October 19, 2021

From the Barns: Road to recovery

I was unable to write my column last month because COVID hit the Beasley Farms family at that time. It started with me, then also got my wife and son, Mom and Dad and then also our farm bookkeeper. I had to spend a few days in the hospital and a couple of the others had to seek treatment. It was rough and nasty.

From the beginning until I would say I finally felt like doing much work, it was nearly three weeks that we were all down. Certainly don’t want to go through that again. The only one who was spared from getting it, and I don’t know how he avoided it other than the grace of God knowing that we needed someone here to run things, was my nephew, David.

Thank goodness David, along with some help from my brother and a neighbor, were able to keep things afloat. I don’t know what we would have done if everyone had gotten ill. Those guys did an outstanding job of keeping the operation going as smoothly as it did.

David had to take over all the cattle feeding and so many other chores that had to be tended to. Timing was bad because we had just started fall calving, so that was an additional task that those guys had to watch over. They were able to get through it and now we seem to be fully back to normal.

I want to take a moment to shine the spotlight on David. This young man is really amazing for an 18-year-old, recent high school graduate. He has dedicated himself to being a full-time cattleman. He is no rookie, though, as he has been involved with the farm since he was 3 years old, and there are pictures of him to prove that when he was keeping tags in the applicator as we were working cattle and calling cows with a bucket of feed from the bed of the truck.

He has spent many, many days learning about cattle from his Grandpa Dale and the rest of us over the years. He is as good a hand on the farm as any we’ve ever had. For his age, he has a great understanding of how to handle cows, can spot a sick one, knows bloodlines and breeding very well and is not afraid to take on any job or project.

He doesn’t have to be told what to do. He takes the initiative to find and look for things that need to be done. I know that most of the younger generation don’t have a very good work ethic and don’t show much interest in learning useful things especially related to cattle, but David certainly is an exception. I am very proud of what he has and can do and I know he has a great future ahead of him in the cattle business.

As I mentioned, fall calving season is going and we are well into it. Some frustration at the onset. With this hot and dry late summer weather we were having, it seems it always leads to calving problems and compromised newborn calf health. Once again we were dealing with small and weak calves. This is certainly something we are going to have to figure out how to manage. Things are going much better now.

Fortunately, we didn’t have anyone wanting to send us cattle to feed during our COVID downtime. In the last two weeks, however, we have received 400 head of new cattle and so far things going well with them. Also in the last two weeks, we have shipped out eight loads of eight-weight feeder heifers. These were cattle we placed in July and early August. They did extremely well. Gain was about 2.75, and health was very good, with death loss being less than 1% with these high risk cattle.

We have recently sown some grass for additional permanent pasture and also 50 acres of cereal rye. Looking forward to some upcoming rains and hopeful for more moderate temperatures as we move farther into fall, which will certainly help with these new cattle we have placed.

Jeff Beasley

Jeff Beasley

Creal Springs, Ill.