my daily life on a cattle farm, my love of agriculture, and stories behind my photos

Friday, September 26, 2014

Friday on the Farm

aster on the farm
I love Aster! It is my favorite fall flower. The Aster are in lovely shades of purple...my favorite color. Absolutely gorgeous! And, I love how bees and butterflies are attracted to them. It is such a beautiful site around the farm!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Technology in the Pasture

bringing technology to the pasture

I decided to purchase a Dell tablet for the farm. It arrived! So excited to use my new tablet on our farm and bring this technology to the pasture!

There are so many possibilities for using the tablet on our cattle farm! We will have quick access to our cattle records wherever we are. I have created documents for calving, replacement heifers, weaning, and pregnancy checking. These documents will be available to us in the pastures or barns at any time. I am elated! With the tablet, I will also be able to photograph or video our cattle. Being able to do so will be extremely useful.

In the near future, I plan on using barn cameras during calving season. And, I would love to view the barns from the tablet. It would be so amazing! This tablet provides us with so much potential, and I look forward to all of the possibilities!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Flushing Y5

Arrangements have been made to flush a cow! It is pretty exciting! Colleen Lewis of Tuition Genetics will be flushing Yellow #5 for embryos. Yellow #5 is one of my dad's favorite cows. He has been wanting a heifer from her for quite a while. So, we decided to flush her for embryos.

We are flushing a cow for the first time in 71 years of my family raising Shorthorn cattle. I look forward to documenting the process! It will be an amazing experience.
We hauled Yellow #5 to Tuition Genetics this afternoon. She will be examined for reproductive health. In 30 days, the process will begin. Over a course of a month, she will undergo a series of shots to be flushed for embryos. She will then be artificailly inseminated. Straws of semen were ordered. Yellow #5 will be artifically inseminated with semen from Homedale Creole 135. After seven days, she will be flushed to retrieve the fertilized eggs [embryos]. The embryos can then be frozen.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Friday on the Farm

soybeans are turning

Soybeans are maturing. The leaves of the soybean plants are yellowing. Fall is nearing! We hope for good yields this harvest.
[ monicastevens.photoshelter.com ] 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Weaning 2014 Calves

We weaned our 2014 calves yesterday. The calves were hauled in from the pastures to the feed lot to be weighed and vaccinated.

antique scale used to weigh calves
We are very pleased with weaning weights this year. I calculated weaning weights for heifers and steers at each farm. Heifers and steers weighed 30-50 pounds heavier than last year. Quite impressive. There are several reasons for the increased weaning weights. We had a milder summer. Temperatures were fairly comfortable. Cattle were able to graze the pastures most of the summer. With adequate rain, pastures grew well. We also started feeding the cow herds hay and some gluten to help supplement the pastures. In June, I started feeding calves. I filled creep feeders with rolled corn, oats, and cotton seed hulls.    

a lovely heifer calf 

In the evening, I fed the calves a bucket of oats. They quickly walked up to the feed bunks to eat.

Tonight, I had a visitor...I found a cow in my backyard. A cow from the pasture where I live walked up to the feeder calf barn. In the morning, she will take a ride in the livestock trailer back to the pasture.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Preparing to Wean Calves

As of this afternoon, we are prepared to wean our 2014 calves. Much effort goes into the preparation of weaning our calves. The feeder calf barn and lot have been cleaned and sanitized for calves, and the barn has been bedded down with straw. We have the scale and records ready to weigh calves.

barn is ready for calves

So much work has been put into redoing the For-Most cattle chute we use for feeder calves. Many calves have been vaccinated in this chute. My dad welded a new floor. It looks great! In time, I hope to sandblast and repaint the chute.

for-most cattle chute

After speaking with our veterinarian, vaccinations were ordered. We vaccinate our calves according to our health program we have developed with Dr Baird. Calves will receive four shots...Bovi Shield Gold, 20/20 Vision 7, Vitamins ADE, and BP48.

shots administered according to our health program


Every year, we weigh calves at weaning. We sort and weigh the heifers, steers, and bull calves from each herd. In 2006, I created a spreadsheet to better track weaning weights of our calves. The spreadsheet lists average weights from the farms, and shots administered to the calves. Information we collect is extremely valuable! 

weaning records

We are weaning calves from the two cattle herds on Tuesday. I am extremely excited about these calves! There are many high quality heifers and steers this year. These calves have been so much fun to watch grow. It is a proud moment for a cattleman! 

We are continuously improving every year. We can proudly say that we have improved from the previous year. It is something we strive for as cattlemen. Each year we evaluate what we do and make changes as we see necessary.