Friday, June 6, 2014

Calf 27 update

A group of cows and calves enjoying the shade. Calf 27 is the white faced calf to the far left.

We moved the cow calf pairs from the pasture they were born in this past week. Normally they would have been moved to summer pasture in mid May, but the calving pasture had sufficient grass to support them for longer so we concentrated on planting spring crops.

Just prior to moving the cow calf pairs to summer pasture they were vaccinated and the larger group had a bull turned out with them. Since we added more cows to the herd last winter and had two groups of cows we needed an additional bull. My son and I bought a young bull from Wolf Creek Angus Ranch, this son is more interested in the farm equipment but thinks it's cool to help select the bulls. Wolf Creek Angus is owned and operated by a couple that has been great at helping us select bulls that meets our needs in the past. Our needs and objectives are a little different than many because we will feed the calves at the farm until they reach optimum weight for the finishing phase of feeding where they will be fed for us at a feedlot. We need cattle that will gain efficiently on feed and have high quality meat that can qualify for premiums from packers. 

Even through we have been in a drought and this will be the worst wheat crop since 1989, seeding conditions this spring has been ideal. All the seed went into good soil moisture and warm soils that promote rapid seed emergence. We have all the corn, soybeans and sunflowers seeded and vigorously growing. Normally grain sorghum seeding would be starting, but we only have three fields left and with both of our planters operating they can be finished in a couple of days after the fields dry out. This past week we've received 2.5 inches of rain and another storm is just about here so those last fields will be seeded much later than the others.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The chronicles of calf 27

Author's note: this is the initial segment of following a calf from birth. As always these photos and many more are on my Flickr photo stream. 

I have been waiting until there was a calf born with very distinctive markings that can be easily tracked before posting about springing calving, calving is what it's called when a calf is born. When I saw that Bowtie had calved I was hoping she had another white face calf, Bowtie is an all black cow except for a small patch of white hair on her forehead shaped like a bowtie. She is not a pet, just a nice calm cow like the rest of them that won't run someone over if she thinks they even looking at her calf.

Calf 27
Calf 27's first visit to the corral, he couldn't have been much more than 2 or 3 hours old when I found him in the pasture. He followed Bowtie into the corral when I fed this evening.

feeding time
Calf 20, the one with the white on his face, was Bowtie's calf last year and a full brother to calf 27.

calf 20
This is a more recent picture of calf 20 at the cattle pens. He was one of the younger calves of the ones from our cows. We bought some calves from local farmers to feed with our calves. All of the calves will go to a custom cattle feedlot in a couple of weeks for the finishing phase.

Tall grass
This is an attempt to show how tall the grass is in the calving pasture. This happens to be a patch of Big Bluestem, our native grass pastures are very diverse in different plants. Most of the cows prefer to have their calves out here, but a few have calved in the corral.

Hiding out
A calf hiding in the tall grass, I just barely noticed it when driving by. I have trails that I drive on so I can see any calves laying where I drive.

Cow and calf
I saw this cow and her calf laying in the corral one morning when I went to check on them. They seemed so content sitting in the morning light. Her calf had been born the night before.

  Newborn calf 2
Cow 9 with her new born calf minutes after she had it. I was trying to get a picture of her standing, but she just couldn't yet.

There are 16 more cows yet to have their calves keep checking back for more adventures of calf 27 and his pasture mates.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Pictures of winter 2014

Sun Dog 1
My youngest son was helping me scoop snow out of the driveway when he asked me "Dad why are there three suns?" I looked up and told him that it was a Sun Dog and they are real rare to see them here. It's the first one that I have seen. I couldn't get all of it in the screen on my phone's camera.

snow on wheat stubble, 2/6/14
A field of wheat stubble, it did a good job of catching this last snow and will have a good start for grain sorghum or corn next spring.

Winter Turkeys
It's hard to make it out in the picture, but on the right hand side of the road is a turkey crossing it. It took about three tries to get a picture of one crossing the road from a field that was in grain sorghum last year.

Turkey stratchings.
Turkeys had been scratching and digging through the snow to get to find some grain sorghum in this field. Our spring calving cows are also in this field so I'm sure they're recycling whole grain out of the pats. It reminds me of a story old timers told of having a cow, pig and chickens in a corral. The cow was the only one that was fed and the pigs and chickens would scavenge what went through the cow. I would guess the pig got scraps from the house also.

Cow number 10
Cow number 10 posing for the camera while here "sisters" are eating hay. Even though they are being pastured on grain sorghum stubble I have made hay available for them. They have gotten about all they can from the stubble and will be moved to the calving pasture in the next week if all goes well. They are due to start calving the end of February they could start earlier since they were bred to a calving ease bull and that can have them calving a couple of weeks earlier.

These photos along with many others can be found on my flickr photostream.