Monday, October 15, 2012

decision to sell lambs

As it is getting closer to cold weather and possible snow, we have decided to sell about 400 lambs at the sale barn.  The price seems to be $75 a head no matter the weight.  Heavier lambs sell for less per pound and lighter lambs sell for more per pound.  So no matter the weight the price comes out to around $75 per head.  We will keep a bunch of lighter lambs and feed them a while in hopes that the market may pick up.  I did some figuring of our cost to run a ewe for a year with current grain prices and our hay at our cost.  The cost per ewe per year was around $90 a year.

When we brought more cows over here we had to add another water tank to keep up with the added number of head that were drinking.  I don't think the water line that is buried is very big. I turn the hydrant on at 8 AM and turn it off at 2 PM and the amount of water is about right.  The tanks are just full and about ready to run over.

Ryan has gone elk hunting near Buffalo, WY with his in-laws.  So we have to go over to his place and do his chores.  We pitch hay in the manger and have three bale feeders that have hay.  Here are some calves around a bale feeder.

Since grain prices are high we have decided to feed lic barrels for now.  They are a cooked molasses product with vitamins and minerals.   In a week we will sort off the bull calves and start feeding them more grain.  Then we will sort off Ryan's heifers and he will take them to his lots to winter them at his place.  Then we will take the heifer calves to the feed lot by Vale.

The other day we set some railroad ties in the corral fence.  The posts had rotted off last spring and we had some corral panels over the hole.  We nailed up some new 2X10's across the ties and then some tin for wind break.  Tammy and I put in a new corner in a stack yard and have another corner to put in another stack yard tomorrow.  We haven't had the post hole digger over here for over a year so we have a few more posts to put in weather permitting.

Tammy has been busy selling puppies lately.  We took one to Belle Fouche.  Met a lady at Enning the other day.  She is meeting another lady at Maurine tomorrow.

The bred heifers are content up in the north pasture now.  I have been trying to sell them privately, but am not having much luck.  I will probably consign them to a bred cow sale in Philip around the first of November.  We have around ten black heifers that are nice, but I can't sell black heifers.  Every one knows that the black heifers are carrying a red hide gene.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Well we sold the steer calves a week ago.  They sold pretty good , although the average weight was down from previous years.  Lighter weight calves were selling good so we sold more of the younger and lighter calves. Past years we would have kept these young calves and weaned and fed them for a period of time and put more weight on them. Past years grain cost would be less than half of what the costs are this year.  Grass hay which is our primary roughage is in short supply and hard to come by if we would have to buy any.  Fortunately we have enough hay to get us through this winter.

The next day that worked for all of us we weaned the rest of the steer calves and bull calves and all the heifer calves.  The corral was really dusty.  The calves were ready to be eating something better than dry grass.  The mother cows are ready for the calves to be off so they can gain some weight before going into the winter.

The calves wander around and bawl for their mothers.  The more they walk the more dust they churn up with their hooves.  In a week we will see how many sick calves we have to treat.  It seems most years if calves get sick it takes about a week for the sickness to show up with a droopy ear or head down and coughing.  Today it tried to rain most of the day.  It did dampen the dust but didn't get anything wet.  The damp weather should help keep the dust down.  The cows and the sheep loved the dampness on the dry grass.  The dampness makes the grass more palatable.

We still have our lambs and are waiting for the price to move up.  The last sale in Newell showed a market that wanted lambs that were below 90 pounds.  If the lambs are above 90 pounds the price gets lower.  We will probably have to sell lambs before too long and keep the weight below 90 pounds.

Today we sorted our cow away from Ryan's cows.  Then hauled our cows over here at Fairpoint.  That way Ryan has just his own cows at his place..  That way we don't have to sort cows and calves and try to get the right brand on the right calf. We have plenty of grazing over here as this pasture has had no livestock grazing in it since last winter.  We are both looking to buy some short term red cows.  Don't know if we can find any since most cows sold will be black.