May 21, 2024

From the Barns: It must be spring

The pastures have greened up nicely and the cows still receiving silage head out as soon as they have hoovered their daily allotment. The wheat we seeded last fall for grazing is providing lots of feed and will allow our pastures time to rest and get a real head start for the year.

We have been focused on clearing brush in several of our pastures all winter by using basal bark and cut stump treatments on locust and crab trees and Russian olive and honeysuckle bushes. Now that these plants are trying to leaf out, we are pleased to see that our efforts have been successful. The treated plants are obviously on their way out and any untreated individuals stick out obviously and can be dealt with now. We hope to keep the pressure on these brushy invaders throughout the growing season as time allows. It is apparent that patience is key in lasting brush control.

Calving season is about to start and we will be moving the first calf heifers to their spot for the season this week. Linda is quite proficient at keeping tabs on the first-timers, but for the next couple of months I will cringe every time I get a call from her for fear there is some issue with a heifer. Here’s hoping the “easy-calving heifers’ bulls” we turned out live up to their pedigree.

The dry weather this spring has been a blessing as far as getting our barns cleaned and all the manure applied to crop fields. We only have one farm left to pump on before we can plant it to corn and all the equipment is laid out awaiting a dry day to get at it.

We are running a man short right now. Grandson Ian is graduating from high school this spring and is doing an internship on a ranch in Florida right now. We get his help here at home for a few days upon his return before he heads to a Nebraska seedstock operation for another hands-on, real-life experience. His younger brother and cousins will have to pick up the slack while he is away. It is all good, but I do miss my daily chat with him. I have done several FaceTime videos with him and seen all the cool stuff he is experiencing. There is a lot to learn out there.

The fat market has taken a little dip due to the “chicken flu” and who knows what else, but all the cattle markets are still crazy high and have no real reason to get much cheaper. We all better take it while it is offered because, as we have all experienced, there are lower prices coming — we just do not know when. I hear the turkeys gobbling out in the pasture. It must be spring.

Steve Foglesong

Steve Foglesong

Astoria, Ill.