Management of livestock resources in Iowa

Management of livestock resources in Iowa

A close look at the Livestock Enterprise Budget for Iowa in 2021 will reveal the overall estimates of production costs for regular livestock enterprises in Iowa. These estimates project average and above-average levels of management using simple technology. Farm record summaries, feed consumption, price projections, and research formed the core of the data. As an individual farmer, input requirements and expected costs will vary. The budget merely acts as a guide in your decision-making process.

Livestock management involves raising farm animals from the day they are born to the point of marketing, disposal, or consumption. What this article sets out to do, is to highlight those areas of academic research on livestock management that are beneficial to your farm. There are numerous livestock resources. Some of the ones we will be highlighting include the following:

  • Beef
  • Dairy
  • Swine
  • Poultry and egg production
  • Equine
  • Manure and air quality


The Iowa Beef Center at Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, serves as an extension program for cattle producers. It comprises a committed group of staff and faculty from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, The College of Veterinary Medicine, and Iowa State University Extension and Research. They work together to deliver research-based information to improve the vitality and profitability of Iowa's beef industry. Some of the information you will find include:

  • Cattle Health and wellbeing
  • Environmental management
  • Cow-calf management
  • Economics and markets
  • Feedlot management
  • Facilities
  • Feedstuffs
  • Stocker/backgrounder
  • Forages, Hay and Grazing


There are resources to help you improve business management for your dairy farm. The Extension and Outreach Dairy Team at ISU also provides information on quality management, animal nutrition for your farm, and the environment coupled with caring for dairy animals. In 2020, the Center for Survey, Statistics, and Methodology-Survey Research Services conducted an online survey with dairy farmers in Iowa. The survey aimed to learn about the current operations, needs, and expectations for the future. Dairy specialists from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach were the principal investigators who coordinated the survey. Their results provided insights on the current state of the dairy industry in Iowa which is accessible to educators, elected officials, industry collaborators, and the public. The findings will also help audiences understand the demographic of dairy farms, management practices, and the industry's future. Other resources that you can get from the team at ISU include

  • Herd management
  • Dairy Farm Management
  • Dairy Facilities and Milking
  • Farm Stress
  • Dairy Education
  • Dairy Team Videos


The coordinated effort by the Colleges of Veterinary Medicine and Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State University established the Iowa Pork Center. The center collaborates with other commercial entities and agencies to educate and inform industry stakeholders. IPIC can help you receive timely and accurate information that will make your operations more efficient and profitable. Some of the resources in this industry are listed below.

  • Breeding and Reproduction
  • Animal Welfare and Handling
  • Economics and Marketing
  • Diseases and Health
  • Environment
  • Employee Training and Managing
  • Niche Production
  • Facilities
  • Nutrition
  • Pork Quality and Safety

Poultry and Egg Production

Organizations like the Egg Industry Center aim to add value to the egg industry through facilitating learning and research for egg producers, consumers, and processors through national and international collaboration. The center meets its outreach and research goals by identifying industry needs, communicating solutions to audiences through the egg industry and consuming the public, and identifying and attracting funds to high priorities to accomplish more effective problem-solving. The resources they provide in this area are listed.

  • US Flock Tends and Projection Reports
  • US Egg Costs and Prices Reports
  • Food and Feed Safety
  • Animal Care
  • Production, Storage and Transport
  • Environment
  • Labor and Worker Safety


The Equine Science Program at Iowa State University Extension and Outreach aims to provide education focused on selection and genetics, business management, nutrition and health of the horse, and general equine husbandry and care. Resources under this category include

  • Equine Management
  • Iowa Horse Judges

Manure and Air Quality

Potential gaseous emissions and manure from animal feeding operations and air quality are the primary sources of concern among Iowans. Rural residents are disturbed by emissions and odors from AFOs that could affect their health, environment, and property values. Livestock producers are concerned with possible effects on their employees and family members, the health and productivity of the livestock, and the environment. More information on this is available on the Animal Agriculture and Air Quality website. Key areas to consider are:

  • Publications and Research reports
  • Policy and Regulations

There are also resources, like the Air Management Practices Assessment Tool (AMPAT) which, gives an objective overview of mitigation practices. They address emissions, odor, and dust at your livestock operation so that poultry and livestock producers can compare and streamline their options of mitigation techniques. These practices apply to the following;

  • Manure storage and handling
  • Animal Housing
  • Land Application

In addition, the Iowa Manure Management Action Group provides information on animal feeding operations. It also provides Manure Applicator Certification (MAC) for the state of Iowa in collaboration with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Some of the information you will find will feature the following.

  • Manure Applicator Certification
  • Plans, Permits, and Regulations
  • The Manure Scoop blog
  • Publications and Reports
  • Manure Videos

The role of technology in livestock operations

In an industry with an increasing number of animals for each worker, it becomes imperative to use technology for monitoring round the clock. Depending on the physiological state, age, and other factors, animals may dedicate a more or less determined number of hours to eating, drinking, resting, and interacting with other animals. This phenomenon, also known as the time budget, may indicate a problem or change in status. Hence, technology can be used to create alerts and identify behavior patterns when a deviation occurs.


You can contact us at Midwest Land Management for anything you want to know about the various aspects of livestock production. We are fully licensed to serve clients in Iowa, Minnesota, and South Dakota.