Posted By: Jesse Williams
I can’t believe I am writing my last Digital Scrapbook of 2016! Twelve months ago I made a resolution to be more consistent with my blogging in 2016, which included doing a monthly review of life on our farm. I may have been late some months, but I did meet my goal, so can I get wahoo!? My favorite part of these blogs is looking back at my own posts. It’s funny how much you forget in 12 months! If you want to take a look back with us you can watch our 2016 Year in Review video below.
Meet Beatrice the Simmental Cow!
Some of you may know that Clay has a background in raising purebred cattle. Growing up he helped his parents raise Gelbvieh bulls, which his brother and sister-in-law (Flatland Ranch) now excel at. Clay was always famous for saying that he didn’t want to be a purebred breeder, only a commercial cattlemen… Well, insert a wife who grew up showing cattle, and a new barn, and I finally convinced him to buy our first purebred cow to start our Simmental herd. Whoop, whoop!!
This month we purchased SFM RS 16B, which I affectionately nicknamed Beatrice, to be the matriarch of our future purebred herd. Bea is a polled red Simmental second calver who is bred to Skors Casino 53C for a late January calf. We are really looking forward to growing our herd with this powerful, high weaning weight dam, so stay tuned for updates in the future!
Grazing into the New Year
After a very mild fall, winter finally decided to show up in December with some chilly temperatures. A few inches of snow and temperatures in the -30C range meant extra special attention for our livestock. Even with the cold weather, we were fortunate enough to graze our herd for all of December. In order to do so we did need to add extra straw bedding, top up supplements, salt & minerals, and increase supervision to ensure the herd was doing well. During cold snaps ranchers like us bundle up and head on out to the herd even more often to ensure water sources are flowing, cattle have adequate shelter and their nutritional needs are met.
I talk often about our local research association, CARA, in my blogs as they have some great resources. This month was no different as they hosted a CowBytes workshop we attended. CowBytes is a cattle ration building software that you can add your own feed samples into. If you haven’t tried this program before, I highly recommend it. You can build bale feeding programs, grain rations, tub grinding combinations, silage mixes and much more. This program really impressed me because you can insert your own livestock details (breeds, weights, body condition scores, hide thicknesses, etc), change the temperature and wind ranges that your cattle are exposed to, and even input your own water source sample information. Add your own feeding, yardage and forage costs, and you can create the most economical ration that also satisfies the complete nutritional requirements for your particular herd.
Left: This month we finished hauling all of our bales back to our feed yard. These bales will feed our herd from January to May. Right: Our cows grazing the headlands of a canola stubble field.
Progress continued on our new farm yard this month. In between the cold snaps our amazing contractor managed to tin the roof of our house and wrap the exterior (thank you, we are in love with the tin look!). Clay was also busy working on the interior of his shop, completing electrical work, and finished the last of the trench digging in the yard for the winter in preparation for some winter livestock waterers from Legacy Drilling (yes, shameless plug!).
Our new farmhouse at the beginning of December (left) versus the end of the month (right).
Looking Forward to January
Ladies Calving Clinic
Denver National Western Stock Show & Canadian Cattlemen's Young Leaders/ USA National Cattlemen's Beef Association Bilateral Roundtable Discussions
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A Blog About Our Life, Love & Lessons Learned on the Ranch