December 07, 2023

From the Barns: Weather the storm

The late and wet start for farming season really piled on the projects lately, but the too-dry weather we have been having has been advantageous in getting us caught up. First-crop hay is behind us as is our wheat harvest. The double-crop corn has all been planted and is up and going. The only thing left to plant is some forage sorghum following wheat, but we want to do some major land work on that piece before we plant.

We picked a cool morning last week and processed the first bunch of calves. These calves were all out of first-calf heifers and the pinkeye virus has been working on them pretty hard. Fly tags and a little Draxxin did the trick, but that darned pinkeye is rough on them. While we run most of the calves through the chute for processing, we usually keep a cut back for the guys to rope and drag.

The camaraderie and teamwork that is necessary to handle cattle this way teaches some valuable lessons that the extra time it takes is well worth. We will be looking for other cool mornings to gather the rest of our cow groups and get their calves done before football practice starts and we lose a bunch of our wranglers.

The threat of drought is very real as the high heat and near misses of passing showers have been all too frequent. There is still lots of grass in the pastures, but the quality will be in question from here on out without some substantial precipitation.

The cattle on feed in our feed yard have handled the heat very well. Reduced feed intake on the really hot days gets tricky to manage through and usually “less is more” is the best rule to follow. Feed costs have not moderated and thankfully cattle prices are holding up reasonably well for this time of year. We need to keep our fingers crossed and maybe we can weather this storm.

Steve Foglesong

Steve Foglesong

Astoria, Ill.