January started out rather mild and wet and has ended with subzero temperatures. It has been a yoyo pretty much the entire month. We have had a couple of clippers of snow come through late in the month. They seem to always be trailing a big rain event. That is some of the worst weather conditions for livestock. Rain and mud followed by an extreme arctic front. There is no way for cattle to get comfortable. They are hit with the cold air with wet hair and mud or ice and snow to bed down on. I can imagine what the outside feed yards are dealing with. It has put our babysitting of the new little moos on high alert.
We are at the halfway point in our calving season and well over ¾ of our calves have arrived. We have had our share of issues, but so far none of them have been weather related. The cold air and moisture just keep us from getting our recommended daily allowance of sleep. We try not to complain too much about the outside conditions. We knew when we bred them last April that the calving season would not all be sunshine and rainbows. This is, by far, our favorite time of the year. There is nothing more gratifying than watching or assisting the birth of newborn calves. Watching the calves dash around on the side of the hill in the afternoon sunshine paints a productive picture. Maybe this next month the weather will level off and allow us to catch up on some zzz’s.
Last years crop of calves is reaching harvest and the first load is scheduled to ship out the last week of January. The Monoslope has been a great asset the last leg of finish for the fats. We are growing the production females in an outside lot. The mud has been a challenge for them, as well as some bitter cold. It is a great testament to an inside finishing facility when you can look at the condition of the cattle and elements of each system side by side. Even with the bitter cold temperatures the inside cattle have stayed on track. Having a wind break and a roof can pay off in the long run.