Now that our weather has returned the end of the growing season back to the way it started out – wet — it’s hard to remember that there was a drought period stuck in the middle that really impacted how our crops and pastures developed. We humans have such a short memory and habit of living in the moment that it’s understandable how the whole “global warming/climate change” conversation got its start. Here in Illinois we know the only thing we can count on weather-wise is that it’s about to change.
The fall pasture situation has been great, but after the latest cold spell, it looks like grazing is winding down for the year and some supplemental feed will be in order for the cows before too long. A second round of vaccine and then weaning of our calves is moving into focus on our priority list after being completely dismissed during harvest. The limited number of acres we got seeded to wheat look great, and we have cows grazing there now. What to do with excess wheat we have for seed is a question mark, though — keep it, feed it, or sell it? Probably a coin toss. We completed the sorghum/sudan harvest before the rain and snow hit and blended it in the pile with corn silage. We’d hoped to seed wheat behind this crop, but it’s so late that seeding to wheat seems a waste of seed and manpower.
There’s been lots of cattle movement at the feedlot with incoming cattle matching the outflow to market. We’ve moved some of our long weaned Georgia calves into the barn mostly because lot conditions deteriorated with the rain and snow, and it’s so much easier to get feed to the calves when mud isn’t a factor. The finished cattle market has come back nicely and is making it easier to move cattle on to market. The feeder market hasn’t followed suit, however, and with the spring board prices moving higher, many producers are opting to feed out their cattle rather than accept what’s currently being offered. Just like the changing weather I mentioned earlier, change is the only constant in cattle marketing, too.
We’ve been sandwiching in a little manure pumping when time and soil condition allow, but hopefully we can bring the harvest to a conclusion in the next couple of weeks and get some serious gallons spread out on the fields before the ground freezes up. Good luck in wrapping up your 2019. It’s been a wild ride.