Cattle producers fighting the daily battle to make feed rounds and remove snow now have another way to get vital, up-to-date information on relevant issues pertaining to the cattle industry and the state without leaving their homes.
North Dakota State University Extension Service and county agents have teamed up once again to post a series of 10-minute educational Web videos where experts will discuss a variety of specific and general cattle topics ranging from the upcoming calving difficulties due to the heavy snowfall in the state to general management practices.
"People are so busy this winter and are so reluctant to go out because they don't know if they are going to get home that we thought it would be best if they could just sit down for 10 minutes at their computer," said John Dhuyvetter, livestock systems extension agent for Ward County and creator of the Web series.
The idea for the educational Web video came to Dhuyvetter after he noticed a decline in attendance for their traveling educational lecture series due to the poor weather and road conditions. Having viewed and participated in Web discussions previously, Dhuyvetter said he decided to try it for himself. The videos, posted every Tuesday morning, began on Feb. 10 and will run through March 17. Dhuyvetter said the videos will remain on the North Central Research Extension Center's home Web site through the summer, giving busy producers plenty of time to view them.
This is the second series to be posted, although most visting the Web site don't know that.
"We started this Web series last fall but we didn't tell anybody about it so we only had around 400 hits, so this time we wanted to bring more attention to them and hopefully increase our hits by three or four times," Dhuyvetter said.
NDSU's cattlemen web video series schedule
Feb. 24: Calving difficulties
March 3: Preparing for calving
March 10: Calf health and management
March 17: Internal cattle parasites
To access: Visit the North Central Research Extension Center's home Web page at (www.ag.ndsu.nodak.edu/minot) and click on the Cattlemens' Web Updates link.
To advertise, the NDSU Extension Service sent out e-mail and postcard reminders to producers on their e-mail list as well as put up posters at auction houses or other areas where cattle producers were known to frequent. Already Dhuyvetter and others are getting feedback from the videos, mostly in the form of follow-up questions by phone calls and emails.
The second series of the Cattlemen Updates opened Feb. 10 with a talk about late-gestation nutrition from Raquel Dugan-Dibble, McHenry County extension agent and on Tuesday, Dhuyvetter discussed different nutritional options for the numerous producers facing hay shortages due to the low starting supply and the harsh winter conditions which have depleted the feed at an expedited pace.
Dhuyvetter enlisted the help of other county extension agents to plan and produce the video segments with timely topics. From the setting up of video equipment to editing the final product, he said each 10-minute video takes approximately one to two hours to create.
"It's a pretty convenient way for us and hopefully it's convenient and helpful for producers in the area," Dhuyvetter said. "Anytime we can get information out that's convenient and supplements the other venues we use to get information out, I'm happy."
He added that he plans to put on the six to eight-week video Web series twice a year in fall and spring so that he and his colleagues can address issues pertinent to the time of year. The fall series, scheduled for October and November, will discuss marketing topics and calf weaning issues while the spring series, scheduled for February and March, will focus on nutrition, calving and the buying of bulls.