February 05, 2023

From the Barns: Host with the most

These are indeed turbulent times. The world is unsettled. We don’t seem clear of COVID. Issues abound in our local areas, our state and nation. And now to add to the chaos, it is an election year and campaigns are as ugly as ever and longer, too. Every possible item of contention is an exercise in total overreaction.

And please someone tell me who can one trust in the media to deliver straightforward accurate news without a spin. We should all feel so blessed to be out in the open air with the cattle, walking and feeling the grass against our boots. Thanks for the peace so offered.

The weather has continued to be a bit frustrating for everyone, graziers included. However, for the first time in recent memory, the 10-day forecast contains no high percentages for rain. A window of opportunity comes with wind, heat and just maybe no rain.

In all probability, very few readers will have time to read these words anyway due to the depth of their own commitment to the tasks at hand. Good luck out there. A side note, something I haven’t seen before may have caused a poor frost seeding year. I believe I reported just the opposite last month. The cold April, frost, freezing, may have delayed or killed our clover seedlings.

Enough about conditions. Cattle that we have out there right now, 60 feeder calves and 60 cows, mostly fall calvers. We will hopefully move up to 90 cows very soon as the forage is racing ahead. As always, keeping up in the rotation with the rapid growth is impossible and the only near-perfect solutions are impossible, as well. Those would be to double your stocking rate now and halve it later in midsummer.

The other frustration is with the pugging of wet pastures. We try and decrease the density by using the larger paddocks and not increasing density with polywire temporaries. The high-traffic areas are a mess no matter the density used. All in all, we should be happy with the abundant, dense forage and lack of flooding in our floodplain paddocks. Also, Carson has been able to more easily complete his breeding program with the weather interruptions. There are positives, no matter what the circumstances.

The word is just coming out that we will be hosting the second day of the combined Illinois Beef Association Summer Conference and the Illinois Forage and Grassland Council Forage Expo on June 8. It is a task we welcome and Carson and I are grateful that IBA has chosen a grazing operation as the site this year. IBA will have their indoor meetings at the Spoon River Outreach Center in Macomb on June 7. Check the IBA site for registration and specifics. We hope to see many of you here on June 8.

Trevor Toland

Trevor Toland

Macomb, Ill.