Gimme 5, 7 half-now 10. Come on!
What is that? What the heck does that mean? That my friends is an auctioneer. Well, I can’t do it EXACTLY the same, but if you’ve ever heard one, you get the gist. Auctioneering is a competitive way to sell things, to try to get the highest price for something. Just this last week it was our calves from last year that were being sold. We took them to St Joe Stockyards, in St. Joseph, Missouri. It is one of the oldest and biggest places to sell livestock in our area. It took about 15 minutes to sell them. That’s it. 15 minutes to find out how much we get paid for a whole year of our work, time, sweat, tears, money, satisfaction and an occasional cuss word. I’m gonna take you through that whole year, month by month. 365 days and it all comes down to 15 minutes. Here we go!
|Where our calves were sold at on Wednesday.|
The auctioneer is under the roof and all of the bidders are sitting across
from him. The cattle are brought in on the right and exit on the left.
Let's start the day after we sell calves.
We are doing chores; taking care of the cows that are going to have calves in about a month. The heifers are already calving, as they started about the first of January. We are feeding hay and silage every morning, rolling out hay for cows to lie on and checking for new babies. Melissa wrote a post about all of these activities not too long ago, to read it click here.
|The heifers are having calves during this time of the year.|
|Rolling out bales of straw so the calves have a warm place to lie down|
during these cold months.
|The calves love the straw!|
|Feeding hay to the calves.|
Once late February gets here, cows are just starting to calve. Also in February we are spreading fertilizer on grass, both on the pastures that the cows will be on in the summer, and on the fields we will mow for hay. In the meantime, we are clipping brush in the pastures; trying to clean them up so there is more grass for the cows to eat. Unfortunetly, this is a process we do ever year. There are always trees to clean up.
March comes and goes, cows are calving everyday. We are getting fence checked over, getting more mineral ordered for the summer and ordering vaccines to work cattle before we turn them out to grass.
April 1st we turn bulls in with the yearling heifers. We breed them early to have them calve before the cows, as they take a little more time and attention. By mid April pretty much everything has calved, so we get them all in and vaccinate each one to prevent diseases such as black leg, and we also casterate the bull calves. Then it’s off to grass! We haul everything out to different pastures. They are so happy when they run out of the trailer into knee high green grass.
|The cows out in the green pastures.|
Middle of May we take the bulls out to the pastures with the cows. This will have them start calving in the later part of February. The bulls stay in with the cows for 75 days. In late May we get all the hay equipment out and ready for the hay season. Mower, rake, baler and trailers.
June and July-
We are mowing, raking, baling and hauling hay home from the pastures. Hay season usually lasts from the first of June to about the middle of July. To read more about hay season on our farm click here. In June, July and August of this past year we also experienced a severe drought, so we were hauling water to the the pastures twice a day to make sure the cows and calves had enough water to drink. We are also checking in on the cows at least once a week and taking vitamins and minerals to the pastures at least once a month.
|Checking on the cows and taking them some mineral.|
|Picking up the hay that has been baled.|
|Once all of the hay is stacked on the trailer we haul it to the barn.|
|The big round bales being brought home.|
|Hauling water to the cows in the pasture because the pond has|
dried up due to the drought.
After all the hay is hauled in we get ready to chop silage. This normally takes place between mid August to mid September. This summer after silage was done I built a new corral at our house for the calves, but this is just a one time deal. I haven’t mentioned it, but throughout this whole spring and summer, while all of this is going on, we are checking the cows at least once a week, to make sure they are healthy and don’t have any fly trouble. AND we are farming all of our row-crops.
|The silage chopper getting ready to start another round in the field.|
|The truck dumping the silage into the pit.|
|My dad using the bulldozer to push the silage in the pit.|
|The corn goes through the chopper and is then blown into this truck.|
|The tractor smoothes out the pile once all the silage is in the pit.|
|In August I also started building a new cattle corral.|
This is a picture after we had got some of the posts set.
|Setting the posts for the new corral.|
|Sawing the tops of the posts off of the hedge posts|
so they are all even.
|Welding the clips on the steel pipe.|
After silage is done, we get on with the harvesting of our crops. Sometimes we'll turn cattle out on corn stalks. They will go out and pick and eat some of the corn that fell on the ground from harvest.
In mid October, we bring everything home and run everything through the chute and vaccinate again to prevent diseases. Also, we preg check the cows to make sure they are bred to have a calf this next winter.
Two weeks later, the first of November, we wean calves and they're brought to our house to grow. They are fed silage and protein everyday, putting on the pounds! It can be a noisy time at house for the first week the calves are here!
|A picture of when the calves were brought to our house after |
they were weaned.
After calves are weaned, we take the cows back out to grass until about the first of the year. This gives them time to flesh back up and get in shape to have a calf in a couple months. If it is cold enough outside and the ponds or creeks are frozen we're out in the cold chopping ice everyday to make sure the cows have water to drink.
After the first of the year, we are watching the cattle markets and our feed supply, trying to figure out when the best time will be to sell calves. Also in January, as I said earlier, our heifers are starting to have calves. Remember when we turned the bulls in the pasture around the first of April? Once we figure out when we are going to sell, we get the calves consigned through St. Joe Stockyards and before you know it, it's time to haul them up to the sale barn. I took some pictures of the day we hauled them to town and they show us loading them in the trailers. The new corral worked awesome!
|The calves waiting in the holding pens before they are loaded on|
the semi trailer.
|The trailers to haul the calves were lined up in the driveway.|
|Loading the calves on the trailer.|
|And just like that the calves are loaded up and hitting the road to the|
Now we’re back to where we started. That’s it folks. That whole year we just talked about, and it's over in Gimme 5, 7 half-now 10……SOLD!
Don't forget about the giveaway Melissa has going on! You only have a few days left to enter the drawing for a $25 gift card from Dally Designs. Good luck!