May 21, 2024

From the Barns: Weather challenges

More weather events are bringing more challenges here at River Oak. The corn is planted, but a few acres will be on the list for replanting due to standing water after frequent rain the last 10 days. Water accumulating inside our levee from the rains, that cannot be released due to high levels of water on the outside of the levee, covers some of one paddock and a few acres of the cornfield. With two groups of cows using the floodplain on the north side of the river, it has been a challenge to keep them fed, but to also protect pasture from severe damage.

We are up to over 100 pairs and the grazing difficulties combined with a need to have groups here at headquarters on certain days for breeding protocols have been another challenge. I believe the plan is to haul a breeding finished group to the south side tomorrow to alleviate some of the pressure.

With our climate and our good soils, and rainfall in excess that can occur, it is imperative that we control, if at all possible, the amount of damage to any of the paddocks grazed during these kind of periods. So, that means reducing the density — pounds per acre — of cattle grazing by either enlarging a paddock by removing temporary fencing or removing some cattle from the grazing group or rapidly rotating cattle from the paddock after a shorter period of time, or removing the cattle to a barn or drylot situation.

None of those are often a perfect answer when rains get heavy, but it’s extremely important to protect the future production capability of those paddocks. We also need to keep reminding ourselves that we need to move more rapidly with our rotation this time of year than later in the season. Our pasture has been growing really rapidly with the flush of rainfall and favorable temperatures. Everything seems to be ahead of an ordinary year by at least 10 days.

I had an enjoyable day with the Illinois Beef Association staff and 50 southern Illinois producers on April 13 in Anna. It was a perfect day of weather with an attentive group and good visits at CJ Simmentals and Hillcroft Farms. I am always in a good frame of mind about our industry after a meeting like that.

Looking forward to hosting the IBA Junior Beef Tour here at River Oak on May 29. Hope we have a good day for it with firmer ground. And looking forward to seeing many of you at the IBA Annual Meeting on June 4 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds’ Expo Building. Good luck in finishing up your crop planting and stay safe and sane.

Trevor Toland

Trevor Toland

Macomb, Ill.