Highlights, Presentations, and Decision Aids from the 2018 Northwest Florida Beef Conference

Ryon Walker, Noble Research Institute, was the keynote speaker at the 2018 Northwest Florida Beef Conference. Credit: Doug Mayo

Credit: Ashton Williams, Channel 13 News Panama City

The 33rd annual Northwest Florida Beef Conference & Trade Show was held on Wednesday, February 14. A record crowd of 180 ranchers, cattle industry professionals, and extension faculty participated in the event. There were five educational presentations, as well as a Trade Show of 21 businesses and organizations that provide products and services to the cattle industry in the region.

Ashton Williams, Channel 13 News Panama City captured some highlights from the Beef Conference. The photo to the right is a direct link to her news story about the event.

The focus of the program this year was “Fine-Tuning Management to Maintain Profitability.” The five presentations focused specifically on: where to begin, improving cow efficiency, market outlook, ranch analysis, hay vs. baleage, and feed supplementation based on hay test results. The following are the highlights from each speaker and a link to the printer friendly, pdf versions of their presentations. Also included are links to the two spreadsheet tools that were unveiled at the event.

1 – Fine Tuning Management – Where to Begin?

Credit: Nick Simmons, Escambia County Extension

Nick Simmons, Escambia County Extension Director got the program started with an overview of the key areas of ranch management that need focused attention. In the slide above, he provided an overview of his presentation. In order to make improvements in efficiency, you have to measure what you are currently doing, and set goals for improvement in the future.

Presentation link: Simmons Fine Tuning Management – Where to Begin?

2 – Measuring Cow Efficiency in the Herd

Credit: Ryon Walker, Noble Research Institute

Ryon Walker, Noble Research Institute, Oklahoma was the keynote speaker. He lead a thought provoking discussion on factors that can serve as important measures of efficiency in a cow herd. In the slide above, Ryon asked the audience to rank the importance of things cattlemen need to measure for each cow in the breeding herd.

Presentation link: Ryon Walker – Measuring Cow Efficiency

3 – Market Outlook and Ranch Analysis

Credit: Chris Prevatt, UF/IFAS Livestock Economist

Chris Prevatt, UF/IFAS Livestock Economist, provided a presentation that discussed the current cattle market outlook and a new spreadsheet tool he has developed to utilize the Schedule F Tax Form data to do simple ranch herd analysis. Using these types of data from some example herds in the state, Chris developed a breakdown of major expenses on a per cow basis, as seen in the slide above from his presentation.

Presentation link: Prevatt Market Outlook & Ranch Analysis
Link to download the Excel spreadsheet: UF Florida Ranch Analysis

4 – Stored Forage – Hay vs. Baleage

Credit: Kim Mullenix, Alabama Beef Specialist

Kim Mullenix, Alabama Beef Specialist, provided a presentation on the results of research trails comparing the costs and performance of cattle fed hay and baleage from annual crops and perennial warm season forages. In the slide above, Kim showed how high quality ryegrass baleage was adequate to meet the energy needs of a cow for almost the entire year with no supplement required, except for the two months of peak milk production.

Presentation link: Mullenix – Stored Forage – Hay vs. Baleage – Costs and Performance

5 – Supplement Selection based on Forage Test Results

Credit: Nicolas DiLorenzo

Nicolas DiLorenzo, UF/IFAS Beef Nutrition Specialist, discussed byproduct feed supplementation, and a new spreadsheet tool to help ranchers balance the supplemental feed needed for their hay based on the results of a forage test. In the slide above, Nicolas showed the summary page of the new “UF Hay Balancer” spreadsheet. This tool allows producers to balance the protein and energy requirements of cattle using their hay test results, and a variety of commonly available by-product feeds in the tri-state region, such as corn gluten feed, soyhulls, distillers grain, whole cottonseed and several others. This simple tool answers a good deal of common questions cattle producers have about what and how much to feed per head per day. This spreadsheet will help producers compare supplemental feeds, and provide an estimate of the cost and the amount of feed needed for the entire feeding period. For detailed instructions on how to use this spreadsheet, read Nicolas DiLorenzo’s article: Introducing the New UF Hay Balancer Decision-Aid for Cattle Ranchers.

Presentation link: DiLorenzo – Supplementation based on a Forage Test
Link to download the Excel spreadsheet: UF Hay Balancer Spreadsheet

Trade Show

Kingline Equipment display at the Northwest Florida Beef Conference. Credit Doug Mayo

In addition to the educational presentations, the Northwest Florida Beef Conference also featured a Trade Show of 21 businesses and organizations that provide products and services to cattle producers in the Tri-State region.

Special thanks to these organizations for sponsoring the event, and providing resource people to share the latest products and services offered to cattle ranchers in the region. Without their support, an event of this magnitude would not be possible. If you need to contact any of the representatives again, use the email link below to Doug Mayo, and I can share that with you. A special thank you is also in order for the Jackson County Cattlemen’s famous “Cooking Crew” for grilling some wonderful New York Strip steaks for everyone to enjoy for lunch.

Panhandle Extension Beef & Forage Team

The Northwest Florida Beef Conference & Trade Show is a regional educational event provided by the dedicated County Agents and State Specialists serving cattle producers in the Florida Panhandle. To discuss how the ideas presented at the Beef Conference might be utilized to improve the efficiency of your cattle operation, contact the County Agent serving your home county.


Posted: February 26, 2018

Category: Agriculture, Livestock

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