|Posted on August 2, 2012 at 8:25 AM||comments (1)|
With all the combines starting to roll in the country, it makes a person start to think that he should be getting ready to move cows home for the winter and to wean calves. And then he looks at the calendar to double check on the date and realizes that he should still be haying. Or sitting in the middle of the lake catching some fish.
What a year it has been. Winter brought an enjoyable calving season with mild temperatures and few storms. Spring came early and full of promise. May was wet but then we needed the moisture, especially since the taps have been almost shut off pretty much since. July has been a scorcher, with grass starting to dry up. It will be interesting to see what the next few months are going to be like. More heat? Or will winter come early this year?
|Posted on July 21, 2012 at 10:20 AM||comments (0)|
If someone had a crystal ball right now, he could really be making some money predicting what the fall will be like in terms of cattle prices. Will this be the year to hang on to calves until after the fall rush when supply gets a little more limited? Or will it be better to dump everything early before feed supplies become too small to make feeding cost effective?
Things really are not looking as rosy in the cattle industry anymore as analysts had once led us all to believe. There are just too many other factors eating away at our slice of the pie:
:)The US is in the midst of a sever drought. As pastures and crops
continue to dry up, producers are selling off portions or all of their
herds to try to survive. As a result, the US cowherd is shrinking and
will stay smaller for a few years until numbers can build back up.
:)There will be, one day, a good demand for replacement heifers to
rebuild herds. When that will actually be is anyone’s guess.
:)Smaller cowherd = smaller supply of feeders = more competition
(and hopefully higher prices) from buyers.
:(As the US crops, hay and pastures dry up, so does the feed
needed to raise and finish cattle (and hogs and chickens). Feed
prices will rise with the mercury. Feedlots won’t be able to pay
high prices for feeders or even possibly run at full capacity. They
will have to trim their costs every way possible to keep the red ink
:(Smaller beef supply = higher consumer prices. While
theoretically good, the economy is still in a fragile state, hanging
by a very thin thread between recovery and collapse. If beef prices
go too high, consumers will start to cut back or cut out beef from
their diets. They have only so many dollars to spend on food and
will look for ways to spread it further. And, once beef has been
replaced in the diet, will we ever get that demand back?
:(For the producers who have sold off their herds, will they come
back once the drought is over and feed is bountiful again? Or
have they thrown in the hat for one final time? Less cattle
producers mean fewer buyers for breeding bulls and females.
Which can only mean lower prices for breeding stock.
All winter long, we heard that the good times have returned to the livestock industry and would be here to stay for a while. As the grass turns brown and the hay bales do not materialize, can we still be so optimistic?
|Posted on July 1, 2012 at 6:35 PM||comments (0)|
Our country is one year older today! Hope everyone is enjoying the festivities in town, city, at the lake or cabin, at the campground - wherever they may be. We just came from Elm Creek where we watched the parade this morning, enjoyed a hamburger and hot dog courtesy of the Elm Creek 4-H, and visited with friends and neighbours. Now we are home cooling off before the fireworks at dusk tonight.
Happy Canada Day!
|Posted on June 23, 2012 at 8:30 AM||comments (0)|
Herding pigs just isn’t like herding cows. They are a little more stubborn and more apt to run you over than veer away.
We moved the sows out to their summer pasture on the weekend. The first two came through the gate no problem – they like their grain a little too much. But the third one has touched the electric fence one too many times and would not go through with no amount of coaxing or chasing. She didn’t like being separated from her herd mates but didn’t like them enough to go through the wide open gate. We even left the gate open while we gently pursued the first two sows to go up the alley way, through a pen and out into their new pasture. But number 3 just would not budget. Finally, we had to put the pig crate on the forks of the tractor and load her up to move her over that way. It ended up working so well we moved the weanlings out to their pen that way too. Now the sows are happily wallowing in the slough and ploughing through the long grass. We can’t see them much right now but the grunting and squealing lets us know that they are still in their pasture somewhere.
|Posted on June 16, 2012 at 9:30 AM||comments (0)|
A new day seems to have brought a new rainstorm. The rain is good and is needed in some ways. But we are soon going to need some sun in order for the rain to do much good. The grass and hay just isn't growing much right now without the heat to go with the moisture. The one good thing is that the strong, gusty winds of April and May seem to have abated somewhat. They are now more gentle, cool breezes.