Farmerjan's journal - Weather

farmerjan

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Sunday late aft. There was a very little snow still in spots, day was partly cloudy, chilly....
DS wanted to get some of the cattle moved out of the barn that they had preg ckd and get a few others moved to where they needed to be.
So, I made up the lists of who needed to be where, and we got to work on that about 1 pm. Got 3 moved to the field with the cow/calf pairs that were open or maybe short bred. 2 have calves and one we pulled the calf off as it is probably close to 500 lbs. Took one heifer to the nurse cow field that needed to be bred. If she gets out of there, she gets sold. She has twice gone over/through fences for some weird reason.... was never a problem in the past. Of course, she is mine....
Moved 6 that are only bred about 2 months up in the back with their calves still on them. They will get some silage for the winter and the calves will get pulled off when we are ready to sell the bulk of the weaned calves. There are 3 or 4 old cows back in this field too... They are right near the barn area, easy to get them in, in Mar/Apr whenever we decide to sell calves and just get the calves off them. These were late calving this year.... June and 2 not until late July... so the fact that they bred back is really pretty good. Might be able to "back them up" again next year so they are more in the spring group. One of them is getting some age on her and it might be her last calf next time. But since their calves are a little bit younger, no sense in pulling the calves off, since they will be getting silage and should milk a little better through the winter and the calves will gain from that and from eating silage also. Then we will pull the calves in early spring, and the cows will get a 2 month break (dry period) before calving again.
Took 5 out back with the dry cows that are 5+ months bred from this last preg ck too. They also bred back pretty fast since they did not calve until Mid-late May.
And there are the 6 that he is going to sell - cull cows - and the one with the calf. She has no udder, so not much milk and the calf is 150 lbs if it is lucky when the next smallest one in that group was 300+..... It wasn't the youngest calf in there either.
Then he loaded the one that was going to the butcher, and took her. It is one of mine, that I kept but after she hit 14-15 months, just decided that she really wasn't that great and I didn't want to breed her. So we just kept her for a beef. I told him that was fine, she would get sold or make a beef so I will get a little more out of her this way.
That gets about 20+ out of the barn which will really help, once he takes the cull cows. I think he is going to take them to the sale tomorrow since he is off work for the MLK holiday. This will allow the weaned calves a chance to be able to get to the feed bunk to eat without the cows pushing them around. And the dry cows don't need to be eating all that silage too.

One more bigger group out at a pasture that will come home in another week or so. They had a ton of grass when we rotated them into the last pasture section.... There are mostly steers in that group. At least 25 cows I think. The calves were born in Mar/Apr so will be bigger too. Let's hope they are all bred.

So I will get some paper and get my new lists made up as to who is where now.... and then be able to make a couple of duplicate lists so that as they calve DS can record them if he gets them tagged.

It was muddy with the little bit of snow and the wet from the last 2 days. It was all I could do to walk in it as I am not very steady on these knees. But it is done. The day is really damp though... kinda goes through you.

I am going in to do some stuff in the kitchen... I have changed my mind on some of the cabinets... as far as what goes where a bit. Going to move some stuff over to another one and make more room near the sink for the dishes. I didn't really allow enough space for the dishes.

Got the sewing center/table all dusted/cleaned and set up and the drawers all back in it. Brought up the chair I use at it, and a couple odd things this morning since it was so muddy/wet, I didn't want to try to back up to the porch, so didn't bring heavy/bulky stuff up. I need to go in the LR and kinda decide where I am going to put the couch and all.... I am going to put the coaster things under the one chair so I can slide it. Next will be the TV that I can manage I think, and the "coffee table" that it will set on.... might put it up on a bracket to hang it, once I figure out where I want it. Since I haven't really decided where I want the furniture in there, and the desk has to come up, I just need to look at the room. Also want to figure out the "sun" that comes in through the windows so that the TV can be seen without too much reflection or sunlight hitting directly on it. I am not going to use the one chair, and want to leave space for a recliner. I am thinking maybe a rocker recliner???? Any pros or cons on that???? I know that I will not get the one that "lifts" since hearing how slow they are.... and a friend also said NO NO NO NO .... but like someone said... @Baymule I think... get the one with the handle on the side to put the foot rest part down instead of trying to push with my legs.... knees....

Went by and fed the horse... Deb called and is coming out this eve for a week . So that will be one less thing to worry with for a few days. Not that the horse is a problem....

Have the spice/baking supplies cupboard at the rental house emptied out. Need to do a real good cleaning job as there were mice that had gotten into it that I didn't see... not doing any baking here lately, I didn't open it up much. All the shelves come out but the middle one that helps to keep it together/stable/sturdy..... So I will bring them up and may even put them in the bathtub for a quick washdown and then dry them off. They are all finished and polyurethaned so the water shouldn't hurt them as long as I don't soak them. But it will give me a chance to take a soft scrubbie thing to them and get them cleaned. Got another one that I am going to put in the utility room and use as a linen closet thing for the towels and such. That way I can move it if I decide to put more than one freezer in there....
I am purging some of the "old" food supplies.... found some moths in some stuff.... so am being real careful of what I bring so I don't bring any problems with me. It's easy enough to get them from store bought stuff. Plus since I didn't do any real baking this past year hardly, some of it just needs to be cleaned out. Most looks fine though... and alot is in glass or the vacuum pack canisters.

Going in to get some things done in the kitchen. Sat down after all the time on my feet in the barn, although I was walking some and opening and shutting gates so not as bad as just standing. Getting hungry too.....
 

farmerjan

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@Ridgetop , I would definitely do heifers if the fences are good. You have enough experience with sheep and knowing that the ewe lambs need to be out and away from any rams until old and big enough to breed. Same deal with heifers. Hormones are the biggest drawback.... if you have anyone that abuts you with a bull it can get to be a PITA... sometimes the heifers go gallivanting, not just the bulls come looking....
Cow calf pairs are alot of investment for not that great a return many years. Our leased farmland is more conducive to running them as once the calf is on the ground, they are pretty self sufficient.... pink eye and a few other things can be a problem.... but momma takes care of the calf mostly without alot of input/time.
If you can find someone that wants to run heifers, then you can do it one of a couple ways. Just flat out rent the pastures.... rent paid up front..... them getting out etc is the farmers problems. You can "custom raise them" .... you get paid per head or per lb gained.... different ways to go there. But you are responsible for their care..... not workable if you are not there.
Stocker calvers are a real gamble if you are up on the markets and such. You can make money.... and you can lose your shirt. One thing.... if you buy from someone.... make sure they are weaned 45-60 days and vaccinated with at least Blackleg.....but preferable something like Triangle 10.... Triangle is a killed virus vaccine.... there are MLV vaccines too. Whatever you get, they need vaccinations to help offset any health problems. Moving/buying/selling is stressful and some will get sick. Then you have to have a way to get them in and be able to treat/give shots etc.
Think of what you do for the sheep and just triple the size......
If you were to do stockers, steers will cost more in the spring.... and it will a gamble what they bring in the fall with the added weight gain. If I were to do it for myself... I would buy stocker heifers.... they are cheaper than steers, and the price differential is less in the fall with the weight gain. If they are nice heifers, someone might want to take them home for breeding... 500 lb steers say cost 1.75/lb in the spring. They gain say 300 lbs.... sell at 800 lbs for 1.30....you put 875 in them to buy....you get 1040 back. That's 275+/- profit.... minus expenses....and minus death loss....
Heifers will cost 1,30 @ 500 lbs.... 650..... Sell in the fall at 750 lbs for 1.20 ....900......so a 250 difference..... and often heifers will bring close to what you paid per lb. There seems to be less of a per lb risk on them..... and we find that heifers don't seem to get sick like steers do.....just our personal experience. Death loss hurts more on the higher priced steers.....
If you can find someone that wants to rent... and you are talking to extension.... then they can guide you on stocking rates and such. Make sure that you allow for drought.....much more a variable there than here most years. Don't overstock.....
 

Ridgetop

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Thanks! Farmerjan! I knew you would be the one to go to for this information. :love I like the idea of just renting the pasture for now. Once we move back there we can decide if we want to continue renting out the pasture or bringing in our own calves. When we move back there, if we decided to invest in a few calves, I think we will go with the heifer calves. I like the idea that there are 2 sale markets - for beef and/or breeding cows. That gives us a better chance at breaking even or making a few dollars.

In the meantime, we need to get our property. I am checking on options now to be ready for eventualities. Since we are out here in CA with no fences to build or barns to set up this is the best time to do all this computer and information finding work!
 

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Monday night. Cold cloudy dreary day. 25 to maybe 36???? Flurries around, but no accummulation.
Loaded the drawers out of the rolltop desk and the table top convection oven into the car to come up to the house. Went by the barn; DS was at the barn and had to re-sort cows because a couple of them had gotten a gate bent, calves got in with cows, it was a mess he said. He did get them sorted, had a cow/cf pair from the group in back get in and had to get them put back.... long story short.... a royal pain but he got it done. I was going to leave some stuff for the dairy I tested the other day, that I forgot to leave when we had all the problems with the computer.... as that stockyard is fairly close to that farm..... so DS said I was welcome to go to the sale with him, if I wanted to and I just decided on the spot that I wanted an afternoon off and away. So we went. Took the 6 cull cows and the one little calf.
Prices were okay on the pound/cull cows but not great. It is looking like the prices on the feeders are getting softer. Steers in the 4 wts were bringing 1.35-1.50; 5 wts in the 1.40's; 6 wts 1.20's. Bulls in those weights were 10 -15 cents lower. Bought a bred hereford that looks like a heifer but has adult teeth.... probably only 2nd calf coming... 6 months bred.... for $750.... there were some others but they were only 2-4 months bred so would be feeding for at least 6 months before most calved.... and they brought in the 8-1000 range because they were black.... a couple of older looking cows that were only 3 months bred in the 7-800 range. Heifers in the 4-700 lb range all brought in the 1.05 to 1.25 range.... DS also bought 2 nice looking bulls in the 620 wt for 1.10 and we banded them and gave shots this eve when we got home. Vaccinated the hereford also. They will stay at the barn for a few days to make sure they do okay then the hereford will probably go to the nurse cow field as she is not a big cow and I will want to keep an eye on her when due to calve....probably in Mar-Apr.....
He usually buys some steers for our retired vet friend in the 550-650 range.... he is going to talk to him to see when he wants to start getting his together.... he runs 35 in WVa at the family farm and another 50 or so here at his farm. DS helps him with working them if he buys bulls, and we have bought some and he has then bought them from us and he has sometimes bought some of ours. We can make some money on some of the bulls we buy and work and then sell as steers. But it is a gamble.
The cull cows all brought in the 40's....40, 42, 45, 49 and a one brought 53. The little calf only weighed 135 lbs but brought $100.... he said that it was better than trying to feed it since it was pretty stunted from the cow just not milking much. We were thinking they might have brought more in the low 50's.... but it seems to be the trend that prices are down a bit. Hearing from some of the guys on some of the other forums that their prices are worse.... culls in the 30's-40's and the feeders are 10-40 cents less....
Alot of concern about the upcoming new administration and fuel prices. Feed has gone up alot in the last 2 weeks here. Time for me to get the layer pellet bin filled before it goes up more.
On road diesel fuel here is up to 2.65..... down in the Roanoke area you can find it for 2.25. I am getting the tank here at the house filled the end of this week.... I think it is still in the 2.20 range. To think that 3 months ago it was 1.80.....

Heard on the radio this evening that gas in Va has gone up .08 in the last week....national average is .04 increase.... and there are rumblings that the Biden administration is talking about the possibility of shutting down the Keystone pipeline from Canada....part of the environmental stuff.... which will restrict the amount of oil we get and push prices higher. I told DS that he had better get the fuel tanks at the farm filled....
Got to get the propane co here to put in a tank and get the little gas "fireplace" heater hooked up and a line run for the gas stove in the kitchen. Going to see if they will put in a big tank so that I can have a whole house generator in the future..... and get the propane filled now before it gets too sky high. Then keep it full so that the costs average out not so expensive.

This whole situation has got me worried... and I don't spook easily. There is alot of talk/hints about all the executive orders that Biden is going to sign in his first few weeks in office.... reversing alot of the roll backs on taxes and things that Trump did. It is going to be a mess for awhile. Will be glad to get the money from the retirement account into mine and get some things done, stuff paid off, feed bins filled, and some money squirreled away. I am going to see about the outside wood stove too.... I think it is going to be the best way to go. Get the guys here to do the clearing out of the boxwoods and cutting down the saplings and brush stuff so I can get the stove put in this spring.... DS says a friend may have a fuel oil furnace to sell that they are taking out to put in a heat pump or something like that....so might be able to get a not too expensive "newer" furnace to use too....but if fuel oil goes way up, am going to want that wood furnace.

Got a message on my phone from a solar company.... wants me to call to see if I would qualify.... might make the phone call... see what they have to say. I would only put the panels on the roof of the house.... still trying to find someone to come look at things about the wind power....

Got all the desk drawers moved in from the car, and the convection oven cleaned and set up on the counter and heated a bowl of soup this evening. So good to go to heat easy stuff now or reheat stuff while I am working here. Getting closer....

Tomorrow, Tues.....PT at 8 a.m., then a couple errands closeby, then back to get stuff in the car for the afternoon testing....160 cows last month. Have to go by and pick up the samples from the other former dairyman that has the 3 cows that runs his samples with this farm. I actually remembered to call him and tell him when I was going.... Will test a 200 cow herd on Wed afternoon then going to drop meters at the farm that does their own samples since I will be 2 miles from it.... then pick them up when he calls and says he is done. Save me a trip one way. Have another farm to test but they haven't paid so have to wait til I get the okay from the office.... or I won't get paid and the farmer won't get his results.... We get an updated list every other week of farms we cannot test until "billing matters have been resolved" .... See where the 500+ cow herd is on it.... I mentioned last month when I was there that the mgr needed to bring it to the attention of the owners....I print the bills when I am at the farms... some pay then but many pay when they get their milk checks which is twice a month which is fine.....but, it makes things uncomfortable for me when a farm calls... or when I know that I need to go test and cannot.... doesn't help the paycheck any when the ones don't test that are supposed to.... plus then it makes me get all jammed up when they do pay and then they all want to test at once.

Weather is supposed to be about the same for the next week....clouds and sun.... mid 20's and 40's.... then dropping the last week of Jan with day temps in the 30's and nights in the teens....
Oh but the days are getting longer.... only 2 months to spring.....
 

farmerjan

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@Ridgetop ... if they just outright rent the pasture, then they can run whatever they want. Do consider stocking rates and not let them eat it into the ground, unless it is weedy pasture that overgrazing and then reseeding might be of benefit. If the fences are decent; then make sure maintenance of fences are part of their responsibility.
We have agreements that are different for almost every different place we rent.... whatever suits the individual. But MOST are in the general range of a per acre, or a set amount for a year. Many we keep up the fences... REPAIR or maintenance.... one we have been rebuilding/putting up new fence a section at a time.... They supply materials.... we do the work, in lieu of rent or reduced rent. If there are questionable fences, that is the best bang for the buck for both in many cases. Some do it all, and we pay more... one even does all the bush hogging... we pay quite a bit more... but there are 5 or 6 different fenced fields and we rotate there.... waterers.... no upkeep on our part. We figure it is worth it in the time savings ..... We do bush hog all the pastures at least once a year... helps to keep down stuff like autumn olive brush and the multiflora rose bushes that will take over... briars.... and to keep the stuff back along the fencelines. That is where goats, and sheep to some extent, are good.... but many we have are high tensile fences that are supposed to be electrified... or barbed wire.... neither will keep our sheep in. Or the coyotes out. So we don't have any natural brush eaters; so keeping them bush hogged around the perimeter helps to keep the brush and trash stuff from growing out into the fields.
 

Mini Horses

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What about liability? Here, if a cow gets out into road and car hits, owner of cow pays. Well, their farm/homeowners ins has coverage. TX???? Don't know the fencing laws there.
 

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@Mini Horses has a good point... about liability. We have to carry it and list all the different places we rent/lease/use so that if there is a claim... some animal getting out and causing damage, like getting hit by a car... we are covered. We also have "fence in" and "fence out" counties... You have to keep your animals fenced in , in Augusta county just north... but Rockbridge county is a fence out county. It gets sticky on the fence out counties.... but if the animal gets into the road then it is different and the owner of the animal is responsible....

Have seen where a farmer has refused to claim a cow that got out and was hit on the road.... no way to "prove" it was his cow....so no liability through his insurance.... demolished the car but no one got hurt.... had another that had cows getting out, and they were threatened with a lawyer if they did not pay for the damage to the car ... and the cow was killed.... they then gave up that pasture, we got it and worked out a deal to build fence for no rent for several years....

Anyone that rents, even in Texas, I think it would be a wise thing to make sure they have farm liability ins.....ESPECIALLY if you are not even there to "oversee things"....
 

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Hmmm, fostering the replacement heifers. Sounds like an interesting proposition.

I recall greybeard saying that Texas is a "fence out" state. Meaning if you don't want a herd of cattle on your property it is your responsibility to fence them out. If you don't and someone else's animals cause damage to your property, it is your fault not the owner of the animal.

Good thoughts on the liability though, with respect to animals getting out on the road, even in TX.
 

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Tuesday night. It started out a little sunny, but became more cloudy for some of the day and then a little more sun late afternoon. But it was "breezy" so quite chilly. Not a very comfortable day, but it wasn't as drab/dreary as the past couple.
Did PT early and then came to new house. I hurt today from it and knees were not as flexible as they have been some days. We talked about the upcoming dr appt as I got the "paperwork" on the computer they said they would send a week before.... He asked me what I was thinking of a time frame... and I said that if I was approved and all, if they had an opening/cancellation for surgery in the next couple weeks for any reason I would take it.....he said that was good to go into it with a plan and with a backup plan....I would be out of the rental and in here to "come home to" after the rehab.... and then be able to just work on getting the rest of the stuff put away at my time frame. I am thinking that I am going to just start getting the rest moved up here and stacked now....IN CASE.... something might work out.... plus be done with the other place, Waiting to hear from the moving guys as soon as they get their "quarantine" thing done....
I then worked on the herd to get the samples done and sent out after all the problems with their computer. Got them done finally.

Got the bottles and stuff in the car, put on farm clothes as I am not going to wear my clean good clothes in the parlor and get splattered and smelly from the iodine and cow sh#t.....
Left and dropped off the samples, then went to the farmer that only has a couple cows now that he milks. Got his samples and we were talking about the state of the country... and 25,000 "troops" for an inauguration where there will be no civilians.... but the gov't was not "allowed" to send in troops to protect the federal building they were burning down with people in it this summer.... SAD TIMES.....

Called another farm.... left message. Got to the farm and had to change all the meter brackets for this farm due to the height/positioning of the meters. Started milking at 3:15 and done at 6; then computer stuff and waiting for them to go through the complete wash cycles. Finally loaded them up and got here just before 8p.m.

The farm that is selling out next week is where my one cow is. She is dry, due in the end of March. Had trouble getting her bred. He said that he will be getting all the cows moved to the barn area and has trailers lined up to move them all on Wed morning. He is keeping some of his bred heifers and some younger ones, as well as 1 or 2 cows. He said that we could get together to get my cow out of there the end of the month or so; she will not be in the way and will be just in with the ones he is keeping.
That is good, since I want to see how the dr appt goes. She has never been hand milked or raised calves.... I am thinking that she needs to go on the dairy with the other ones..... We'll see after next week since he is not pushing to get her moved out..... Hate to see him sell out...he quit testing about a year or 18 months ago I guess..... but it is the sign of the times.... and the kids don't want to milk. Don't blame them. They are amish, but more modern.... drive cars and all that. Nice people.

Heard that there are a couple more Mennonite farmers going out up in the Harrisonburg area. The forecast drop in milk prices have finally made them say enough.... it is going to get ugly this year I am afraid.

Going to get these samples packed this evening and then go down the hill. Tomorrow I have to change all the brackets back to the other position for the farm I am going to tomorrow.... 200 cows.... and they will be milking by 2 pm so will have to get there by 1 to set up. Nothing much will get done here once I get up to the house and get the brackets switched, and then the hoses I need for that farm and then the different hoses I need for the other farm where I will leave stuff for them to test Thursday eve/Friday morn.....I will drop off the stuff Wed night after I get done testing since it is so close. Plus all the sample bottles loaded for both farms.....
Thursday have Pool PT at 10:30.... hoping to get a little more flexibility and less ache on these knees.....

Friday I have to pick up the samples from the owner sampler farm and do his computer work.... Thinking I may go by the stockyard for the sale.... there are supposed to be some cow/calf pairs there. DS went and looked at them and said they are pretty nice cows, quiet.... but they are 10+ years old and he wants more than we feel we can spend on them. Most will raise this calf, and MAYBE one more.... and he wants 1200... then came down to 1175 and then when DS said that we really did not want to put more than 1000 in them with their age even though they are nice cows... he came down to 1085.... but it is still too much. 1000 is really more than they are worth.... DS knows the guy and he was very nice about it and explained that we were really looking for some 6-8 year old cows that we could get 3-5 more calves out of..... and the guy was very honest and said at first that they were maybe 8-9 years old.... but his daughter said that they were more like 11 or so because they had gotten them when she was in like 4th or 5th grade... she showed a couple of calves from them and she is now in college....so he told DS that they were older than he thought at first. So DS is feeling a little torn because they are in good shape.... and there is a bull running with them so they could be bred back.... the guy is losing this pasture so they are selling this group.... There's only 8 but that is still 8,000 at our max price.....the calves are all in the 150-225 lb size so won't be ready to sell until late summer.... if even one or 2 don't breed back then the salvage value is maybe 500..... selling the calf for 4-600 is only going to break even and we will have fed them for 6 months....
So, if he takes them to the stockyard.... they might go in the 7-800 range... and we will, can afford to take the chance on some of them. He will be getting market price for them. And if they go higher... then good for him.
We were really looking for cows to be calving in the spring..... don't like to calve these old cows in the fall as the winters are harder on them with little calves.... and we cannot afford to hold them over with paying 1000 a pair for them. Like the $750 little hereford we bought yesterday.... she will be a spring calver and it won't cost that much to feed her for 2+ months til she calves. Plus she is probably only 4 yrs old.
Well, we'll see.... he and I will talk before Friday.....I know he has to work so doubt that he will get off in time to get there for the cows....

Going to close and get these samples packed so I can take a few extra minutes in the morning. I might try to do the errands tomorrow.... that I still have not gotten to....leave early to go to the farm....I really need another heater for the house with the forecast night temps this coming weekend in the teens. Maybe Thursday I can get back to moving some more stuff up here.... and getting more stuff put away in the kitchen cabinets. I know that I will not be up to it tomorrow eve, if tonight is anything to go by....
 

Mini Horses

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If sounds like you and son are getting a little more "back to" the farm considerations. Maybe the raunchy "glow" of his love life is settling into a routine of "get back to work". :) that would be amazing!

So, are you going to the auction? Are these cows going to be there or he may send the but, later? I know you want black cows but is the hereford you recently got bred to angus? Of course hereford has been around forever and used to be the go to....

We are just as anxious as you to hear about the appt next week! 😁:fl. Hope it's only good news. Operations are not always good news but, this would be. Imagine next summer without the pain! Yep, worth it.

Now we need those movers to call and get you out of the rental. :yesss:. Coming soon!
 

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