Seems like it has been an unusually quiet past month around here and I think that is simply because there have been virtually no cattle movements in or off the farm. We felt like we didn’t need to bring in any new animals because our inventory numbers are still fairly high and with the weather and other conditions didn’t think it wise to try and add anything under those circumstances.
Also, we haven’t sold any cattle this past month, so numbers pretty much were status quo. That being said, it has still been a busy month in just the basic caretaking of the animals, making sure they have feed, water and taking care of any problems or ailments that might pop up.
As I predicted, it has turned wet and muddy. Temperatures are all over the place, from above average warm down into the teens. Of course, it seems to rain every few days, so no chance for any fields or pens to substantially dry up. In addition to the rains, we have had a few different snow events, as well as some ice last week.
Seems like one day the cattle are walking through mud and the next day tiptoeing around on hard, frozen ground. You know they aren’t liking that. That has just now melted off, so seems like we have run the gamut on changing weather. I just don’t see any good drying days coming up. Even though it is supposed to warm up nicely, that, of course, is bringing good chances of some rain along with it.
We do have a load of good black fat steers we are planning on shipping out the week of Feb. 20, and I have a couple of loads of 750-pound feeder heifers I am going to be pricing to an Iowa feeder this coming week. I think it is possible we might start putting in some feeder calves, but I think we will try and keep the numbers coming in slow until more pen or field space opens up. Feeder cattle prices are pretty high, so I think that is another reason to be cautious about placing in new. Hopefully, though, we will benefit with the prices we receive for the cattle we are wanting to sell.
We are less than a month away from spring calving season beginning. The guys have been working hard renovating the interior of the calving barn. Adding some new pens and gates, tearing out some old walls and making it more user-friendly have been the main goals of that. A new calving pen unit has been ordered and is supposed to be here around Feb. 20. Bulls are coming out, as the breeding season for fall calvers is essentially over. I guess in a couple of months we will be making plans to wean those calves. Time doesn’t slow down for anything.
Going through a lot of hay. Good thing we bought a lot, but I am wondering if we are going to have enough to make it until grass time. We are able to make a few additional hay purchases as we move through the winter and buying anything we can get ahold of, just to be on the safe side. Feed ingredients are easy to come by, but feed prices certainly aren’t friendly to cattle feeders. Cost of gains will no doubt be quite a bit higher, hopefully offset by good selling prices and good performance.
Recently took a few days off. Wyatt and I drove down to “Cowtown” to see the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo. Also got to see a rodeo at the historic Cowtown Coliseum, while visiting the Fort Worth Stockyards. We really enjoyed it, as we also went to the John Wayne Museum, did some other sightseeing, shopping and a whole lot of good eating. Was good to take a break and get away for a few days and it was a great father-son experience getting to spend that time together.