Farm and ranch briefs

Beef Quality Assurance certification set for Jan. 8 in Medina

A Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) certification training program will be held at

the Medina American Legion on Jan. 8, 2014, from 1 to 4 p.m.

The Beef Quality Assurance certification is a producer-driven program in which

cattle producers assume responsibility for producing beef that is a healthy,

wholesome, high-quality product and free from defects such as injection-site

lesions and bruises.

Producers in BQA programs keep detailed records to assure that their management,

husbandry and animal health practices meet regulatory and industry standards.

To become certified, producers must attend a training and certification session.

After attending a session, each producer or operation will be assigned a North

Dakota BQA identification number. If calves are produced following NDBQA

certification requirements and with the appropriate records kept, they may be

marketed as NDBQA certified.

In some areas, producers receive a premium for their BQA certified cattle.

BQA certification trainings began in 1999 in North Dakota. Since that time, more

than 1,950 producers have been certified. These producers market about 20

percent of the state’s feeder calves each year.

The cost for attending the training and receiving a three-year BQA certification

is $15. Preregistration is required. To register, contact the Extension

Service’s Kidder County office at (701) 475-2632, ext. 9227, or email


NDSU shares beef cattle research results

Beef cattle diets, breeding systems, drylot vs. pasture cow-calf production,

forage digestibility enhancements, grazing and effects of pen bedding were among

the topics North Dakota State University researchers studied in the past year.

In a project comparing lactating beef cows fed a diet of corn stover and

distillers grain, an ethanol production byproduct, with cows fed corn silage,

wheat middlings, barley hulls and straw, researchers at the Carrington Research

Extension Center found that:


* Calves of cows on the stover-distillers grain diet gained 2.73 pounds per day

during the 92-day study while calves of cows fed the other diet gained 2.57

pounds per day.


* The decrease in cows’ condition score during the summer feeding period was

nearly identical (1.1 for cattle on the stover-distillers grain diet vs. 1 for

cows on the other diet).


* The daily ration cost for the stover-distillers grain diet was $1.71, compared

with $2.22 for the other diet.


“Cow numbers continue to decrease in North Dakota and nationally as a result of

drought, grazing land being converted to cropland and the high cost of

conventional feed ingredients, yet underutilized and undervalued feed resources

such as corn stover and distillers grains are available to producers in North

Dakota,” says animal scientist Vern Anderson, who led this study.

“Our past research indicates beef cows are capable of using a wide variety of

feeds, including crop residues (corn, wheat, pea, barley, straw, regrowth or

cover crops) when properly supplemented,” he adds. “This study indicates diets

formulated with corn stover and nutrient-dense supplements such as distillers

grain can be very successful in supporting excellent growth and performance in

the cow and her calf.”

Researchers from the Animal Sciences Department and Hettinger and Central

Grasslands Research Extension Centers conducting a breeding study found that:


* About the same number of cows exposed to estrous synchronization (ES) and

artificial insemination (AI) became pregnant during the breeding season as cows

mated with bulls.


* Cows in the breeding system with ES and AI gave birth earlier in the caving

season than cows mated with bulls.


* Calves born through AI during the first 21 days of the calving season were

19.4 pounds heavier at weaning than the calves of cows mated with bulls.


In a study on whether the degree of processing for dry-rolled corn had an effect

on steers fed finishing diets, Animal Sciences Department researchers discovered

that processing didn’t affect the steers’ initial or final body weight, average

daily gain, dry-matter intake or carcass quality characteristics such as 12th-

rib fat thickness, rib-eye area and marbling score.

The study also looked at the impact on those steers of including dried corn

distillers grains plus solubles (DDGS) in their diets. The researchers learned

that the steers’ dry-matter intake and feed-to-gain ratio decreased as the

amount of DDGS in their diet increased, but including DDGS didn’t affect the

carcass quality characteristics.

In addition, the researchers found that processing the corn and adding DDGS had

some impact on the steers’ feeding and ruminating behavior. For example, steers

fed finely rolled corn ate more meals per day, and spent more time eating and

less time drinking. The size of the meals the steers ate decreased, but their

eating rate per meal and per minute increased as the amount of DDGS included in

their diet increased.

“This information shows that changing the feeding management program can impact

animal growth and efficiency,” says Kendall Swanson, an Animal Sciences

Department associate professor who led this research. “More work is necessary to

fine-tune the time-of-day feeding work to optimize feed intake and growth.”

For more information about these studies, as well as other NDSU beef cattle and

range research, see the “2013 North Dakota Beef Report” at


Precision Agriculture Summit set for Jamestown Jan. 20-21


The Red River Valley Research Corridor has scheduled the third annual Precision

Agriculture Summit at the Farmers Union Conference Center in Jamestown on Jan.

20-21, 2014.

The Precision Agriculture Summit is organized by the Red River Valley Research

Corridor, North Dakota Farmers Union, Lake Region State College’s Dakota

Precision Ag Center and North Dakota State University’s Department of

Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering.

John Nowatzki, NDSU Extension Service agricultural machine systems specialist,

is collaborating with others to plan the summit and will be moderating crop

precision technology sessions.

“The summit is intended to be an opportunity for sharing precision agriculture

research, technology and needs among farmers, industry, consultants and

university personnel,” Nowatzki says. “The 2014 summit agenda includes

concurrent crop and livestock precision technology tracks. Parts of the agenda

are arranged for both tracks to come together for presentations applying to all

areas of precision agriculture.”

The main agenda focuses on new trends in precision agriculture technology, such

as Google Glass, unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and the economics of precision

agriculture. Presenters from Boeing Corporation and Trimble Navigation will

discuss their work with unmanned aircraft systems in agriculture.

Topics and presenters include:


* Google Glass precision agricultural applications – Jeff Caldwell, and Successful Farming magazine multimedia editor, and Bruce

Rasa, Inventive Branding managing consultant


* Macro and micro economics of current precision agriculture technologies –

Craig Smith, Fort Hayes State University, and David Roberts, NDSU assistant



* UAS applications in crop and livestock production – Kevin Price, Kansas State



* North Dakota UAS roadmap to establish a test site for the integration of

unmanned systems into the national airspace – Bob Becklund, Northern Plains

Unmanned Systems Authority executive director


* Overview of available UAS equipment and services – Ryan Jensen, HoneyComb UAS,

and Mitchel Fiene, DMZ Aerial


* Available cameras and sensor technologies for use on UAS – David Dvorak, Field

of View


* Moderator for the livestock precision agriculture track agenda – J.W

Schroeder, NDSU Extension diary specialist


* Michigan animal tracking system – Daniel Buskirk, Michigan State University

beef cattle nutrition specialist


* Use of electronic animal sensors for making comparisons of animal lying,

temperature and rumination and the use of 3D cameras to measure feed intake and

animal body conditions -Amanda Sterrett, University of Kentucky graduate

research assistant


* Current technology in cattle genetics – Lauren Hanna, NDSU Animal Sciences

assistant professor


* Cattle reproduction technologies – Carl Dahlen, NDSU Extension beef cattle



* Automated milking and feeding systems for cattle – James Salfer, University of

Minnesota Extension educator


* Dealing with soil variability – Dave Franzen, NDSU Extension Service soil

science specialist


* Accounting for soil salinity in zone management – Abbey Wick, NDSU Extension

soil health specialist and assistant professor


* Optical reflectance sensing of soil variability – Ken Sudduth, U.S. Department

of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service


* Current status and future trends in precision pesticide applications – Erdal

Ozkan, Ohio State University Extension


Speakers from commercial companies will discuss current services for making

detailed crop prescription maps and precision sprayer technology. The agenda

includes presenters from Monsanto, WinField Solutions, Pioneer, Hagie, Titan

Machinery and John Deere.

Sreekala Bajwa, NDSU Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Department chair,

will conclude the summit with a presentation titled “A Systems Approach to

Precision Ag in North Dakota Today and Tomorrow.”

For more information or to register, visit the Red River Valley Research

Corridor website at or

contact Ryan Aasheim at (701) 499-6994 or email




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