Happy New Year!
I can hardly believe that 2016 is upon us. We are about a month into our winter hay bale grazing season and already looking forward to our 2016 calving season! 2015 was definitely a growing year for our farm, our cattle herd and our family.
As with any farmer, there is always that driving force, that desire to be independent and self-sufficient, while at the same time having a productive, efficient and safe operation. Since the time we bought our first cows, back in 2013, we have dreamed of many things for our farm but specifically, we wanted a heavy-duty pickup truck and stock/gooseneck trailer, and a headgate, squeeze chute, alleyway and squeeze tub cattle facility. We don’t live in the mecca of beef cattle country and as such, finding such items had been a challenge for us, especially in our limited price range.
It seems that the timing was finally right for us in 2015, and we were able to find and actually afford to buy a headgate, squeeze chute, alleyway and crowding tub cattle facility,
a heavy duty pickup truck and gooseneck trailer.
All three are used and certainly have some wear and tear on them but are perfect for our needs. We have always wanted to have the ability to transport our animals with our own truck and trailer and not have to rely on others. In addition, we are always striving for having safe and efficient ways to handle and work our cattle.
It felt like Christmas morning when that truck and trailer came rumbling up our driveway, with Jer behind the wheel, grinning ear-to-ear and then again, the first time we worked our cows in our new cattle facility.
We were so used to using our homemade, non-squeeze chute and alleyway that we forgot to use the squeeze part of the squeeze chute with our first cow!
Shifting gears to our cattle herd, we were fortunate to sell all eight of our steer calves for a solid price – despite the fluctuations in the market.
We were also fortunate enough to be able to add on to our cattle herd by keeping six of our heifer calves and one bull calf.
On the family front, we welcomed our second son into the world in early-November. My husband and our veterinarian were down at the chutes doing pregnancy checks on a Friday afternoon, one day past my due date. Our vet jokingly volunteered to help delivery our baby if need be. Luckily, baby decided to wait a few days! Pregnancy checks went well, with 15 out of 17 cows pregnant. We sold the two open cows and are now anxiously awaiting yet another calving season for our 15 mama cows.
As I mentioned above, we are getting into our rhythm with yet another winter hay bale grazing season. Our cows and calves are managed separately, and we have been pleasantly surprised at how easily our calves have adapted to hay bale grazing.
We have two sites set-up for hay bale grazing for our calves and one large site for our cows.
As with every year, we have encountered a few hiccups with our hay bale grazing but we are working through them and trying to stay patient and positive while employing some creative problem solving techniques. 🙂
We wish you all a very successful and productive 2016!