FarmingFriday

We decided to sell our Red Angus heifers in January. They sold in a special Saturday sale at the Madison Livestock Auction for bred heifers and cows. I miss their pretty red faces! Since I’m a sentimental caretaker, I made a commemorative postcard.postcard5x7

(Disclaimer: I made this postcard while my sisters and I were using FaceTime to video chat. Clearly, we needed something to entertain us besides looking at puppy pictures.)

I enjoyed caring for the heifers with John & Elaine this fall and winter. When they saw us pull up – they knew it was time for feed! I bet the new owners enjoy their gentleness when it is time for calving. Those heifers will go onto to make great mamas in someones cowherd. (If it was me, I’d be sure to use a Charolais bull.)redh

Thanks to a positive price outlook for 2014, heifer prices were strong. Cattlemen in South Dakota and across the country are looking forward to an upswing in prices. It is a good time to expand cow herds. As a result of these trends, we made a profit by selling the heifers. Yipee! To celebrate, I am giving away five Coach purses on the blog next week.8bd8063e0ad452b7da9bf1054d2165a3

Just Kidding! But seriously — I’d like to think this was a “win” for me in the cattle business in South Dakota. I’m not trying to be a feminist with this next statement but….it simply takes a bit of profit to prove that a Missouri girl can hang with these northern ranchers. These beautiful red heifers helped me gain a foothold. If you’ve ever worked in a male-dominated industry, I bet you understand what I mean.

In addition to learning that I might have a few bra-burning, feminist tendancies…John & I learned a more important lesson with this project. I’d like to think that our “key takeaway” goes nicely with our Words of the Year: his is Management and mine is Growth.Management2

This was our second chance to have cattle at “The Nelson Place” where John’s Mom lives. A couple of summers ago we had 27 Angus pairs. (Cow + Calf = Pair) These red heifers were a second attempt at utilizing the  pens & bunk space there.DSCN7959

After having cows and heifers there two times, we decided that it would be better to try having feeder cattle for Project #3. That means we would buy young calves (probably about 400 pounds), feed them & grow them up. Then, we would sell them at about 800 pounds; depending on the market prices. The 8-mile drive & details of keeping up with two separate cow herds is just not practical long-term.

I went over to the farm this week & counted how much hay we’ve got left: 61 bales. That’s almost enough hay to feed a small group of feeder cattle from now until the 2014 haying season begins.

I’m not sure when (or if, still lots of numbers to crunch & things to consider) this will happen, but I still like the process of driving there to feed & then going back home to my computer to write. It is a good indoor-outdoor and manual labor-creative labor balance.

‘Cuz balance is important, can I get an amen?

For me: Cattle + Books + Coffee = Balance.

Thanks for reading. It is time for me to pour another cup of joe!

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PS: Roxy-roo-roo says hello!DSCN8315