I cannot tell you how happy I am to see green grass! The pairs have officially been moved off of winter feeding ground and are grazing again. Spring is such an exciting time here at the farm. We will be weaning and processing (vaccinating, deworming, etc.) calves this weekend. Toro, our new Hereford bull was also taken out last week and the cows will be pregnancy checked in May.
This past fall, we overseeded three fescue pastures and the grass came up well but needed some help with early growth. For the first time ever, we decided to put out nitrogen to help those young seedlings put on growth for the spring. We have an abundance of chicken litter that we normally use for fertilizer but through soil testing (which I highly recommend, don’t guess- soil test!) we know that our phosphorous and potassium levels are fine. When you add chicken litter, you add all three (nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium) to the soil. So, in order to avoid adding more nutrients (which is a waste of money, time, and not needed by the soil/plants) than needed, we opted to go with just nitrogen for the pastures. Bring on the green!
Our weaning process is pretty simple. We start by creep feeding the calves and getting them use to coming into the catch pen and also to eating grain. This helps them overcome the loss of mom (milk) when it comes time to wean. It also helps us catch them to process them throughout the 30-45 days while they are being weaned. Once they get use to the creep feeder in the catch pen, we start bucket feeding them so they associate us with feed and can easily be caught. Our health protocol involves calves receiving two rounds of modified-live (respiratory), two rounds of blackleg, two rounds of deworming (oral Safeguard + Ivomec injectable), and identification (ear tag if they do not already have one from calving and tattoo for registered calves).
While sorting out our bull, steer, and cows for moving and/or deworming I weighed a few calves for fun. One of the steers I weighed was almost 500 lbs. which to me is awesome considering the calves have only been on their dam’s milk with no creep until now. They also ate what we gave the cows over the winter (hay, a little feed but not much because the cows are pigs, protein tubs, minerals). Crossbreeding also has something to do with this. We crossbreed Black Angus and Hereford to achieve a 50/50 (and sometimes 75/25) cross with hybrid vigor. Hybrid vigor means heavier calves, healthier calves, and the best of both breeds.
We also took little Ms. Payton to the Chatham County Spring Ag Fest this past weekend and had a blast. She enjoyed seeing and petting all the animals as well as visiting with everyone we came across there. If you didn’t go, you missed out! We will be back!
We will have 1-3 commercial heifers available (1-50/50 cross, 2-75/25 Hereford crosses). Also, we are considering offering 2 young (3 & 4 y.o.) commercial bred cows (50/50 crosses) that are bred back to a Hereford for 75/25 cross calf, due in September/October).
If you are interested in the sale cattle, more information along with photos will be posted this month on our sale page! You can also email us directly from our contact page if you have any questions and/or would like to see the sale cattle in person.
Hope you enjoy the amazing spring weather and if you need me I will be working the chute this weekend!