Friday, November 14, 2014

Head Count or How Many Steers Does it Take to Make Everyone Happy?

Last winter you might recall we lost a few calves due to the extremely cold winter, the worst winter for us since we started out own farm 22 years ago. It's taken all spring and summer for those animals to recover. Animals stressed to stay warm do not gain much extra weight and thus even those steers we had  (and dairy calves raised for beef) took longer to get to longer weight. Customers expecting beef last spring had to wait until summer. Summer customers had to wait until fall, etc....Finally two year olds  are being taken to market and folks are getting their beef. But it went fast, all our future beef carcasses sold out until June 2015.

Now we are facing winter again and Keith is working hard to get the farm ready for winter. With me in school 4 full days a week the brunt of the work has been on his shoulders. Snow fell today, not much, but tomorrow night we are to get a few inches. Overall reports for winter are calling for more snow here in the Midwest than last year. Hoses can't be used any more for water, instead we'll be back to hauling around buckets instead. The barn must be shored up and more bedding added to stalls and outdoor sheds. As pastures die off, the silage bag is opened and oatlage must be shoveled by hand into the tractor and taken to cow feeders. And the list goes on.

But...with every winter comes another spring. So until then fasten your seat belts...we think it's going to be one cold and snowy ride.


  1. Still very mild here, considering we are in mid-november. It'll come, but hopefully not for a while.

  2. They have been threatening intense cold here from mid Nov but so far so good. Cows are out on their second last day of grass.
    We lost a good few calves last spring, one reason (we eventually discovered) was crypto. We've noticed too that there have been a few calves that just haven't thrived this summer as they should - they just aren't digesting the food as well as they should be - longlasting gut damage.
    The list goes on indeed ..... :)

  3. I hope your winter won't be as bad as it sounds like it's going to be (here, too)! It is a LOT of work, isn't it?

  4. hope it is easier on you and your animals this season.