Oklahoma Water Resources Center

Website for beef producers packed with plenty of free resources

1/31/2013

STILLWATER, Okla. – There is a website for everything these days. So it is no surprise there is a comprehensive one-stop online shop for all things beef related, including extensive drought specific information and resources.

The website, www.beefextension.com, is a collaborative effort between the animal science and agricultural economics departments in the Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at Oklahoma State University.

The site targets producers and others in the beef industry.

“Overall, we like to provide as much research based information as we can,” said Damona Doye, OSU Cooperative Extension farm management specialist.

The site offers plenty of guidance, advice and insight – and most of it is free.

In addition to fact sheets related to the care and management of cow/calf and stocker cattle, the site includes links to beef related initiatives such as the OSU Master Cattleman program, as well as other materials such as research reports, academic opportunities and a listing of OSU beef facilities.

Beyond in-depth material on a wide range of topics, site touts a number of free downloadable calculators, spreadsheets and tools that can be customized to a producer’s unique circumstances. For instance, RANCHCALC is an overall farm/operation tool, while the OSU Cowculator is a software program designed to help producers make informed decisions about cow nutrition.

Users also can tap into resources like the Cow Repurchase Decision tool, Bull Investment Cost Analysis and CowGame, a beef herd genetic simulation program.

One of the few for-charge tools on the site is the OSU Enterprise Budget software, which is designed to help estimate production costs and returns based on management practices and current and expected economic conditions. 

From the front page of the website, users can directly access drought related materials such as maps, as well as information on forages, hay listings, supplementation, management practices, finances and policy.

Producers also can link to Oklahoma Mesonet for weather and climate data.

“Certainly while our weather patterns are out of the norm, having the best available information at your fingertips to inform your decisions is really important,” Doye said.

Furthermore, when there is stress on production, like that caused by the current drought, it generally leads to financial stress, Doye said. Consequently, it is critical to stay on top of things.

“It’s important, particularly related to financial stress, to meet the problems head on. People tend to want to put their heads in the sand and hope things will get better,” she said. “Maybe they will, but maybe they won’t. You can end up digging a pretty big hole if you don’t attack it head on and take precautionary measures.”

And that is where www.beefextension.com can come into play with its extensive collection of data and customizable instruments.

Doye said site contributors frequently use insights from producers to drive ideas for content, and she encouraged users to contact their local county Extension office with ideas on ways to further enhance the current offerings. For instance, Doye noted one colleague is beginning to develop apps for smartphones and tablets in response to the growing need for such technology.

“We’re always interested in feedback that might be useful,” she said.

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Oklahoma State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, State and Local Governments Cooperating: The Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability, or status as a veteran, and is an equal opportunity employer.

REPORTER/MEDIA CONTACT:

Leilana McKindra
Communications Specialist
Agricultural Communications Services
140 Agriculture North
Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, OK 74078
Phone: 405-744-6792
Fax: 405-744-5739
Email: leilana.mckindra@okstate.edu

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