Summer has definitely arrived in Southern Illinois. The temperature is creeping up to the mid 80's with hit and miss showers. We were able to get through last month with much less rainfall compared to the washout from the previous month. The rain has gone around us more times than not. We squeezed out only 3.3 inches of precipitation, which is generally short for the month of May. It is always scary going into the start of the summer on the dry side, because you never know when the next rain will come. When you bring in the summer heat, we are always only about 14 days away from a drought, no matter how wet it gets.
The second cut of hay was acceptable, with the third cut looking promising. The added temperatures have helped the grasses giddy up. Now with some moisture we can hope for another good crop towards the end of the month before we rest it over the summer.
The early weaned calves are settling in nicely with the grower ration, and the younger calves are all coming to the weaning pens. This will dry up all the cows and put them on idle for the summer. We have also ended the breeding season. The bulls will appreciate a chance to recuperate during their off time. We had a mishap and lost a bull from an anaplasmosis infection mid-season. With the issues we had from annaplas last fall, we are taking every precaution necessary to prevent spread. We are changing needles for every cow during vaccinations and changing palpation sleeves between animals also. Anaplasmosis can also be spread by insects. It is a challenge to control flies, especially the big horse flies, but we are taking every step we can to try to keep it minimized. The big horse flies have been the biggest carriers of the disease, and they were horrific last year. There is a vaccine for annaplas, and we have given it to the bull herd this spring. The vaccine is unproven and pricey, so we are not giving it to the brood cows just yet. I’m hoping that the insecticide tags and extra back rubs charged with fly spray will help reduce the fly infestation.