July 25, 2021

From the Barns: Red-hot demand

Seems like the primary focus in the month of June was working to get cows and heifers bred AI. With the cows we used a new synchronization protocol. Instead of following the time breeding aspect of that, we heat detected and I believe all but one cow came into heat. They are now turned in with a cleanup bull, so we will be anxious to see the results of this new protocol.

The heifers received the usual synch program and 90% of those showed actual signs of heat and were bred accordingly. We decided to leave them up and then observe for heat an additional cycle. Last week was spent watching them closely and it looks as though around 40% came back into heat and were rebred. We were hoping for better results, but if the ones that didn’t come back in are bred, then that is a 60% conception rate, which isn’t bad for industry norms. They are now running with a bull, as well.

June had us take another 20 head of fats to the local processor to be butchered for a number of our freezer beef customers. Our next availability to take any is the first of March 2022. That shows that the demand for locally fed and processed beef continues to run high. We went ahead and booked 60 head for next year, scattered out for every other month.

We just turned 50 head of heifers that we will breed this winter onto a field of Sudan grass, with a lot of volunteer crabgrass in it, as well. Looks like they will have a lot of quality grazing through the summer. We just sowed another 16 acres of Sudan grass and with the rain we got this morning it is already emerging and off to a good start.

We have three groups of feeder steers that were born last fall that we are going to get up tomorrow, sort and weigh, then pen them according to size. The heavier end will probably ship in 30 to 60 days to Kansas to go on feed for the USPB grid. They all look like they are doing very well, with a good combination of feed and grass.

We continue to be somewhat plagued with pinkeye issues. It is in all groups — feeders, replacement heifers, bred heifers and cows. This despite vaccinating against pinkeye, putting in insecticide tags and feeding chlortetracycline in the mineral. Treatments with tetracycline don’t seem to be very effective, either. It is very frustrating when you think you are doing all you can to prevent and treat it. We know we aren’t the only producers affected by it. Many others here in southern Illinois and also friends down into Tennessee say they are experiencing the same problems.

Other jobs going on lately include hauling in hay, spraying fencerows for multiflora rose and other broadleaf weeds, and spot spraying thistles. All those can get out of hand and take over a place if you don’t intervene from time to time. We got an inch of rain this morning that we were grateful to receive. Temperatures have cooled down and supposed to be real nice for the next few days. It has been hot and humid, but I don’t believe any worse than other years for this part of the country.

Jeff Beasley

Creal Springs, Ill.