying the value that red meat exports provide U.S. corn and soybean farmers.

The independent study was conducted by a company called World Perspectives, Incorporated. Since 2015, indirect exports of corn and soybeans through beef and pork exports have been the fastest-growing category of corn and soybean use. That’s delivered critical returns for corn and soybean producers. These farmers support the international promotion of U.S. beef, pork, and lamb, by investing a portion of their checkoff dollars in market development efforts conducted by USMEF.

In 2019, U.S. beef and pork exports used 480 million bushels of corn. Corn revenue generated by pork exports totaled $1.8 billion. Last year, U.S. pork exports used 2.12 million tons of soybean meal, equivalent to 89.2 million bushels of soybeans, that generated $751.7 million in revenue.

Beef and pork exports also used approximately three million tons of DDGS, which generated $411.8 million in revenue for ethanol’s co-products. USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom says, “We greatly appreciate the foresight and confidence shown by the corn and soybean sectors when they invest in red meat exports. This study proves the value delivered by that investment.”

Kansas Farm Service Agency has been closely tracking drought conditions statewide in anticipation of providing needed assistance to livestock producers impacted by drought.

Ranchers and livestock producers in some counties now have two different programs through which they can request assistance from FSA—the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) and the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Emergency Harvesting and Grazing. Livestock producers and ranchers should contact their local county FSA office to verify county eligibility and learn specific program details before taking  any action.


Livestock Forage Program

Producers in several Kansas counties are eligible to apply for 2020 Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) benefits on native and improved pastureland with permanent vegetative cover or certain crops planted specifically for grazing such as small grains, annual rye grass/crab grass and forage sorghum. LFP provides compensation to eligible livestock producers who suffer grazing losses for covered livestock due to drought on privately owned or cash leased land or fire on federally managed land.

Eligible livestock producers must complete a CCC-853 and the required supporting documentation no later than February 1, 2021, for 2020 losses.

Check https://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/ to see if your county has reached an eligible drought status.

Additional information about LFP, including eligible livestock criteria, is available at your local FSA office or online at https://www.fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/disaster-assistance-program/livestock-forage/index.

CRP Emergency Harvesting and Grazing

Certain Kansas CRP practices may be harvested or grazed outside the primary nesting season (April 15-July 15) in counties that have reached at least a D2 drought status on the U.S. Drought Monitor noted above. Individual county drought status will be approved and updated weekly at the national FSA level.

Emergency grazing is available on all CRP practices, but grazing will be limited to a maximum of 90 days; OR September 30, 2020; OR when the cover reaches the minimum height requirement as stated in the CRP grazing plan, or CPO. Grazing may also be halted if conditions improve, as determined by County Committee. CRP fields must be left 25% ungrazed or grazed at no more than 75% of the established

Emergency haying is available on all CRP practices EXCEPT for certain practices in counties also approved for LFP. One cutting will be allowed and 50% of each field will be left unhayed for wildlife. Hay must be removed within 15 days and can’t be sold.

CRP acreage can’t be both hayed and grazed in the same year. There will be no 2020 CRP annual rental payment reduction. CRP participants may use the hay or grazing option for their own livestock or lease the rights to hay or graze to another livestock producer. Livestock must be removed from the acreage within one day after the end of the authorized emergency grazing period.

CRP participants who would like to perform emergency harvesting or grazing on their CRP contract MUST submit a request through their local FSA county office prior to taking any action. NRCS will develop a modified Conservation Plan of Operation (CPO).

Contact your local USDA Service Center for more details and information about both LFP and CRP Emergency Harvesting and Grazing and to submit your request for needed assistance.

American sheep producers have collected more than $26.6 million in payments from the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program according to numbers released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture this week.

Payments for lambs and yearlings accounted for more than 91 percent ($24,366,284.11) of money paid to the American sheep industry. Producers also benefitted from wool payments – $1,368,303.22 for non-graded wool and $894,354 for graded wool.

“America’s sheep producers are struggling just like everyone else during this difficult time for our country,” said American Sheep Industry Association President Benny Cox. “We thank the Trump Administration, Congress and the U.S. Department of Agriculture for not only recognizing those struggles, but for taking action to assist the industry financially.”

ASI played a key role in showing losses and projected damage – $125 million at the farm gate – within the sheep industry as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. That information was part of the decision-making process as USDA worked to develop this vital assistance program. And ASI continues to reach out to USDA and congressional supporters to address additional losses within the industry – specifically coverage for replacement and cull ewes. USDA announced this week the addition of a handful of specialty crops not covered in the original program announcement, and it is expected to do the same for livestock in the near future.

As of July 6, the CFAP program had approved 365,262 applications and paid out $5.364 billion to American agricultural producers. Livestock accounted for just more than 50 percent of all CFAP payments at $2.7 billion. USDA releases updated data on CFAP payments each Monday at www.farmers.gov/cfap/data.


MANHATTAN, Kan. — Registration is now open for a webinar that will help Kansas beef cattle producers prepare to manage and reduce the impacts of drought and reduced forage availability on cow herds.

The webinar will be hosted by the Kansas State University Department of Animal Sciences and Industry and K-State Research and Extension via Zoom on Thursday, July 9, at noon (CDT).

“As the saying goes, failing to plan is planning to fail,” said K-State beef specialist Sandy Johnson. “This webinar is being conducted to help cow-calf producers evaluate the options they have to make strategic adjustments in response to reduced forage availability. We want producers to be prepared to take advantage of opportunities that may arise given current resources, markets and weather.”

The program features strategic reduction of grazing pressure, drought supplementation of cows, early weaned calf nutrition and management, and calf health considerations, presented by members of the K-State beef extension team.

Register for the webinar online at https://tinyurl.com/KSUBeef-Drought-Preparedness or at www.KSUBeef.org. For questions about the event or to register, contact Lois Schreiner, lschrein@ksu.edu, or 785-532-1267.

MANHATTAN, Kan. — A Kansas State University veterinarian is urging cattle producers to beef up their plans for managing heat stress in their herds, a challenge that costs the U.S. cattle industry up to $370 million in losses each year.

A.J. Tarpoff, a beef veterinarian with K-State Research and Extension, said cattle are resilient animals; they will often acclimate to hot temperatures.

But an accumulation of factors – including humidity, solar radiation, the color of their hide, diet and more – can drastically change a cow’s ability to withstand summer’s heat.

“It really is a multi-layer challenge,” Tarpoff said. “Each animal within a group or pen is not affected the same way. Animals with higher body condition scores, or with darker hides, or finisher steers and heifers that are getting ready to go to harvest are at higher-risk of heat stress.”

Tarpoff said heat stress decreases the reproductive efficiency and performance of cattle grazing on pasture. In confined facilities, heat stress often causes cattle to eat less, which also negatively affects their performance.

The human body cools itself on a hot day by sweating, called evaporative cooling. But Tarpoff notes that cattle sweat only 10 percent as much as humans, and panting is their primary way of dissipating heat.

“As temperatures rise and their heat load increases, they will start breathing faster,” he said. “They are dissipating heat through tiny droplets in the respiratory tract.”

Doing so, however, causes cows to eat less, setting them on a path to poor growth and future performance.

“This all has to do with heat load,” Tarpoff said. “The internal temperature of cattle will peak two hours after the hottest point of the day. So our strategy for keeping cows cool needs to be built around knowing that.”

Another factor is that cattle produce heat by digesting food, typically four to six hours after eating. “So if we feed animals within the wrong period of time, we can actually increase their heat load because the heat of digestion and the heat from the environment are building on top of each other,” Tarpoff said. “We want to keep that from happening.”

Tarpoff listed best management practices for helping to reduce heat stress in cows:

  • Handling. Receive, ship or move cattle only during the coolest parts of the day, preferably before 10 a.m.
  • Feeding. Modify feeding times. Feed 70 percent of the animals’ ration as late in the evening as possible, which puts the peak heat of digestion overnight when temperatures are likely cooler. Decrease feeding during the day.
  • Managing heat. Split cattle between pens or reduce stocking density. Maximize airflow by removing obstructions around facilities, including weeds. If feasible, install shade structures, which can reduce solar radiation and reduce the temperature on the pen’s floor. Install sprinklers to wet cattle down at night or early morning so as not to increase humidity.

Then, of course, there is the importance of providing water. Lots and lots of water.

“To put it into perspective, when the temperature goes from 70 degrees Fahrenheit to 90 degrees, a cattle will consume about double the amount of water,” Tarpoff said.

As a rule, he said cattle should consume “about five times the amount of water as the dry matter they are consuming.”

“Cool, clean and readily-available water is critical during heat stress events. We may have to increase the water tank capacity within a pen to meet these needs. Producers need to be prepared for that.”

Tarpoff said he follows two sources for help in making a decision when to put a heat stress management plan into full effect.

The U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (MARC) maintains a seven-day forecast tool for the United States, taking into account temperature, humidity and solar radiation.

“The other tool I use is the Kansas Mesonet, which provides an animal comfort index,” he said. The Kansas Mesonet, housed at Kansas State University, is a network of observation towers located across the state that updates climate information every hour.

“I know that if we don’t have those night-time cooling hours, the animal won’t be starting each day at thermo-neutral, so they’re more at risk on the second or third day,” Tarpoff said. “That’s when we should start putting in some of these management strategies.”

For more information or assistance, contact your local extension agent.

The American Sheep Industry Association, its state affiliates, the National Lamb Feeders Association and the Public Lands Council sent a letter to congressional leaders this week calling for additional support of the sheep industry in light of disruptions in the lamb and wool marketplace due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Specifically, we are asking that Congress raise the Commodity Credit Corporation’s borrowing authority from the current $30 billion and make funds available immediately to ensure USDA has, with the oversight of Congress, the ability to respond to the needs of our domestic food and fiber producers,” read the letter to the Senate and House majority and minority leaders. “As you are aware, the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program developed and administered by the USDA has helped bridge the initial gap caused by the loss of consumer demand and uncertainty in the livestock markets.

“However, the relief USDA has been able to provide was limited due to funding restrictions and therefore only covered producer losses through mid-April with funding provided by the CARES Act. Additionally, CCC funds intended to compensate for on-going market disruptions have proven insufficient. Our industry continues to suffer greatly and USDA’s ability to respond to current and future losses as needed is critical to our producers’ ability to continue to operate through what are easily proving to be the most difficult economic times anyone alive has ever faced.

“Our initial estimated economic impact to the American sheep industry forecasts a loss of at least $353 million in 2020, and it is clear now that we will eclipse that number. We were pleased that lambs and yearlings (less than 2 years of age) and wool were included as eligible commodities under CFAP. Since the release of the program details, we have submitted additional data through the USDA’s Notice of Funds Availability filing in the Federal Register showing that replacement and cull ewes also exceeded the Department’s 5 percent loss threshold for eligibility under CFAP.

“The inclusion of replacement and cull ewes, even under the existing coverage dates, would significantly help our industry move toward recovery. This inventory class makes up nearly two-thirds of our sheep flock. That said, it is clear that to provide coverage to all segments and all regions of a widely diverse agricultural industry, a second (and possibly even subsequent) round of temporary assistance is necessary. Many producers in our industry are only now feeling the full effects of the pandemic’s impact; and as was the case for replacement and cull ewes, we are only now able to quantify those losses with sufficient economic data to meet the USDA’s threshold under CFAP.

“Therefore, we request that additional borrowing authority be made available through the CCC to allow the USDA to extend the CFAP, or similar temporary assistance, as well as any additional funding required to cover losses suffered by American agriculture post the current coverage eligibility; including the 2020 lamb, ewe and wool crops.”