We made it through the first half of calving season. Around 80% of the calves have been born so far. I will be the first to say it hasn’t all been “easy sailing”, but to this point it has been a huge success. Our death loss has been very minimal. This all happened primarily because we were there when it happened. I went into this season with a philosophy. When the weather hits we will make sure to see all the cows giving birth. That will increase the odds. We set it up so the cows were all in certain areas that included wind protection. That made it possible to do a night watch without tracking too far out. We made it work and learned some new things along the way. The calves are healthy and strong (some with short ears). Now they are ready for the February weather. I would not advise anyone to set up calving season this time of year. If you don’t have the resources or time, it can be a disaster. We have proved that it is possible.
The finishing cattle are getting closer to harvest date. We have been sorting a few out each week for freezer beef. They are really starting to spread out in their shoulders. I am hoping to send out the first load around the middle of the month.
I was honored to attend an Ag Committee Meeting this past month put together by Senator Dale Fowler. The purpose of the meeting was to express our issues that affect us on the State level in agriculture. The committee is comprised mostly of crop farmer with a few cowpokes involved too. The topics centered around weight limits for grain haulers and herbicide regulations, particularly Dicamba. Senator Fowler brought in a IDOT DOT inspector to brief us on new laws and regulations, and help clarify some rules that have been misinterpreted. Senator also brought in Warren Goetsch (Deputy Director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture). He spoke for about 30 minutes on the current state of Illinois Ag., and the direction it is headed. This was all followed up with an hour of question and answers from almost all committee members. I have to commend Senator Fowler for putting this committee together and allowing us to express our opinions on our state laws, and how we would like to see a change. We all do our best to be good stockman’s and good stewards to the land. There must be a balance between the rules to protect the environment and a feasible way to produce crops and livestock. It is our job as farmers and cattlemen to speak out and take a stand.