January 28, 2021

From the Barns: Used to change

The ice and snow storm that ushered in the new year has finally cut back on the grazing opportunities our cows have enjoyed all fall. If we get a little warm-up, I’m sure afternoons will find the cowherds working back out to the stockpiled grass, but every morning the cows have trooped back to the feeding areas to see what we have to offer for the day. There’s a well-traveled trail cutting across the lane to my house that cows have made on their daily trek back to the pasture, and most mornings I find those same cows single-file marching through the dark to be on time for the feed truck. All of God’s creations seem to be creatures of habit.

The feedlot is full, and as soon as we ship out a couple of loads, their replacements are pulling in the drive. The huge piles of feed we built in the fall seem to be disappearing right before our eyes as all the cattle have really boosted their intake of feed. The weather for feeding has been great, and the cattle health has remained very good.

We took advantage of all the cow help being off their school routine and got a couple bunches of calves gathered and revaccinated. The first bunch we did even got weaned as soon as the vaccine had a couple of weeks to work in the calves. Our standard protocol is to revaccinate and then wean them after two weeks and then preg check the cows the next day. This system has been working really well. The trick is getting all the players’ schedules and the weather in sync. So far, it has worked out really well, but predicting the weather two weeks out is a crapshoot.

The year 2020 is now behind us, but will forever be remembered for all the craziness brought on by the pandemic. We have learned some new phrases like “social distancing” and “remote learning.” I’m sure in several instances our lives have been changed forever, from how and where we shop for everything to where we travel to and what we do when we get there. Big holiday gatherings that we have been used to are at least for a little longer viewed with quite a bit of trepidation.

In our line of work, staying apart isn’t too tough. We work outside, so we just go do what we usually do, only solo for the most part. I’m hopeful the recently rolled out vaccination program is effective and we can return to what always seemed normal. But we in agriculture are used to change, so it won’t be a big deal if this return to normalcy takes a little longer than is expected.

One of the biggest changes I’m looking forward to is the number in our family. Granddaughter Haley and her husband — and former employee — Jared announced they will be adding a new prospective cattleperson to our crew later this spring. This will be the first great grandchild for Linda and I, and we are very excited. It seems the Lord really knows how to patch up the hole in our heart left by the passing of Dad. A new grandchild is a great cure.

Steve Foglesong

Astoria, Ill.