We have just completed an extra busy week that has us all wishing for a little rest. We had to haul about 100 head of heifers in from one of our Saline County pastures and give them their second pre-breeding vaccination. We had our vet up to do reproductive tract scoring and pelvic measurements, as most of these heifers will be sold into commercial herds once confirmed pregnant, so we want to make sure they are good to go when they find new owners. Also gave them a thorough deworming and now turned out on some pasture that we have been stockpiling. In a few weeks we will begin the synchronization protocol for their AI breeding.
We shipped one load of fat heifers to Iowa Premium Beef, now awaiting carcass grading results and settlement. Also shipped a half load of fats to a southern Illinois sale barn to get that lot cleaned up and they sold better than expected.
Speaking of sending fat cattle to Iowa, about a month ago we shipped a load of steers up there and 30 out of 34 graded Prime. All of these were sired by bulls we had sold to customers and then we bought the calves back, so this is a great example of superior genetics paying huge dividends — 88% Prime, by far the best we have ever done.
Since this opened up some pen space in the feedlot, we brought in some heifers that we have been backgrounding out of their traps. We had placed these in the first half of February. Just to look at them I thought they were exceeding expectations and we decided to do a check weigh on them. That proved to be true, as the heifers have gained 3.4 pounds per day over a 90-day time period. Now that they are already weighing 800 pounds, time to find a buyer and get them to a new home.
Transitioning three pens of cattle to a finishing diet, with hopes they will be ready to sell in the fall. Our next fat cattle should sell in July/August timeframe, and there are four loads of them. Despite less than perfect weather conditions the past couple of months, all cattle seem to be eating and gaining very well.
Spring-born calves are all on the ground and I must say this has been perhaps the most trouble-free calving season we have ever had. Hard to believe breeding season is almost here and these cows will begin their AI protocol fairly soon, as well. Not to forget that we must get the bulls’ BSE testing done relatively soon, so they will be able to go out to pasture and do their jobs.
We have been wet and unseasonably cool lately, but that is getting ready to change almost overnight. At the first of this coming week, temps are going to be close to 90 degrees and for once no rain in the forecast for at least the next week. That sudden change will not be good for the cattle, so we will have to be on the watch for health problems and heat stress. Plans are in the works to get some shade tarps up where needed to alleviate any potential problems.