November 30, 2022

From the Pastures: Lamb prices fall

You know it’s dry when a deep taprooted plant like grazing chicory has drooping leaves and I have quite a few of those in my pasture. Since I last wrote, I’ve had only 2.2 inches of rain. Looking backward, I should have planted my winter cover crop Aug. 3 instead of Aug. 23 because I have had three rain events since I spun on and then drilled in my cover crop and they only equaled three-tenths of a inch.

However, one week after planting I did have 1-inch tall turnips and radishes and 3-inch tall cereal rye. After the drill left the field I mowed the wheat stubble and 2-foot tall ragweeds with my Woods mower set right on top of the ground. Then I rolled only four rounds around the outside of the field before I quit rolling because I could not see where I had rolled compared to what needed to be rolled.

Looking back, I should have rolled first and mowed second so I could see where I had rolled. I did see better emergence of the small seeds in-between the drilled rows where I rolled compared to not rolling. Also, the small seeds that happen to get a row drilled on top of them were taller than the seeds in-between the row, so the seed-to-soil contact was better in the row.

I did get the lambs weaned off the ewes and the ewes trailered to a new farm 10 miles away. This eliminates a lot of noise between the lambs and their moms. I have also sold off the first batch of lambs to a buyer that wanted 60- to 80-pound lambs. He picked them up at my farm, so I saved on trucking them and he saved four hours one way to buy them. It was a win-win for both of us, since gas is so cheap, you know. However, the lamb price is over $1 per pound less than last year — the only thing that’s gone down!

Back to the rain, on Saturday, Aug. 20, I got only 1.5 inches of rain. So, on Sunday when I went to church 10 miles north, the farmers up there said they got 5 inches of rain and large hail. The corn and bean fields looked very bad. The hail stripped the leaves right off the plants. I was very happy for just the 1.5 inches of rain. Be careful what you wish for.

Elton Mau

Elton Mau

Arrowsmith, Ill.