March 2017 Agri-News Article

Pictured above from left to right: Charlie Slykhuis, Dustin McGuire, Todd Slykhuis, Brandon Burnett, Caleb Huelsmann, Craig Huelsmann, Kevin Mayberry, Keith Oglesby, and Dan Evans

It has been more than busy this month at Slykhuis Farms. Between the everyday cow work, equipment repairs and maintenance, and sorting out fat cattle, the time swooshed by like a blur.

The cows all started filing through the working chute about the middle of the month. This was the first chance we have had to get through the calf crop and castrate all the bull calves (all except the Embryo Transferred calves. Sometimes I lose sleep hoping we don’t flub up and cut one of those). This is all during the first step of synchronizing the cow herd for A.I. breeding. We synched 354 cows that were all time-bred to Angus and Angus-Simmental bulls from ABS. I have to emphasize the “we” in the last sentence. It takes a sizable and dependable crew to pull this off smoothly, and we certainly were blessed with that. Between our family pitching in and close neighbors helping out, I feel like we got several cows bred. This is one of the favorite weeks of the year for me. It is good to see family and friends working together to achieve what ended up being a job well done.

The rest of the finishing cattle went to harvest this last month. The market bounced up and down, but most of the loads were contracted from earlier prices. In all it was a great harvest. The cattle graded very well and we can see improvements every year. Some of this is from genetics and some from management. With the frequent changes in the cattle industry, it is imperative to keep an open mind and be willing to adapt. I feel like we are driving towards a tough time for beef producers. Adapting to change will be essential to selling quality beef.

With our easy winter came early growth to pastures and also to cover crops and hayfields. I have seen fescue starting to head out and the cereal rye is knee high. The crew has been scurrying to get the hay equipment serviced and ready for production. I am looking for the next window between rain showers, and it looks like it might happen next week. I am hoping the corn planter can follow close behind.

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