Day I: All Things BEEF
All Things BEEF is the theme of the first day of the New Mexico Youth Ranch Camp. Dina Chacon-Reitzel, Executive Director of the New Mexico Beef Council, will set the stage for BEEF Day by providing the participants with an overview of the beef industry. Dina will explain how consumer demand and preferences drive this dynamic and challenging industry.
Participants, under the skilled guidance of Dr. Jack Thomas, New Mexico State University, will begin the day by breaking down a beef carcass into the end-products that consumers customarily purchase. The handling and management of cattle has a great impact on the quality of beef and Dr. Thomas will discuss the key factors that determine beef quality.
Dr. John Wenzel, Extension Veterinarian, will use the National Beef Quality Assurance program to teach participants proper vaccine handling, proper injection site, and good health management. A chute-side demonstration will provide participants with an understanding of how these techniques are used on the ranch.
The day will end with nutrition and reproduction, which are the first steps in producing a healthy beef animal and herd. A balanced nutrition program is an essential component of a beef cattle enterprise. Dr. Eric Sholljegerdes, Assistant Professor Animal Science, New Mexico State University, will engage participants in discussion and a demonstration of key points to develop a cost-effective nutrition program for the cowherd and weaned calves in the Southwest.
Participants will also gain an understanding of the bovine reproductive tract, the estrus cycle, and the application of advanced technologies to increase the effectiveness of reproductive management. Throughout the entire camp experience, camp program leaders will emphasize the importance of being good stewards of the land.
Understanding forage production and calculating proper stocking rates will also be covered, as they are critical to sustain a valuable resource. At the end of the day, participants will gain an understanding of key management practices vital to the ultimate profitability and sustainability of an operation.