With equipment ready for the field but fields not ready for planting we use our time to complete projects on the never-ending to do list. We had a couple of cattle gates that needed some leveling and reinforcing. It was kind of muddy so we used pallets as a work platform inside the cattle year. The observers stood at the edge of the concrete for a while and then one brave steer ventured off, through the mud, to get a closer look at the situation.
Taking a stroll around the pasture fence, making sure the electric fencing isn’t grounding out somewhere, always attracts the attention of our steers. You always hear about the curiosity of cats but steers are a close second.
With all of the rain the fell during 2018 and 2019, our cattle have had the challenge of wading through a foot of mucky mud to get to and from the water fountain. We planned on filling the gap between our two concrete pads during the summer of 2018 but the weather never cooperated. 2019 presented it’s challenges as well. We prepped the area, during a short dry spell, in October, by removing mud down to solid ground but then it rained and filled the hole with a foot plus of water. We were able to pump some of the water out but managed to plug up two different pumps with the thick muddy water. Eventually enough water was removed to place a rock foundation in the bottom and cover that with gravel to prep for the cement. The weather cooperated and concrete was finally poured. I’m happy to report the the steers and the farmers appreciate the final result.
A long overdue task was completed at the end of June. The cattle yard base has eroded over the years and becomes a mucky mess of foot deep manure that the steers must muck through to get to the cattle shed as well as stepping off the south side of the concrete pad next to the barn.
Last summer we started the task of locating some high quality clay to rejuvenate the yard but fell short of finding any. This spring we watched as a neighboring farm site was torn down and clay piles appeared on the horizon. We approached the party responsible for the clay and were granted access to it. Our window of opportunity came at the end of June as rains subsided and the yard dried up enough to work with the dirt.
A job well done!
The first thing that had to be done was remove the poor quality dirt. A mountain of dirt/manure was created. This will be hauled to the field in fall once the crops are harvested. We then borrowed a dump truck from a neighbor to haul in the clay. The clay was packed layer by layer throughout the cattle yard to give the steers a firm foundation.
All in all, a lot of time was spend on this project but it the results are well worth it. Happy steers make great steaks! Continue reading →
One final blow by mother nature a week and a half ago was hopefully the last big snow of the winter. We did have our snow blower off of the tractor and were forced to re-attach it. These snow photos were taken earlier in the winter but it’s fun to see the steers not really care what’s going on with the weather.
We did find out though that they don’t much care for hail. The stood outside during round 1 but when round 2 showed up, they headed for the shelter as fast as a steer can run! Continue reading →
I have two sisters living in the Denver, CO area who grew on the farm. They are striving to keep their kids connected to the farm through visits usually timed around harvest. This year the weather wasn’t very cooperative so the opportunity for a combine ride was nearly non-existent. The did have a chance though to tend to the steers needs by feeding them an endless supply of apples harvested from the nearby trees.
Arriving early in the morning, to load soybeans harvested the day before into storage bins, we were greeted by our curious steers. This year we raised one variety for Pioneer that will be sold as seed to farmers in 2017. Seed beans are handled more carefully that other soybeans intended for the processing market. The combine is set to thresh the soybeans as gently as possible. We use a belt conveyor to fill the storage bins as well as fill the trucks that pick up the beans during the following winter. Growing beans for seed will provide a premium that compensates for the extra time incurred plus a good profit for the grower.
A rain break from field work allowed us to put the finishing touches on a new fly control system for the cattle. This year we decided to utilize a liquid wicking system instead of a dust control system. Permethrin is blended with oil at a 1% dilution and poured into a tray. The hanging ropes are saturated and the cattle walk through thus putting the fly control mix on their hides.
Cattle are not the bravest animals in God’s creation. After a short time of avoiding the ropes, they became used to them and eventually realized the benefiting result of less flies biting. Now we will see them playing with the hanging ropes and even lounging right under them.
One of the signs that the worst of the wet spring weather is over, is the opening of the pasture for grazing by our small herd of steers. The grass has grown tall enough and the ground has firmed up so their hooves don’t sink in and hurt the turf. This moment has come early this year, just like corn planting.
Just a few days ago, we added 4 more calves to the mix. They haven’t quite integrated yet but soon will find their place in the pecking order and feel right at home. We raise our own cattle in order to provide meat for our own table as well as many friends and relatives. A few quarters of beef even find their way to Colorado every year! Many compliments are receive about the quality of the finished product.
As I drove through the yard the morning of July 5 I took a deep breath and enjoyed the aroma of fresh cut hay. The round bales were lined up in the yard and ready to be tucked away in the shed. It’s one of those rare times when you remember back to your youth when putting up hay meant a whole different thing. A lot of man and kid power was needed to fill the hay loft with hundreds of small square bales. Thanks to modern technology we now handle hay by machine instead of by hand.