Printable conference program

Thursday, January 25, 2024

9:00 am Exhibitor setup begins

12:30 pm Registration opens

Opening session
1:00 pm Welcome and opening comments - Denise Schwab, extension beef field specialist, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Vinton, IA

1:15 pm Measuring sustainability progress for beef production - Dr. Kim Stackhouse- Lawson, director, AgNext, Colorado State University, Ault, CO

Dr. Stackhouse-Lawson will provide the audience with an overview of sustainability in the beef industry, fully describing the challenges and opportunities. She will also provide an update on AgNext research where her team is pioneering sustainable solutions and better measurement of progress.

2:15 pm Our changing Midwest climate and its impacts on beef production - Dr. Trent Ford, Illinois State Climatologist, University of Illinois, Champaign, IL

The Midwest has experienced significant changes in its climate over the past century, which have resulted in impacts to livestock product. Here we'll discuss acute impacts including those from extreme heat and heavy rain, and chronic impacts including insect and disease pressure. We'll also look forward to projections of impacts we may see in future decades, and discuss solutions and management strategies for climate resilience.

2:45 pm LRP and LGM livestock insurance: A brief overview - Pamela Stahlke, director, St Paul Regional Office, USDA Risk Management Agency, Eagan, MN

Come meet some of your local USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) staff as they discuss the Livestock Risk Protection (LRP) and Livestock Gross Margin (LGM) federally insured livestock policies. The purpose of this session is to give a brief overview of how each policy functions. Practical examples regarding how these products work for an operation that purchases it explaining the process from purchasing a policy to calculating any potential indemnities will be discussed.

3:30 pm Break and visit sponsor displays

4:00 pm What can beef producers learn from swine producers in terms of biosecurity? - Dr. Chris Rademacher, clinical professor, Veterinary Medicine, Iowa State University, Ames, IA

We will cover the basics of biosecurity and how the swine industry has adapted their production systems to prevent introduction of new pathogens into sites via analysis of multiple pathogen carrying agents.

4:30 pm AgrAbility - Dr. Richard Straub, co-director, AgrAbility, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI

5:00 pm Connecting to the beef checkoff - Tammy Vaassen, executive director, Wisconsin Beef Council, Verona, WI; Al Lyman, cattle and grain farmer, Hadley Farms, Cambridge, IL; Steve Springer, producer and Wisconsin Cattlemen's Beef Board, Linden, WI

Join this panel discussion with Beef Checkoff leaders at both the state and national level. You'll learn more about the national structure of the Checkoff, how dollars are invested into programs, and oversight provided by farmers and ranchers.

5:30 pm Afternoon session concludes

Time to check into rooms and visit with sponsors.

Evening program
6:00 pm Social time, cash bar, visit exhibitor displays

Visit with sponsors and browse the displays. A cash bar will be available in the sponsor display area.

6:30 pm Dinner and round-table discussions

7:30 pm Bull pen discussion: Custom forage harvesters W. Travis Meteer, beef extension educator, University of Illinois, Baylis, IL

8:30 pm Adjourn for the day

Friday, January 26, 2024

Breakfast session
6:45 am Breakfast buffet, exhibits open

7:00 am NCBA's Environemental Stewardship Award program and you - Jerry Huth, owner, Huth Polled Herefords, Oakfield, WI

Jerry Huth and his commercial herd partner, Josh Scharf, were awarded the 2022 NCBA Region III Environmental Stewardship Award Program (ESAP). This session will give you insight into the ESAP program, introduce you to the Huth Polled Herefords and S&H Livestock Enterprises, and encourage you to apply fo the ESAP award.

Concurrent session A (select one topic)
7:45 am A balancing act: Feed resources vs. herd inventory - Beth Reynolds, program specialist, Iowa Beef Center, Iowa State University, Ames, IA

Finding a balance between the amount of feed you have on hand and the number of cattle you raise is no easy feat. Even in a perfect growing season, a margin of error needs to be accounted for, and extra feed secure in case the following winter and growing season disrupt inventory supplies. The 2023 growing season has been plagued by drought, and the resulting forage supply has caused many to sell some cows or opt to purchase high priced hay in order to reach their “balance” for this production cycle. Our question, is how can we begin to determine if we have enough feed on hand, how much we need to purchase, and how we are going to sustain the herd inventory in subsequent years, regardless of rainfall received.

Growth performance, carcass traits, and feeder calf value of beef x holstein and holstein feedlot steers - Melanie Pimentel Concepción, graduate student, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI

Concurrent session B (select one topic)
8:30 am Effects of creep feed duration in a drylot system on cow and calf performance - Dr. Dan Shike, professor, Animal Science, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL

As pasture availability in the Midwest decreases, drylot and confinement cow-calf systems are gaining in popularity. With no forage available to the calf in these systems, creep feed becomes the only option for offering additional nutrients to the calf. This study evaluated creep feeding durations of 105 days and 21 days prior to weaning and followed calves through the feedlot.

Tools to evaluate market conditions, identify trends and inform business decisions - Dr. Lee Schulz, associate professor, Economics and extension livestock economist, Iowa State University, Ames, IA

This presentation will highlight cattle marketing resources available to producers. This includes USDA’s Cattle Contracts Library which contains an extensive collection of cattle contract information aimed at improving transparency and providing more information on price discovery.

9:15 am Break

Concurrent session C (select one topic)
9:30 am Pros and cons of bale feeding strategies - Dr. Dennis Hancock, center director, U. S. Dairy Forage Research Center, USDA-ARS, Madison, WI

There are many ways to feed hay and baleage bales. Bale feeding strategies must balance nutritional goals, feeding losses, nutrient distribution, soil disturbance, mud, nutrient runoff, regrowth potential of the field, and much more. Each strategy should be viewed as a tool.

Feedlot biosecurity - Dr. Grant Dewell, beef extension veterinarian, Iowa State University, Ames, IA

Implementing biosecurity practices to protect your livestock every day.

Concurrent session D (select one topic)
10:15 am Heifer development: A genetic perspective - Dr. Randie Culbertson, assistant professor and extension cow-calf specialist, Iowa State University, Ames, IA

The selection and development of a heifer can have long-lasting effects on a cow-calf operation. Heifer development is crucial for laying the foundation for a female's lifetime productivity in the herd, but heifer selection is equally as important as her development. Genetic prediction tools will be discussed to help producers make informed selection decisions on heifers.

Fuel for the journey: Overcoming transit stress in feedlot cattle - Dr. Stephanie Hansen, professor, Animal Science, Iowa State University, Ames, IA

How do we best prepare cattle to bounce back quickly from transit stress? This presentation will explore various nutritional strategies to do just that, with emphasis on vitamins and minerals.

Closing session
11:00 am Beef market outlook - Dr. Lee Schulz, associate professor, Economics and extension livestock economist, Iowa State University, Ames, IA

This presentation will summarize the current supply and demand situation, draw implications for cattle and beef markets, and outline a series of broader issues shaping the marketplace.

12:00 pm Conference adjourns

Post-conference training
1:00 pm Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) Training - Denise Schwab, extension beef field specialist, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Vinton, IA

BQA works to protect consumer confidence in our beef supply and to return profits to producers. All who have the opportunity to influence the quality and handling of cattle are encouraged to become certified at this post-conference training session.

3:00 pm Training concludes

The Driftless Region Beef Conference is presented by

University of Illinois

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach

University of Wisconsin Extension