January 28, 2021

From the Barns: A muddy mess

I always talk about our weather conditions, and I guess I knew that it was inevitable that things would eventually turn wet. We had been getting by so well, but a couple of weeks ago we started getting some rains every few days, and this time of year it can turn muddy so quickly. The water seems like it just stays on top of the ground, and of course we just don’t get good drying days this time of year even when the days are nice. With all the work we have done this fall, some of these feedlot pens still get bad, while others aren’t in too bad of shape yet. We may just have to avoid using some of these outside pens until we are able to get in and do some cleaning out.

We did get through the AI breeding season and all seemed to go well. I think every cow eventually came into standing heat and was bred and most of the heifers also. It is up to the bulls now to finish the job. We keep pretty good tabs on all cow groups and so far we have seen a few come back into heat, but for the most part not all that many, so hoping for good AI conception rates. Most of these fall calving cows are getting supplemental feed because of a lack of pasture and we continue to force feed mineral and Mix 30 to get these cows bred and keeping them that way.

We ended up placing 125 head of 7-weight bulls in around mid-December. The first 55 that came in have been giving us some fits with health problems, while the others have been cruising along pretty well. These types of cattle always seem to give us the worst health challenges. I read where they are one of the most susceptible groups to BRD, so I guess it is no surprise. The rest of the feeders we have started over the last couple of months continue to do very well in both performance and health.

We did get the three loads of fat heifers gone last month, as well as the two loads of 800-pound heifers that we sold. I had been writing about some heavy feeder steers that we didn’t get sold, so had decided to feed them out. Last week, however, we got a call from someone looking for some big steers and had a good bid for them, so we decided to go ahead and sell them. They had a pay weight of 1,039 pounds. Performance here was extremely good. With the muddy conditions facing us for the rest of this winter, that also factored in the decision to go ahead and move them. Coming up this month, we have one load of fats sold and ready to ship shortly and will also be moving out another three loads of 8-weight heifers that we have pre-sold on contract.

We may not bring in too many calves in the near future to avoid this mud, but if weather improves, we will be prepared to receive whatever we can hold. Hope that as we start this new year that 2021 doesn’t hold the problems and surprises that 2020 did. We believe it is all in God’s hands, and we will be content with whatever He sends our way. Hope everyone has a good January.

Jeff Beasley

Creal Springs, Ill.