Ranch Journal: 2015 Replacement Heifers



Last Friday evening while congratulating ourselves with a cocktail, having finished gathering, weaning, shipping our calves and processing our replacement heifers, Robbin tactfully reminded me that one of the primary purposes of this blog is to keep track of what we do on this ranch–hence this Ranch Journal entry for July 2015.

Looking back to July 2014, we had no replacement heifers to process with so little feed, so we have to go back to July 20, 2013 to see if we are ahead or behind schedule. Less calves and replacement heifers to process after a dry spring this year combined with the late spring rains in 2013 probably account for the difference. But reading the entry for 2013, little else has changed with the drought. We’re now in maintenance mode: irrigating, light feeding, and regularly checking our dwindling stock water at the higher elevations.

Though all received a second round of vaccinations, including Bangs vaccine for Brucellosis, not all of the 75 heifers will make the team. We will cull 5-10 head before turning the Wagyu bulls out in mid-December, depending on how they look. We have moved our calving date back two weeks aiming for mid-September calves, hoping for a little cooler weather. Currently, our 7-weight steers bring the same money as 600 pounders, but with weak demand to turn out on mid-West grass. A later calving date would make them a little lighter and more attractive when we sell them. And we may wait until the 1st of January 2017 to turn our bulls out, as that would also allow our cows an extra month off without a calf, as we would still wean at the end of May. Time will tell, but that’s what we’re thinking now.

So it’s out early in the morning, shade up during the day when we can.

5 responses to “Ranch Journal: 2015 Replacement Heifers

  1. It is so good that people who have no experience than learn that old farmers are alway experimenting and trying new ideas.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It takes a lifetime to learn this business as it evolves, so we’re always questioning what we think we know. Probably the greatest impact to the cattle business has been genetics, and with bigger calves to place in the market, we have to reinspect what we’re doing, because having the biggest calves doesn’t mean an operation is the most economic or sustainable. Change is slow, fortunately, giving us ample time to think about what we plan to do.


  2. What a team the two of you make! Reminds me of just such a one in my prior life! EJ would be so proud of you and Robbin! Keep the faith and the smart efficient ranching!


  3. Pingback: BULLS | drycrikjournal

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