Western Center for Integrated Resource ManagementWestern Center for Integrated Resource Management

Community Resources



What if you could use the internet to discover:

  • The latest research and technology used in the beef industry?
  • Ways to improve or begin your beef enterprise?
  • Software and calculation templates to easily make important decisions for your operation?

Well, you can use the internet to obtain valuable information to successfully run your business. There are numerous websites listed below that are categorized to help direct your search.  Although there are many helpful websites available, this list comes from faculty, staff, and Extension specialists at Colorado State University. These are websites that are useful to them and will be practical for ranchers.  Many land grant universities, companies in the beef industry, and organizations dedicated to the beef industry offer valid information that is current to assist agricultural producers, like ranchers, with opportunities to improve and thrive. So start up your computer and navigate your mouse to some of these sites where you will find useful information to apply to your cattle herd.


View a list of  Community Resources

General Herd Management

Sometimes ranchers get bogged down in only one component of management, like reproduction or herd health. Although these components are significant, it is important to integrate every aspect of herd management together into a system. Nutrition, reproduction, herd health, economics, marketing, and range management all affect and influence one another, so your management plan must include them all. Below are websites that provide management information for bulls, cows and calves, stocker and feedlot cattle, as well as standard operating procedures and information on drought management.

  • Beef Stocker USA
    • Stocker/Backgrounder Yearlings: Fact sheets, research, prices, information, calculators, nutrient analysis, preconditioning survey, and other links
      http://beefstockerusa.org/
  • BEEF Magazine
    • Cow-Calf Resource Guide: Alternative feeds, biosecurity, breeding and genetics, bull management, calendars for production, calving management, carcass, drought management, facilities and equipment, harvested forage, health, info management, marketing and business management, nutrition, pasture and range management, pest management, production management, quality assurance, ranch horses, reproduction, waste management, and weaning management
      http://www.beefcowcalf.com/
  • Colorado State University-Beef Team
  • Iowa State University - Iowa Beef Center
  • Oklohoma State University - Beef Extension
    • Beef Cattle Resources: Breed information, breed associations, breeders list, cattle organization, central bull test stations, collections of publications, commercial pages, cooperative extension programs, diseases, disorders, pests, genetics and selection, general information, nutrition and feeding, production and husbandry, online magazines, production videos, reproduction, sire summaries, and software
      http://www.ansi.okstate.edu/library/cattbeef.html

    • Bulls: Management, post-weaning evaluation programs, and use of yearling bulls
      http://beefextension.com/new%20site%202/ccbull.html

    • Cow-Calf: Beef improvement terminology, body condition scoring, choosing calving and weaning seasons, cow herd calendar, freeze branding, implanting, lease agreements, nutrition and management for precondition, production practices, shrink and weighing conditions, Standardized Performance Analysis (SPA)
      http://beefextension.com/new%20site%202/ccmang.html

    • Stocker/Backgrounder: Freeze branding, implanting, livestock branding, managing shrink and weighing conditions, and reducing winter feeding costs
      http://beefextension.com/new%20site%202/scmang.html

    • Receiving and Feedlot: Feedlot and carcass performance, implanting, and managing shrink and weighing conditions
      http://beefextension.com/new%20site%202/rfmang.html

  • University of Arizona
  • Land O' Lakes
    • Feedlot: Closeout summaries, receiving cattle strategies, starting cattle tips, starting cattle for performance, healthy calf values, best place to feed cattle, managing cold weather, backgrounding calves, winter feedlot management, feed management, feed intake patterns, reducing heat stress, death loss costs, facilities, self feeder management, basic ruminant nutrition, and managing bullers
      http://www.beeflinks.com/articles.htm

Breeding/Genetics/Reproduction

Reproduction and the genetics of the herd can set your operation apart from others and allow you to be more marketable. Finding ways to be more efficient in calving, using reproductive technologies, and understanding the estrous cycle more for management purposes can really increase your opportunities for generating more profit. Below are resources that include estrus synchronization protocols and recommendations, heat detection methods, breed associations, expected progeny differences, bull management, and overall herd reproductive management.

Health and Disease

Knowing how to manage your herd for diseases for both treatment and prevention is also an important component of ranch management. Beef producers should understand disease agents, risk factors, and health conditions specific to their area to develop a particular health program for their operation. In this section, there are lists of calf vaccinations, as well as common diseases and their treatments in cow-calf herds, stocker/backgrounder cattle, and feedlots. Also, being aware of global diseases and having a biosecurity plan can decrease the probability of your herd becoming infected.

Nutrition

Cattle nutrition involves the processes by which cattle utilize feeds available to them for body maintenance and production. Nutrition influences an animal’s ability to perform, grow, lactate, and reproduce. It is important to understand the cattle’s diet and requirements to be a successful rancher. The websites below include information about nutrient requirements for beef cattle, nutritive values of feeds, byproduct feeds, feeding in winter/drought conditions, and supplementation. Some of the websites also include publications and lists of feeds available.

Forage/Grazing Management

To be a sustainable rancher, the rangeland must be managed to provide enough feed and nutrients for the herd year after year. With adequate knowledge and understanding of range ecology and management, your rangeland can be more resilient to disturbances like drought and overgrazing. This concept is often overlooked in ranching. Below are some very informative websites about different range management strategies. There is no single strategy that will work for everyone. You need to find what works best for your operation. The websites include weed control, manure management, rotational grazing, and ways to improve your land for sustainability and profitability.

Meat Science

Knowing about meat science relates to understanding the quality of your product. It is beneficial to your operation if you can become knowledgeable about the entire beef industry. Some of your management practices could be affecting your meat quality. Therefore, it is important to know what influences meat quality, which can help with your marketing practices. Below are websites that include organizations in the meat industry, as well as university information about meat science, quality grades, and yield grades.

Facilities/Handling

Understanding and observing livestock behavior can lower the stress levels of cattle, which improves performance as well as making animal handling less labor intensive for the rancher. Some of this may seem like common sense, but this is often ignored by the rancher. Adequate facilities and equipment are necessary to handle, feed, and market cattle for optimum performance. Small changes in your management and facilities can really make your job easier and more efficient. This list of websites includes the basics of animal handling and stockmanship guidelines/practices and facility designs.

Economics

Ranchers need to understand economics to become sustainable and profitable. Every rancher needs to find ways to either increase their revenue, decrease their costs, or both. Good managers learn to continually rethink their decisions as economical, technological, and environmental conditions change. I have provided numerous resources that give tips on record-keeping and general office management, budgeting, investments, risk management, tax management, and labor issues. I have also put together a list of templates and calculators that are specific to the beef industry. This will help ranchers make good decisions on what to feed or how to market.

Marketing

Along with economics, marketing is another area where most ranchers could often improve. By understanding the consumers’ demand and the quality of your cattle/product (whether going to a feedlot or to slaughter), you can appropriately market your product to increase your profit. Once you identify your consumers and the quality of your product, you can find ways to add value to your product or find niche markets. The websites in this section include quality assurance programs, marketing associations, Country of Origin Labeling, animal and premise identification, auctions, value-added products, and niche marketing.

  • Auctions/Marketing Programs
    • DVAuction: Livestock markets, production sales, country auctions, and seminars
      http://www.dvauction.com/
    • Live Cattle Auctions: Live auctions, country cattle, video catalog, commodities, market reports, and cattlemen’s center
      http://www.cattleusa.com/
    • Superior Livestock Auction: Video auction, internet auction, private treaty/country page, and Superior Productions
      www.superiorlivestock.com
  • Colorado State University-Beef Team
  • Forecasts and Market Reports
    • Cattle Fax: News, data, analysts, research, publications, industry links and resources
      http://www.cattlefax.com/
    • Cattle Trader Center: Market data, cattle analyzer, cash charts, cattle on feed, beef production, beef exports, cattle trader’s scorecard, livestock prices, feeder cattle prices, cattle inventory, cattle slaughter, U.S. cattle on feed, feedyards by size, U.S. cattle operations, and much more
      http://www.cattletradercenter.com/
    • Land O’ Lakes: Futures, charts, options, livestock reports, cattle outlook, price forecast for fed cattle and feeders, KSU cattle charts, western video market, auction results, and 5 year historic cattle basis
      http://www.beeflinks.com/markets.htm
  • Iowa State University-Iowa Beef Center
    • Economics and Markets: Beef quality, economics and business, newsletters, and policy and law
      http://www.iowabeefcenter.org/content/economics.html
    • End Product/ Beef Quality: U.S. standards for grades of feeder cattle, Beef Quality Assurance guidelines (Iowa), quality and yield grades (factors that drive carcass values), marketing what’s under the hide, and Ultrasound Guidelines Council
      http://www.iowabeefcenter.org/content/economics_endproduct.html
    • Feedlot Production Management: Alternative cattle finishing system, livestock enterprise budgets, summary of livestock estimate returns, definition of a professional feedlot, business plan template, cash flow planning tool (Excel), feedlot systems manual, byproduct feed price listing, factors affecting cattle feeding profitability and cost of gain, seasonal performance, feedyard labor cost survey, feedlot monitoring software, feeder cattle bid calculator, cattle market planner, and cattle feeding budgets with breakeven estimation
      http://www.iowabeefcenter.org/content/economics_biz_feedlot_production.html
    • Feedlot Marketing: Assessing the cost of beef quality, back grounding profitability, cattle price forecast errors in the last 10-15 years (futures and seasonal index), change in cattle prices from 1998-2007, optimal marketing dates for feedlot enterprise profitability, optimal marketing weight for fed cattle (calculator), and managing cattle price risk
      http://www.iowabeefcenter.org/content/economics_biz_feedlot_marketing.html
    • Marketing: Cattle marketing assessment tool, managing for the cattle market, Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC) publications, feeder cattle marketing, marketing cull cows, value of third-party certification claims at feeder cattle auctions, electronic beef marketing technology, price slides for feeder cattle, fed cattle quality, forward marketing fed cattle, and feeder cattle production and marketing
      http://www.iowabeefcenter.org/content/economics_biz_cow-calf_marketing.html
    • Marketing Systems/ Value-Added Programs: Grid marketing, forward contracting, futures and options, market risk management, livestock market risk insurance, niche markets, and verification programs
      http://www.iowabeefcenter.org/content/economics_marketing.html
    • Stocker Production Management: Revenue insurance for livestock producers, feeder cattle replacement strategies, managing cattle price risk with futures and options contract, livestock risk protection insurance for cattle, and livestock risk protection for fed cattle
      http://www.iowabeefcenter.org/content/economics_biz_stocker_feeder.html
  • Marketing Organizations
  • Niche Market
  • Oklahoma State University - Beef Extension
    • Cow/Calf Marketing: USDA Country of Origin Labeling Affidavit, beef industry alliances, understanding livestock pricing issues, feeder cattle basis by weight groups, price premiums, buyer preferences for feeder calf traits, basic facts on source and age verification (PVP and QSA programs), cull cow grazing and marketing opportunities, ranchers guide to custom cattle feeding, impacts of consumer characteristics and perceptions, effect of selected characteristics on the sale price of feeders, and effects of preconditioning on health, performance, and price of weaned calves
      http://beefextension.com/new%20site%202/ccmarket.html
    • Stocker Cattle Marketing: USDA Country of Origin Labeling Affidavit, beef industry alliances, understanding livestock pricing issues, feeder cattle basis by weight groups, and basic facts on source and age verification (PVP and QSA programs)
      http://beefextension.com/new%20site%202/scmarket.html
    • Receiving and Feedlot Market: USDA Country of Origin Labeling Affidavit, fed cattle price discovery issues and projections, understanding livestock pricing issues, structural changes in cattle feeding and meat packing, fed cattle pricing (live and dressed weight, grid pricing basics, and basis contracts), grid pricing fed cattle (base prices and premiums-discounts, risk and information), beef industry alliances and vertical agreements, formula pricing fed cattle with wholesale and futures markets, fed cattle market simulator applications, grid pricing calculator, cattle feeders’ marketing and pricing practices, producer signals and incentives with grid pricing, extent and value of retail beef brands, value discovery issues for fed cattle, carcass discounts and grid pricing implications, grid pricing usage by cattle feeders, fed cattle market simulator, and basic facts on source and age verification (PVP and QSA programs)
      http://beefextension.com/new%20site%202/rfmarket.html
  • University of Wyoming
    • Western Farm Management Extension Commitee
      • Marketing: (Go to Web Articles, then Marketing Articles) Commodity, consumer issues, globalization, marketing concepts, and managing for the cattle market and beyond
        http://agecon.uwyo.edu/WFMEC/
  • Value-Added

Policy/Law

Because there are less and less people entering the agriculture industry, it is imperative that ranchers stay involved in politics to protect themselves. This section involves some laws and regulations that every agriculturalist should be aware of; for example, the farm bill and branding laws. Also provided below are associations in the beef industry that are involved in politics and the protection of ranchers.

Enviroment/Welfare

In today’s society, more and more people are concerned about the environment and animal welfare. Most of the problem is that the public is not educated on agricultural production; therefore there is often a misunderstanding on why ranchers and farmers do what they do. The other part of the problem is that agriculturalists do not always do the best they can with conservation practices and proper animal treatment. Below is a list of websites that include organizations that provide regulations, want to conserve what little land is leftover from development, and are against agricultural practices. There are also websites that provide information on animal welfare and the environmental impact from the beef industry.

Publications

This is a list of multiple sites that include publications with information about the beef industry in various segments and categories.