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Get the most from your calves with BeefUp classes

Get the most from your calves with BeefUp classes

SDSU Cow calving season

Learn about the impacts that calving distribution has on profitability and how management decisions can dictate calving and improve future returns on calves.

South Dakota State University (SDSU) Extension will be presenting two BeefUP sessions in Watertown and Pierre this fall.

Content will discuss drivers that have historically affected sale-barn premiums based on calf uniformity, as well as provide a research update of current factors impacting calf prices across South Dakota sale barns.

“Cows that calve on time are the No. 1 predictor that cattle within that operation fit the managerial program. Furthermore, calf crops [that are] uniform in size and age have market advantages and exceed returns over calves that lack uniformity in both age and weight,” says Olivia Amundson, SDSU Extension Cow/Calf Field Specialist. “With receipts from cattle sales not always covering annual production costs, the need for added value is critical to producer success, therefore, management decisions made prior to the first calf hitting the ground can have significant impacts on the following breeding and calving seasons.”

Participants will have the opportunity to analyze their own calving distribution data, as well as tour prominent local operations that are already utilizing some of the strategies discussed in the course. Tours will allow participants the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of management strategies that positively influence calving distribution and the potential revenue associated with a consolidated calf crop, as well as valuable networking time with other progressive cattlemen and women.

“The BeefUP classes became a great guide for me to re-evaluate my management strategies and where I need to improve my shortcomings. From my calving distribution to my feeding program, and all the way to my general animal husbandry, BeefUP enhanced some of my practices while strengthening my weaknesses,” says Aaron Johnson, a participant in phase one of the BeefUP series, held virtually in January 2021. “Raising cattle has become more enjoyable with the knowledge I gained from other cattle growers and, of course, from the experts that presented at the BeefUP classes."

BeefUP — Calving Strategies for Market Advantages will be held Nov. 9 and 10 in Watertown at the Ramkota Hotel and Watertown Event Center and Dec. 7 and 8 in Pierre at the Ramkota Hotel and Conference Center. Meetings will begin each day at 8 a.m. CDT and conclude at 5 p.m.

Hotel rooms and travel to collaborator herd operations are covered under the North Central Risk Management Education Center grant. Travel to meetings and registration costs are to be covered by participants. Registration is $175 for an individual and $275 per couple and will assist in covering meals, snacks and drinks.

Following the series, the final aspect of the program is an on-farm consultation for each participant with members of the Extension BeefUp team. Consultations will focus on evaluating and implementing management strategies covered throughout the course. Through these discussions, participants will have the tools to improve calf uniformity and market competitiveness. Participants will have first access to sale-barn data collected this fall on how prices at the sale barn are influenced by calf uniformity, lot size, weight, hide color, sex and vaccinations.

To register visit the SDSU Extension Events page. For more information contact Amundson at 605-782-3290 or

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