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Livestock

From the Barns — Foglesong: Markets now in panic

Astoria, Ill.

The fear and confusion surrounding the coronavirus has thrown all the markets into a panic and really cast a pall on our marketing plans. Going to grass with all of our 2019 calves looks like the only play to make right now. Putting off sale dates from this fall to next spring looks like a $200 a head bonus play. Keeping the calves from growing too big is the only challenge. The wheat we seeded last fall may be better utilized for steers than for our cows.

It’s been a great winter for feeding. Marketings and cattle weight are exceeding expectations. All of last year’s calves are on feed, and their mothers are getting fattened up nicely in anticipation of a new batch of calves due starting next month. The great start we had to March makes me nervous that there’s still another winter blast on our horizon, and I hope it doesn’t wait until April.

It’s dried off enough to do some manure hauling, so we’ve relieved the pressure on that project. Getting some new hay seeding done is a priority as soon as it dries just a little more. Some tracked up fields and lots will need a little seeding, too, when we find a few spare hours. It seems like any spare time we had all winter was spent in the shop fixing on any number of broken toys, and while we have shortened the list, there’s still lots of tools needing attention.

We’ve been hoping to make a run to Georgia and get our calves run through the chute for the first time and get the cows vaccinated before turning out the bulls. Unfortunately, it’s been raining every day and the pens would be a wreck in about 10 minutes, so we are in a holding pattern until it dries a bit.

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