October 19, 2021

From the Barns: Tightening our belts

Spring is in full swing. Lots of green, green grass and baby calves everywhere. We have moved calving back further and further to avoid miserable weather and yet it still seems pretty darned chilly here in mid-May some mornings. Corn planting, manure hauling and feeding cattle are top priorities, but will very soon give way to chopping wheat and baling hay.

The grain market is out of control and all our feed ingredients have moved dramatically higher. Hopefully, cattle markets will follow the grain market and move higher in time to salvage some profitability for cattle feeders. Unfortunately, something has to give and feeder cattle markets are absorbing the high feed cost and moving cheaper even in the face of grass fever.

We are sending lighter-weight calves back to grass to grow up and get into the cheaper — laugh-out-loud $6 — 2021 corn crop to finish. Cash grain looks to be so profitable this year it will be hard to want to make too much corn silage for cow feed. Aftermath grazing and fall-seeded wheat will be important feed staples for next winter and prior planning will be important.

Limited windows of opportunity for field work have kept us from getting done pumping manure and now we are in “pump and plant” mode and are moving through our acreage field by field. Corn planting following wheat harvest will start in the next couple of weeks. Temperature and rainfall will determine the exact starting date and the pace we will have depending on how quick the wheat matures.

Grandson Keegan decided to follow his heart and has joined the military and headed to boot camp in Georgia. Fortunately, my army of grandkids are out of school and ready and able to pick up the reins and pitch in to get all the projects completed in a timely fashion. Be safe, Keegan and all of you, as the business of spring heats up.

Steve Foglesong

Steve Foglesong

Astoria, Ill.