We were switching pastures today with the herd, and stopped off at the corrals on the way by to do some counting and wean the young’ns from their mamas. This will help the mother cows focus their energy on the calf they are carrying in utero, whom will arrive later this summer. As her pregnancy moves closer to term, her nutritional requirements will increase significantly, and weaning last year’s calf now helps her deliver a healthy new calf later.
We choose to calve in the spring/summer for this reason and several others. Many ranches in our area do their calving between February and April, and so did we once upon a time. We just got tired of fighting with Mother Nature. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, hey? It has proven to be a wise move for a long list of reasons that would take another entire article.
The cattle are looking good…way good, considering we are in the fourth year of severe drought in this region of Montana where we live. These ladies and gents are just coming off winter grazing where they’ve been munching on a field of sorghum for a few months now. Today, they’re headed out to some temporary pastures in hopes that warm weather jump starts the grass growth. Spring has been late in arriving this year, so water and forage are at a premium.
As always, we’re praying for more moisture, and looking to the skies often in anticipation. (We’d sure appreciate any prayers you could send up on our behalf.) Parts of Montana were blasted hard by recent blizzards. Unfortunately, we were on the outer fringes and only got a “skiff”. (Is that even a real word?) The dirt is already starting to blow again, but we’re sitting pretty compared to many other folks around us, though it has taken a great deal of careful planning. By changing our management practices we’re grateful we can continue to raise healthy livestock in record-breaking drought without molesting our land just to “get by”. And cutting out the middle-man in selling our beef directly to our precious consumers allows us to be less dependent on commodities markets to survive.
We pray that wherever you are, the grass is green, your family is healthy and happy, and life is treating you kind. Until next time…