My failings as a blogger have been manifest during recent months. Since I started in 2015 with the monthly images of Ferdinand and then the frequent views on what is happening on the ranch, it has been more difficult to come up with original happenings. Pasture rotations, haying, and other production practices don't vary that much from year to year. We do have to adapt to the variability in weather among other things, but each year finds us mostly repeating the practices that have proven successful in the past. So, as my posts have become somewhat redundant, I'm reluctant to cover old ground again. But, the first newborn calf of the year can overcome that reluctance. There is nothing quite like the first calf of the year to renew our enthusiasm in the work we do. Spring is right around the corner!
Last Friday, we weaned our spring calves off their mothers. Here is a picture of the calves on the left and cows on the right. I saved both paddocks of grass for this specific purpose so that both groups would have plenty of quality forage during the weaning process. This fence works perfectly for keeping the calves apart from their dams. It is an old woven wire fence with a hot wire on each side. The woven wire fence keeps any calves from sneaking under the hot wire and the hot wire keeps the cows from crowding the woven wire fence and going over the top. Because the cows and calves are right across the fence from each other, it eases the anxiety of being separated from each other. They do bawl for a day or two, but otherwise weaning this way is a minimally stressful event. You can see that the calves are more interested in the new paddock of forage that what their mothers are doing across the fence.
Here are Ferdinand (on left) and the cow herd grazing a paddock on a hot August afternoon. Our ability to provide plentiful high quality forage to our cattle even during the peak of summer temperatures is one thing that sets us apart from most other producers. Our 60 day breeding season is drawing to a close and soon Ferdinand will be removed from the herd so that our calving season next year will stay compact and the age variation in our calf crop will be held to a minimum. This helps in producing consistently finished yearlings the following year during our 3 month harvest season. This year's harvest season will start week after next and the first group of animals are very nicely finished. We do still have about half a dozen yearlings that are not sold, so this is a perfect time to take a tour of our ranch and see what harvest ready animals look like.