July 23, 2024

From the Barns: Weeds a wooly mess

It seems like a short month since I penned my last column, but it has been a busy month for sure. Most of the times it is like a beehive of activity around here, with one guy doing this, one guy doing that and some other guys doing something else. As I look around each day, there is so much work and projects going on, and it is interesting to observe and for the most part one day is different than the next.

Bad news in that my feed truck has been broke down since the second week of August. We have had a devil of a time figuring out the problem, sourcing the parts, getting the right parts in, putting it back together, then finding out something else is the problem. Thought we had it, used it for two days this week, then it quit again. The guys broke the PTO down again and after a deeper look decided it was bad and probably done for. Guess that is calling for a new PTO. Thankful that we have a backup, our old Knight pull-type TMR. It is smaller and slower, but in the end it has been keeping the cattle fed and that is the main thing.

A couple of our neighbors do our bushhogging and they have been hitting it pretty hard the past few weeks. These summertime weeds are terrible. Once we started getting rain again, they have flourished. Thick and tall. We also started mowing some fencerows, but then the sickle mower broke down, as well as the John Deere 2040 that we have it on. Just got it all back together and ready to go, so hopefully next week we can get back to that. With all these weeds, the place looks like a wooly mess.

We spent this morning sorting the group of 150 heifers that will calve next spring. We had pulled blood on them earlier in the week and sent the samples off for testing and just got the pregnancy results back yesterday. Happy with the results, as we have a pregnancy rate of 82%. This testing method doesn’t allow us to know if the pregnant ones are AI bred or bull bred, but eventually that will be answered. We are taking some of them down to the Russell Farm that we are for sure retaining, then we have a few of them sold that we delivered this afternoon and then the open heifers I will start on the grower ration and then pretty soon get them transitioned over to a finisher diet. On the bulk of the breds, David is going to look at the genomic testing data that he has on them and determine which ones he wants to retain and which ones he wants to sell. I assume we will re-sort those within the next week.

We have shipped four loads of fat cattle recently. I only have the settlement results back for the first load so far, but looks like we are staying on track with 52.5% grading Prime and the rest Choice. Had some 4′s and 5′s, but that load averaged 1,641 pounds leaving here, so that is no surprise. They had a 66% dressed yield, so extremely pleased with that. They were shipped on one of the really hot days last week, but we were fortunate not to lose any on the truck and had no dark cutters. I expect similar results with the other loads, although they weren’t quite as heavy, with the steers weighing 1,575 and a load of heifers weighing 1,495. We will be shipping out another five loads of fats over the next three weeks.

We did add 150 lightweight feeder heifers recently and expect to bring in some more the next week or two. These new cattle are doing well health wise, despite some hot and muggy days they have had to deal with. Speaking of the heat, we had one week of the extreme hot temps and humidity. It is a wonder any of them survive that, but we came out good, although feed intakes suffered immensely so that tells us the cattle gained nothing during that stretch. Even after the heat abates, it seems to take a few days to get the cattle back up and on feed on a normal basis. We did end up losing four head to the heat stress, but at least three of those were chronics with compromised immune systems and lung damage, so that is not surprising at all.

We were able to get 40 acres of cereal rye sowed this past week. Going to wait a week or so and then plant an additional 25 acres. This past week was as comfortable and pleasant as any August we have seen and there is still good moisture in the ground. We are going to get a warm-up, but looks like nothing much over 90 degrees for the next seven to 10 days, so that is certainly bearable. Looking forward to a good September!

Jeff Beasley

Jeff Beasley

Creal Springs, Ill.