This time of year, from late October until late November, always reminds me of these lines from James Whitcomb Riley: “When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock.” The grain crops have been harvested, the hay is in the barn, the calves are weaned and the firewood is stacked ready to burn. Another growing season has gone by, and winter preparation is underway with planning for next year’s growing season.

My cows have been grazing soybean stubble and adjacent field edges, waterways and hillsides for the last few weeks, and I am ready to start supplementing that with some hay, although not yet a full ration. Along with that chore, I am still working on some fence repair, especially in my corral and cattle working area, where a skittish cow jumped a fence and did some damage to the boards and support post. I was also able to sell a load of scrap metal last week, a number of old gates, broken fence posts and the like, which have accumulated over the last year. In our area, scrap is $120 per ton, or 6 cents per pound, so you get paid to recycle it instead of paying to dispose of it as trash. Recycling the metal is much better than burying it in a landfill and less energy intensive than mining iron ore.

As this is the last column for the year, I’d like to thank Ashley Langreck and James Henry from Indiana AgriNews for giving me the opportunity to pen this column weekly throughout the growing season. I’d also like to thank the readers of this column and hope that you’ve enjoyed the activities on our small cattle, hay and timber operation in south-central Indiana during this past growing season.

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