Farmerjan's journal - Weather

SageHill

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Went up and we sorted the steers... they had been sorted, but then one of the boards (that has been needing replacement for a year) broke and several got mixed together... so we had to bring both groups down and sort out the bigger ones that Caleb and DS had "graded" and sorted 2 weeks ago.... got then done, and the guy who is buying some silage was there and DS loaded him (gets a pickup load at a time) and I ran home to feed bottles... then went back and got feed for DS, out of the bin as he fed some hay... he had fed the silage in the barn when I was doing calves, and then went with him to feed hay at 2 places. Then got back to the barn and he was going to get a buddy's cattle trailer as these steers are in the 7-800 lb range and we have 30 to take so need the 2 trailers. Our other trailer that I prefer, needs a new floor... has a couple "soft" spots... and not going to risk anything "going through the bottom"...
So he dropped me back at the barn at my car... he left to feed some hay at another place and then go get the trailer so that in the morning all we have to do is load and go. The steers in the barn have silage, and got fed their grain, and the one trailer is all backed up to the loading alley....
I came home, made a cheese omelet, and am going in to take a shower and go to bed. Need to be up by 3:30 to get to the barn between 4-4:15 and we want to be loaded and gone by 5... be there at 6 or so, as we have no idea of what the line(cattle to be sold/trailers) might be or not... plus DS has to go to work as soon as we get back... then we will go back for the graded sale at 6... they have their regular sale at 1 or so, and then no matter what they are selling, they stop to specifically sell the animals that made it into the "graded pen... Graded means that they meet certain specs as far as the type, frame size, and get co-mingled with others according to weights... if for some reason any of ours do not grade, we will bring them back home and then see if they match anything else we have and sell later on. It costs more to sell in the graded sale, but certain buyers will pay more for graded animals since they get orders from farmers that will either graze them, or feed them out to finish sizes for butcher animals...
It is a "game" of deciding what to sell where and when... Caleb is taking his calves in to the sale also, and has been after DS to take a load up there... we have sold at this yard a few times years ago, but not often. The sales are on Thursdays, and it was never real convenient and it is an hour away as opposed to the closer one we often sell steers at. But Caleb (who is a state grader and used to work for us part-time as a kid) said that the state graded sales here bring in a good bunch of buyers... and with the reduced number of cattle around, thinks this will be a very good one... we also need to get some cattle moved around and need the space to bring home the cows and calves from that one place anyway...
As part of the NRCS (or NCRS or, whatever it is) he is replacing fences and putting in another waterer or 2... to make a couple more lots so we can actually get them separated out more... and once that gets done, we will have another couple ways to separate and sort them and have places to put some when we first bring them home from pastures and all. Now we have to move some around and lock some out of the barn, shift things, for the short term when working cattle....
Alot more than I ever planned to do when I got started... and I do not enjoy all the feeding stuff like he does, but it is his money and his farm really, so we do this his way...

Found out that sq bale of hay I picked up was one of his, he had sold 20 bales to someone and there was only 19 on the truck .... told him I want another 5-10 for the calves at the barn... and he is getting $12 a sq bale for it and the lady was thrilled to get it. A friend of his has this "contract" but he doesn't have enough to sell... so DS is getting in on the deal...
I am going to watch and see how the holstein bull calves are selling... and if they are still doing good, will probably go ahead with the deal on the calves from the dairy... they ought to be starting to be born in 10 days... go once a week, or twice a week if they have alot of bull calves... have to get the 2 hutches moved around and the panels set up... at least they will be at the house to make bottles a little easier for now. Especially if this calf market stays good... and feeders look good for this year.

So, time to get some sleep...
Good luck at the sale barn. Sounds pretty good 👍🏼.
 

farmerjan

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Early morning,,,,we got to the barn about 4:15.... DS fed a little grain in the barn on top of the silage so calves could get it.... and then loaded 15 on one trailer, backed the other one up and the other 15 on it...opened gates so the others could come in after being locked out last night... and we left. Got to the sale and were the 2nd ones there... took 30 and they graded 2 as "short" so we brought them back home as they will go through the regular sale here closer and mix in with some of our other ones... the 2 biggest steers were 935 each... heavier than DS thought... most weighed in the 8 wts, and some that were in the 7 wts. We will go back up this evening.... Stopped on the way back to fuel up... several places were 3.99 for diesel, but the truck stop was 3.52..... BIG Difference... filled "my truck" ( I was driving) and one tank on his truck and it was still $163 in fuel... DS left and came on down to unload the 2 calves and go to work.... and I fueled at his pump so didn't have to get card okayed again for over the $75 limit on the card at the pump deal...
Fuel is creeping up... Gas here was down to 2.83 and went to 2.94 overnight at 2 stations.... one was still 2.83 and I filled up yesterday... trying to keep the vehicles full of gas when it is cold anyway... News said that gas prices were going to go up... $.11 in one night is alot all at once. Kinda glad I am not testing as much so less money spent....
Heading up to feed calves... it was down to 31 last night, but it is partly/mostly hazy cloudy out there so probably won't warm up like yesterday... some showers forecast for Fri night and Sat but not alot..... temps dropping at night the end of next week back into the teens....
 

Mini Horses

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At least the early arrival got you a short line 👍 Hope they sell well!! It's a roulette game with both -- livestock & gas! 🫤 I sure understand why so many get out of livestock for a living.

Gas is running about same here... +/- 3.75 diesel & 2.90 gas. Yep...here I saw a 12 cent hike between morn & afternoon. Must have gotten a tank load. Off-road diesel was 3.59 last buy. 🤷

Weather here supposed to be 4 days of 60 & sunshine. 🎉 I'm home, too. Hope fence work happens.

The ag community is having huge issues, worldwide. Wars creating much, weather another catalyst to everything from planting to harvesting, to transport. It's not a good cycle we're experiencing. My sole comfort is garden and farm animals here.

That said -- there are foreign countries who would love to attack our power grids & military forces. Our own govt can't decide what to order for lunch without an argument. It's disgusting!
 

Ridgetop

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Went up and we sorted the steers... they had been sorted, but then one of the boards (that has been needing replacement for a year) broke and several got mixed together... so we had to bring both groups down and sort out the bigger ones that Caleb and DS had "graded" and sorted 2 weeks ago...
I have that problem with things not being fixed when i tell the men to do it. It was easier back when DH went to work, the kids went to school, and I fixed everything myself. No argument that it would "last till. . . . " Annoying when it makes more work later.
It is a "game" of deciding what to sell where and when...
I subscribe to Livestock Weekly and always red the rerts on prices going up and down. Of course, it doesn't predict WHEN sheep or cattle prices are definitely going up! LOL But it does give you an overall picture since they also cover climate and drought. It has helped in the past when I insisted we buy a lot of hay during good growing seasons prepping for drought. Lots of argument from DH but I am not afraid of a slight disagreement. Or as we call it, a loud discussion".
LOLFound out that sq bale of hay I picked up was one of his, he had sold 20 bales to someone and there was only 19 on the truck .... told him I want another 5-10 for the calves at the barn... and he is getting $12 a sq bale for it
Great that you found out where to get that good calf hay and were able to buy some for the bottle calves. Young calves can't always eat the coarse stuff and the good stuff encourages them to start solid food earlier.
if they are still doing good, will probably go ahead with the deal on the calves from the dairy... they ought to be starting to be born in 10 days... go once a week, or twice a week if they have alot of bull calves... have to get the 2 hutches moved around and the panels set up... at least they will be at the house to make bottles a little easier for now. Especially if this calf market stays good... and feeders look good for this year.
I would think with the lower cattle numbers and high cost of replacements heifers and bred cows, that good beef prices would keep on for another year at least. Getting bottle calves and selling them sounds like a good proposition for you for the next year or so. If you can find a good nurse cow or two, even better. She doesn't even have to be young since you can afford to supplement her if she is consistently producing enough mi to feed several calves. This is your thing too, compared to DS's beef raising.

You might be able to find some used calf hutches or build some too. LKeeing them at home is a great idea and cuts down on your workload. Once they are off bottles they can go join the other calves. One thing about bottle calves - they get personal attention. I used to raise bull Holstein calves on the goat milk from our dairy does. We had to keep all of them in milk for 10 months on test and because the children showed them. Even 4 kids can only drink so much milk and separate so much for ice cream (DS3's favorite activity during the summer). I didn't want to bother making cheese so we raised calves. My little Holstein calves were fat, glossy, and not covered in muck. We raised and sold them in groups of 3 and they brought more at 2 months as the black calves.

I think this is a great new venture for you with cattle prices what they are.
 

farmerjan

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Just got back from the sale... Prices were about what DS expected, but honestly I was not overly impressed. With the increased cost of selling commission, I am of the opinion it was not all that much worth it... Told DS that it would be good to know what he had in them in feed and all for the winter... Brought in the 2.20-2.40 range... I don't have the check stub, here. None of this group had any of mine in it. The next group will have a few of mine...

Thing is, the 4-6 weights were bringing 2.50-3.15... so an 750 lb @ 2.30 was worth $1725.... and a 600 lb @2.80 was worth $1680.... 50 bucks difference for 3 months feed and work... NOT worth it... BUT... they wouldn't have brought 2.30 when he brought the ones home from WV, and added in some of our other ones here, last fall. So a trade off... but I have never found it to be worth feeding them out to heavier weights... and I have told him that, but he wanted to try it again with the way prices have been... and I don't think he lost money, but it did not give the return that weaned 30-45 day calves would bring this time of year. It might pay to feed the late fall weaned calves a bit... but not to keep them like he did these ones that were off the pasture from last year...
Around here the sweet spot is 400-600 lbs. Saw quite a few in the 375-475 weights bring 3.15 and 3.20... that's over $1200 a head for a lightweight steer calf.

SOOOOO... with those prices, DS said he may very well sell another load next friday at the regular sale closer here.... before they get too big... and before he has much more feed in them... Then, we will get all the other ones home from pastures, and the 5 out of the nurse cow pasture that need to be weaned... and he will have another group to decide what he is going to do with them.....there will be a few of mine in this next group to sell, as these calves will be mostly our home raised ones.

The lunchroom/restaurant was closed at the sale.. so we did not get a chance to eat. And once all ours were sold, he got the check and we came on home. We have that mock convention thing tomorrow, so I have to get going before 7 to go get the truck and go down to where we get hooked to the trailers and wagons... I hope to be home by noon... Calves will get one feeding tomorrow... extra milk... but they are eating a good amount of hay and grain so are fine... I just want to keep the twins all on milk for another month as they are still smaller, but growing...
Got a text that the farmer that I am going to work the deal with on the baby calves, has a bull calf out of a mature cow so probably pretty good sized... Will text her back in the morning, and see about going to get it maybe over the weekend I guess... the heifers are not due to start calving until around the 20th she said... was not expecting it so soon... but oh, well.... Why the he// not start sooner...:th....:th

:barnie:barnie:he:he:idunno:idunno:hide:hide.

@Ridgetop ....The sq bale of hay I found along the road was from OUR hay... DS was taking a load of 20 bales to this person... I haven't bought any for the calves, but I will pay him for some of it if he wants since he can sell it... he said there is a big tarp full of hay chaff from them loading the real good bales, and for me to go get that for the calves too... If I get 5-10 bales of the real, real nice stuff, it was 3rd cutting and made perfectly....and 10 bales of the decent grass hay 2nd cutting.. it will go a long way with the calves... I am feeding out about 2-3 sections total, from the bales of the 2 kinds of hay; and they are cleaning most of it up in 24 hours... There are 3 calves that are 10-12 weeks (my 2 and the orphan) plus the 4 smaller ones are eating pretty good also.

Going to start keeping very close track of the money I put into these bottle babies... and see how I make out on them... I have a pretty good idea of the 6 so far... but I need to designate feed and hay just for the bottle baby enterprise... as opposed to feeding grain to the beef cows and other calves there also... once I get the 5 weaned off the cows and out of there... I can start to do a little creep feeding so I can get the next group of beef calves in the barn to get tagged and worked... and maybe I will be able to tag the baby calves as they are born to the heifers... but I want to keep the holstein's grain and hay separate... or at least keep a measure of what I am feeding them...
Will keep looking for a nurse cow or 2....

Anyone see any sales on fence/cow panels? I need to go on TSC website... need some T-posts for the fence project here...and panels for the calf hutches..
@Ridgetop .. I have 2 nearly new calf hutches from an auction a year ago... figured I would need them one day... Also have 5 new sheets of "tin" for a shed/roofing project... bought at a steal last year from Lowe's (quit carrying that size and wanted it out of the inventory)... Need to get a "moveable" shed built, on skids, for them, so it can get pulled to different spots...

Well, time to go to bed... I took a shower and washed my hair today since I was tired last night... so can just hit the sack... go do the mock convention thing in the morning..... go to the dinner meeting tomorrow night... and go test cows Sat morning... since I couldn't do them Friday night with the dinner meeting thing... make arrangements for getting the bull calf... test tuesday evening and it will be midnight coming home... cow sale wed evening, and selling 4-5 open cows and a bull.... Chiropractor appt Thurs afternoon... and maybe selling cattle again on Friday... no vet check this mon or tues when he is going to be down this way as we will not get the cows moved here this weekend... so maybe try to make it for Mon/19th when DS is off for Presidents day...
Haven't heard back about the big 2500+ cow dairy testing yet...

Want to try to fit in burning the brush pile in the garden when it rains next too...

Need a couple of weeks with 10 days, instead of 7 .... LOL:idunno:th:th:he :smack:gig:gig:lol::lol:
 

Baymule

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Prices on calves are real good. It’s about time producers got paid. But of course everything it takes to get that calf to weaning age is much more expensive too. I’ve been thinking I’d raise another steer when I got more fencing put up, but I might be better off to go buy a side of beef from a grass farmer.
 

farmerjan

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@Baymule there would be good and bad about raising a steer... If you had more fencing, it would be a good compliment to rotate with the sheep... they will eat some of the different grasses.... BUT.... you do not have "more grass than you need"... so might not be good. You want to keep the ewe numbers up, and they will utilize it better I think...
If you were to get a calf/feeder animal for meat... the best thing would be to sit at the auction and buy one that has a bad eye that would be discounted alot... They can do fine in a pasture that they get familiar with, with only 1 eye...you would be better off to find someone to buy one for you that is discounted for some problem like that... But right now prices are so high that even one like that is going to cost a pretty penny... Heifers are cheaper than steers... you do not want a bull that needs to be worked....Still might be better to just buy a half from someone and keep the pasture/grazing for the sheep.
 
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