As I hinted at last month, this time of year things can get wet and stay wet for a long period of time. That has proven to be the case and no surprise we are dealing with muddy conditions now. December proved to be wet, and then the last couple of weeks we had some substantial rains.
In between we had three days of zero-degree temps and minus-20 wind chills. Of course, the usual comes along with that, equipment not wanting to start and waterers freezing up. We made it through all right and the cattle didn’t seem to be negatively affected by it. We have had a good last few days and the next week’s forecast looks good. I have noticed the fields are drying up some, but the lots are going to stay muddy for a while.
Every now and then we need to stop and think about everyone who helps make a cattle operation like this run. It is far more than a one-man show. I especially don’t know what we would do without the two boys, David and Wyatt. Frankly, we couldn’t do it without them. The work load they have undertaken is as much as any man can do. What they have learned and experienced in their teen years is going to give them so much knowledge and wisdom in the years to come.
David is here full-time, while Wyatt is still in high school, but only attending a half day while participating in the CVE program, which allows him to work the rest of the school day here. Of course, he is working far more hours than that. Dad isn’t able to do much physically anymore, but he is still very active in planning and decision-making. Paul, who only works part-time, running the Bobcat mostly, works almost full-time hours and is essential, as well.
Then we have Tad, the day worker who is here several days each month. Donna manages the office and bookkeeping and you all know how much time and effort that requires. Don’t want to leave out Mom, who feeds us guys each day — we call it Cracker Barrel on steroids! — and is loving and supportive in taking care of us. I am just so thankful for all these folks and what they add to this place and for the good relationships we have with each other.
On the cattle side, since the end of November we have shipped out 10 loads of 800-pound heifers. That has lightened the load a little bit, as we have slowed down on receiving new cattle. With the mud we felt we couldn’t maintain the higher cattle inventory numbers without compromising cattle health, pen and field conditions and cattle performance.
We also shipped a load of fats out this past week and yesterday we did carcass scanning on two pens of fats to help give us an idea on the marketing window and what our quality grade outlook is. Waiting for the results, but I believe the cattle will sell sooner than I thought, as they have done and gained awfully well. All the good black steers we were grazing on the rye we have now have on the grower ration and soon we will be sorting those 200 steers up by size before starting on finisher as we project their marketing time frames.
AI breeding is over and bulls will stay in for about another 30 days. Speaking of bulls, we have been getting a lot of calls for them and we aren’t far from being sold out for the time-being. Bangs vaccinated 137 heifers this week and we will plan on breeding them this summer. Overall not much to complain about — just thankful for the blessings God has given us and enabled us to do the work we love.