Coming through the drought and into a new year with hope – The Webb Family

WebbCalfSucking2-13-13

A calf eating on the Webbs’ farm in the snow that fell Feb. 12, 2013

It seems like yesterday we were writing our first blog last year. And what a year it has been. We had a really wet spring then abruptly in mid-May the rains stopped coming. Our summer was one of the driest, if not the driest on record. We weaned about 85% of our winter calves the first week of August. Rains in mid-August helped set us up for timely planting in September of our rye and wheat. It grew until it ran out of moisture, then it just went kind of dormant. Our fall heifers started calving mid-September for a 60-day run. We weaned our remaining winter calves in October and began turning cattle out on rye and wheat around the first of November.

Turning bulls out

Turning bulls out

Our winter cows started calving the last week of November. We started calving our winter heifers January 10 for another 60-day run. Now, here it is February 13 and between 75 to 80% of our cows have calved and about 85% of our first calf heifers have calved.  We’re still very dry, but we have had a little moisture over the last few weeks along with a beautiful snow yesterday. The wheat and rye have perked up a little and hopefully the crop will look even better in the next couple of days due to the moisture we received from the wet 6-inch snow.

Calving and feeding cows are our main priority right now. We “top dressed” our wheat and rye a couple of weeks ago, which means we applied fertilizer to our wheat and rye. We also applied weed killer to our crops to help eliminate competition from the weeds for the precious moisture that is so hard to come by this year.

Bulls "on the job"

Bulls “on the job”

We turned bulls in with our replacement heifers December 20 for a fall calving schedule beginning October 1 for a 60-day run. We turned out bulls with our mother cows February 1 for a calving schedule beginning mid-November. We generally leave the bulls with the cows for a six-month period, but generally most will calve during the first 120 days of the calving season.

I guess everything in our operation comes full circle every year.  We’re looking forward to the year to come and hope that it rains everywhere on everybody.

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