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Follow practical information for the beef producer on essential topics including management, reproduction and calving, new technology, facilities improvement, beef quality, and feed and nutrition.

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Cattle are typically marketed and transported several times in their lives. Marketing and transportation can be the most fatiguing and stressful events in a feeder calf’s life.

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Pregchecking is an important tool to manage your herd efficiently. There are multiple ways to determine the pregnancy status of an animal: wait and see, palpate, draw blood and ultrasound. As in many facets of the cattle industry, there is not a one size fits all solution. Most of us are addressing the questions, “Am I feeding open cattle?” and, “How do I determine which are my most productive animals?”. Ultrasound technology helps answer these questions.

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Becoming a good ultrasounder is all about reading the details amidst the shades of grey. Training your eye to know what “normal” is, will be quite helpful. If you learn what a standard or normal image looks like, you will be able to determine a variation. Ultrasounding takes some effort to learn. The natural progression is pregnant/open determination→fetal aging→fetal sexing and detailed ovarian exams. Confirming pregnancies is simple and can be learned quite quickly for most. Basic fetal aging is a natural progression shortly after pregnant/open status. Fetal sexing and advanced ovarian exams take a lot more time and number of cattle scanned to learn.

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Well begun is half done. This old idiom could be restated, “A calf well started is half finished.” If done well, a receiving program sets cattle up for a successful closeout. However, if done poorly, it can set cattle back so there is no catching up.

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“Foot-and-mouth disease [FMD] is going to be a bigger disaster when it comes to market disruption than what we faced with COVID-19,” said Danelle Bickett-Weddle, associate director for the Center for Food Security and Public Health at Iowa State University.

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One of the richest blessings a family business could have is a patriarch or matriarch (I’ll use patriarch for both roles for simplicity in this article) who has moved out of their day-to-day leadership role yet is still available to share their unique wisdom when the need occurs.

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