Down the cow path
Never since the dust bowls and chinch bugs of the late 1930s have farmers wished so hard for a year to be over with! My wife and I, however, were very blessed this past season as we received just enough rain to make an average corn crop and an above-average bean crop. Our pastures also took the dry weather in stride, and our cows are still grazing in late November with very little hay to supplement them.
Weaning the calves “by the moon” went very well again this year. After a day and a half, all was quiet, and the calves were eating hay and gaining weight all day long. I think the cows were ready to be without their calves too, as they headed back to the pasture after two days.
In Mid-November we took the calves to market and were very pleased; they averaged only one pound less than last year but brought $0.08 a pound more. The sale we took the calves to was a CAB or Certified Angus Beef sale, and all calves had to be weaned at least 30 days and had to have had two rounds of shots. (Not unlike taking the kids to get their immunization shots). The buyers were strong bidders as they could be more assured of healthier calves with less stress on the calves. Calves that have been back grounded in this way or “pre-conditioned” will almost always bring more money to the seller. It is well worth the time and money spent by the seller to have his calves “ready to grow” for the cattle feeder who buys them. We are seeing fewer and fewer calves brought to the sale barn “green” or just weaned and no shots. These type of calves are potential “train wrecks” for the buyer, and nobody wants to spend a lot of money on calves that could get sick easier and be slow gainers.
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