We have made it to June and for many spring calving herds we have, or soon will, be turning the bulls in to start the breeding season. Although we are on the early side of summer, many will be asking in a couple of months, “just where did the summer go?” It happens every year. So to help make sure we stay on top of our summer cow management tasks I have a few reminders below to keep your herd producing those valuable calves that will reward your efforts.
June is a busy month with many activities that will allow us to provide the general public a little more access to our cattle operations. June is Dairy Month with many activities such as Dairy Breakfast and Farm and City Days and for beef operations there are farm tours and breed association events. These are wonderful activities to highlight the care and dedication that is given to our animals. The interest of the general population in THEIR food supply is at an all-time high. Unfortunately, the availability of misleading information and outright deceptive information about production agriculture and livestock production is also very abundant. In addition, I take issue with advertising by some in the feed and food industry which contributes to the consumer’s confusion by implying that one a product is more wholesome or safer than another that is produced by a different production processes. I challenge you to take the opportunity to open the door a little wider to be even more transparent on your management practices. We need this to continue to gain the trust and support of the general population. If we fail to explain the technology we use, we run the risk of losing access to that technology.
Everyone wants to make the most of summer. In the upper Midwest, we waste no time getting outside to soak up as much sun as possible to get us through the other 7-8 months. It’s no different for the cow-calf operators; the pastures are green, calves are growing like weeds and the next generation is just taking hold. It’s a picture Norman Rockwell would be proud of; however it’s what you don’t see that disturbs the beauty of this scene…mineral deficiencies.
Back in November of 2013, I wrote a blog about how numbers change every day. We are still setting records for cattle prices 7 months later. I saw a video on YouTube where some 425# calves brought $301/cwt on a video auction. August feeder cattle have been over $200/cwt for more than a week now. The cattle markets are hot, and we best take advantage of them! Or as the old cliché says, “Strike while the iron is hot!”