October 04, 2022

From the Barns: Weaning heifers early

Pasture conditions are a wreck. Lack of any rainfall has finished off the grass for this season. Cows are existing on old growth and it’s disappearing at a breakneck pace. We are chopping corn as fast as machinery will allow and we will move cows out to graze the field edges and corn aftermath as soon as possible.

We will aerially seed wheat as soon as the first yellow leaves appear on the soybean plants. The leaves from the soybeans form a nice mulch over the wheat that has been flown on and any rainfall will germinate the seed. Most of our corn acres will also be seeded, but we will wait until the chopper is finished. The heavy traffic from the chopper and trucks is lethal to wheat seedlings, so we have quit seeding with an airplane on standing corn. Whatever we do will be for naught if we don’t get some much-needed fall rains.

Pumping manure, however, has been an easy task with the extremely dry soil conditions and we will take advantage of any break in the harvest action to work on that project. Cattle marketings have continued at a steady pace as have the incoming cattle, so there’s been no real slump in the feedlot. The fall run will be upon us soon and we will have to utilize all the lot space available to accommodate the inbound calves. Continued drought will force us to wean at least our first-calf heifers earlier than we intend to, so those girls don’t get out of condition.

Before we fired up the chopper, we took a Saturday off and held a family reunion. My oldest Grieve cousin, David, and I had a conversation about a get-together without a casket being involved last spring. A few scheduling calls later and magically it all came together.

My mother being the oldest Grieve sibling, down to Brett’s baby girl, Cora, the youngest and 80 or so others all gathered up at my house and had a great day of reminiscing and catching up. We had cousins from California and Vegas in the west and Spain to the east all in attendance. We talked, laughed and ate way too much. Once every 25 years or so is probably not often enough and was certainly worth doing.

Steve Foglesong

Steve Foglesong

Astoria, Ill.