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Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Same Song Different Verse
I know I have said it before, I'm still alive, just not blogging right now. Well, I'm still alive and I can only say that I am going to try and do better. Things are magnificently great right now and there is a lot to update, but baby steps, right?
Other than not having rain, everything else seems to be going full steam ahead. Rain is a huge part of farming so I will get to that topic in a bit.
We currently have 61 head of cattle grazing on our pastures. As stated in a post long ago, we are moving to a closed herd of Red Brangus cattle. We currently have 25 Red Brangus heifers who should all be about bred now, we hope. We have one bull currently, Pete, who is a frame score 5 bull that we hope we can breed down with. Eventually, we will be down to a frame score 4 or 3.
We have 3 black baldy heifers we are going to keep so that we can see what kind of calves they throw. They are kinda long legged gals though so they may not get to stick around as long as everyone else. It will be worth a shot though.
We have 32 stocker steers we are feeding out for meat until we begin to butcher our own calves in a couple of years.
I thought I loved the black baldy breed but after getting into the Texas summer, I realize, I don't much care for them. Actually, I don't much care for any black cattle. I will try to take a picture tomorrow to show the proof, but after about 11:00 in the morning, they are looking for shade. I actually had to put a water sprinkler out for them because I felt like they were getting too hot. When you do Managed Intensive Grazing, lots of times, there aren't any trees because you are managing where the cattle graze. So in came the sprinkler. The Red Brangus eat all day and even lay in the sun. Not the black ones. They lay under the sprinkler for hours at a time cooling off. Such the reason why we will never, on purpose, own any more black cattle. We're going RED.
Our first hogs are set to go to the butcher on August 1. This is very exciting for us. We have 3 that we are going to get processed so let us know if you would like to purchase some retail cuts.
After that, we will have 3 more then we will be into our Born on Yonder Way Farm Piglets.
Our two sows gave us 20 piglets, of which 18 made it to pasture. One of the runts got laid on, and after castrating our boys, one had a hidden hernia and it popped out shortly after castration. We lost him. My thoughts on castration in a future post. Just say it wasn't pleasant.
So of the 18, we will probably have 15 that will make it to finishing weight. Three somehow had hip problems and they slowly are getting worse. They will probably get butchered at an early age for our personal consumption. I don't know if the hip problems were genetically obtained or what but if we have the same problem on the next litters, we will have to maybe think about culling the sow from the program.
We are up to 4 sows now with 2-4 more in the future. I think we would like to keep 6-8 breeding so that we can produce somewhere between 120-150 hogs a year. Sounds like a large number, but after you start having piglets and seeing them on pasture, you wish you could do 1,000 pigs a year. They are by far the easiest animals on the farm.
Our pullet count is up to about 375 or so. I don't know, we have chicks, and chickens everywhere. Right now, I just let the ones that are setting outside of the houses hatch them out. This week we will probably get 15-20 more chicks hatching. I figure the more the better. We currently sell out of eggs every week so that is good.
We are in the process of getting a store front built with a kill room attached. We want to process all of our own poultry so until it gets finished, we can only count the days till we get to start raising and processing chicken and next year, turkeys.
We currently have 45 paddocks for rotating. These are approximately 2 acre paddocks. To get a better graze, I have been cutting each paddock into 3 pads and rather than moving the cows 1 time daily, I went to 2-3 moves daily. What a difference it makes.
You would think I had mowed the grass. Saves diesel and who needs commercial fertilizer. When you pack them in this close, they give a pretty good bit in each pad. Cows are such efficient animals its amazing to think how they can turn that grass into pounds.
As stated before, we have been lacking in the rain department. Water is life, and without it, everything living will die. How evident that is when you are farming. We had 18 acres of irrigated pasture put in last year and just last week added 17 more. Now we are up to 35 acres which has been a huge blessing this year. We are looking to be fully irrigated by end of the summer which will allow us to do many great things at Yonder Way.
We use the K-Line system which is a bunch of sprinkler pods that are attached by a poly tubing and pulled around your 4 wheeler or buggy. (Thats what we call the Polaris Ranger.) I really enjoy how it works and you can move them any where you want, as long as they reach, and water only specific paddocks if you like.
So for now, you have been caught up. My wife does an awesome job at updating our family blog, which lots of times flows into farming, so if mine gets stuck for a month or so, check her's out. Hopefully I will do a better job.