GFM Network News


A hay sample being emptied into a bucket.

Forage analysis valuable in developing winter feeding program

Determining the nutrient content of forages and other feeds through laboratory analysis is the best way to design a nutrition program that meets livestock requirements

Laboratory analysis to determine the quality of feedstuffs was developed more than 150 years ago. “Since that time, the ability to accurately analyze forages has greatly improved, as has the ability to use results to improve livestock feed efficiency and performance,” says Janna Block, extension livestock systems specialist at NDSU’s Hettinger Research Extension Center. “However, this valuable management

Weather conditions during field drying, after plants are frozen, impact the colour of the harvested soybeans.

Management tips for frost-damaged soybeans

Soybeans killed at growth stages of full seed development and beginning maturity should be left out in the field to dry before harvest

An early frost has producers wondering what to do with immature frost-damaged soybeans. “Soybeans killed at growth stages of full seed development (R6) and beginning maturity (R7) should be left out in the field to dry and harvested along with mature soybeans (R8) when the beans are at the desired moisture content,” advises Ken Hellevang,


Cattle try to avoid heat stress by 
standing in a slough.

Watch for heat stress, summer pneumonia in beef cattle

The combination of heat and humidity can create stress on livestock

Summers usually are mild on the Great Plains, compared with other regions, but hot, humid days do occur and can be dangerous and even deadly for cattle. “The combination of heat and humidity creates stress on livestock because respiration is the predominant route for cooling,” says Karl Hoppe, Extension livestock systems specialist at North Dakota

For the past decade, North Dakota State University has conducted field research on bean yields versus plant population and row size.

Dry beans respond to row spacing and plant population

Trials on black and navy beans show a slight advantage to narrow spacing and higher plant population

Narrower row spacing and higher plant populations have some advantage in dry bean production, according to research by North Dakota State University. For the past decade, NDSU has been conducting field research examining the response of black, navy and pinto beans to different combinations of row spacings and plant populations to identify optimum seed yield. Research focused on black and navy beans grown

The key to treating a calf with scours is to identify the problem and treat the animal early.

Diarrhea can be deadly for calves

A number of different factors can cause this serious issue

Cattle producers need to be on the lookout for calf diarrhea, according to North Dakota State University Extension livestock experts. The majority of scours, or diarrhea, cases occur when calves are three to 16 days old. Untreated calves essentially die of shock from a loss of fluids and electrolyte imbalances. “Calf scours is most often


Getting ready ahead of time can help ensure a successful calving season.

Prepare for spring calving

A few simple steps can set your operation up for success

Planning and preparing for the calving season can help not only minimize calf losses but also improve calves’ performance, according to North Dakota State University Extension livestock specialists. The nutrition status of the calving herd is one issue to consider in preparing for the upcoming spring calving season. “Although this should be an earlier concern,

This cow herd at NDSU’s Dickinson Research Extension Center is in the last trimester of gestation.

Body condition vital to calving success

Proper feed, good water and a reasonable space with wind protection will keep a cow content

During the last trimester of pregnancy in beef cows, the fetus grows rapidly, placing increasing nutrient demands on the cow. In addition, cold weather increases the cow’s nutrient requirements. “Body condition plays an important role in successfully wintering beef cows,” says Yuri Montanholi, North Dakota State University Extension beef cattle specialist. “Late weaning, overstocking, late

A producer uses a bale processor to feed hay.

Steps to stretch limited hay supplies

All options must be closely evaluated while keeping an eye on the bottom line to ensure carrying animals through winter is realistic

Harvest and transport challenges have left many livestock producers facing a shortage of hay. That has some producers worrying they do not have enough forage on hand at this time to meet winter feed needs. “There are numerous strategies that can be used to help stretch limited forage supplies,” said Janna Block, extension livestock systems


Corn is testing on the lighter side this year, leading to producer concern.

What factors influence corn test weight?

Drying can increase the number, but drying at too high temperatures can limit the gain

Poor growing and harvesting conditions this year have producers concerned about the test weight of their corn. “Many factors influence the measured test weight of corn, including the physical characteristics of the kernel such as size, density, shape and surface of the kernel,” says Ken Hellevang, North Dakota State University Extension agricultural engineer. Hybrid differences

A producer samples standing forage as part of an extension
mineral-testing program.

Mineral nutrition vital for summer cattle grazing programs

Forage testing offers the potential to improve livestock performance and reduce costs

Proper mineral nutrition is important for optimal cattle reproductive performance, milk production, calf weight gain and a strong immune system, according to Janna Block, North Dakota State University Extension livestock specialist at the Hettinger Research Extension Center. Required minerals for livestock are classified into two general groups: micro- and macro-minerals, based on the quantity required.