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Webinars on value of dairy beef cross cattle set for March

ISU Extension and Outreach
ISU Extension and Outreach reliable information about agriculture, 4H programs, food and nutrition, and family sciences. ISU Extension and Outreach has an office in Muscatine.

Muscatine Living

By Jennifer Bentley and Denise Schwab–Iowa State University Extension and Outreach

Learn about the possible economic benefits of breeding dairy cattle with beef cattle at a pair of upcoming free webinars.

AMES, Iowa – Many dairy farms have adopted the practice of breeding a portion of their herd to beef bulls to produce calves for beef production. This has allowed dairy farms to better manage replacement heifer inventories, and in some cases receive market premiums over straight bred baby bull calves. As this practice has become more common, some dairy farms are interested in determining the practicality and profitability of retaining their dairy beef cross calves to market as feeder or fed cattle versus marketing as baby calves.

Jennifer Bentley, dairy specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, said the approach can help dairy farmers better utilize the potential of their herd.

“As dairy farmers fine-tune their heifer replacement inventories, a way to add value to animals being sold off the farm is to breed a portion of their herd to beef,” she said. “As a result, best management practices have been hot topics with producers in helping to determine profitability and optimize the value of these efforts.”

University of Wisconsin-Madison Extension will host a two-part webinar series in March focusing on practices that can help optimize the value of dairy-beef cross animals. “Optimizing Value of Dairy Beef Cross Cattle from Birth to Harvest” will be held on Tuesdays, March 8 and March 22, with one topic session from 11 a.m. to noon, and a second topic session from 12:30-1:30 p.m. both days. Each session will be a moderated panel format with opportunities for participants to submit questions to the panelists. There is no charge to participate in the webinar series, but registration is necessary. Register for both sessions at https://uwmadison.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJMsf-usrD8pGtHo3trM9iTv9r-Px….

On March 8, the first discussion will address selecting beef bulls to best complement dairy cows to consistently produce cattle with desirable carcass and feedlot performance traits. The second discussion (which will also be translated in Spanish) will address how the quality of postpartum and early age calf care impact their health, growth, and performance for their entire lives. Presenters include Denise Schwab, beef specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach, and several UW-Madison Extension educators. Wisconsin BQA certified participants attending the calf care session can receive one Wisconsin BQA continuing education credit.

On March 22, the first discussion will address feeding and managing dairy beef cross cattle from 400 lb. to finish. The second discussion will present information on marketing options for dairy beef cross cattle. Presenters include Jerad Jeborak, Michigan State feedlot specialist; Dan Schaefer, UW-Madison professor emeritus in beef nutrition; Brenda Boetel, extension and UW-River Falls livestock economist; and Bill Halfman, UW-Madison Extension agriculture agent. Wisconsin BQA certified participants attending the feeding and management session can receive one Wisconsin BQA continuing education credit.

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