The calving season has ended for Slykhuis Farms, and I will attest that this was one of the most challenging ones to date. There are things that we can prepare for as cattlemen, and there are situations that come about and we just have to make the best judgement of the situation. The past couple of months we have been taking it one day at a time. We have had wet conditions since last Thanksgiving. We have had the arctic air blasts, but they were behind and also in front of warm fronts, so the frozen ground has come in very small windows. That has made the routine maintenance on feeding areas and spreading compost somewhat a non existence. Almost everyday we focused on survival of that day, and ignored the aftermath of issues down the road.
The calving season was a success for the most part. We haven’t lost very many calves, or at least not more than what is considered normal. I will attest that we are relieved to have made it through this period and are looking forward to sunshine and warmer air. The repair work on the pastures and feeding areas will be extensive in most all places.
The silver lining in our winter cloud has to be the sale of this years finishing cattle. This has been the best harvest we have had yet. My nutritionist and I decided to increase the energy in the grower dieting our calves this past year. This change put the calves on their final diet a month sooner and it made a big difference in the end. The cattle are grading better on the rail and the weights have been impressive. Using good genetics and feeding under a roof and having the right nutrition program with sound management are all pieces of the puzzle. They all have to fit in order for the puzzle to be complete.