Despite the welcome 1.5” of rain this month, bringing our total rainfall for the season on Dry Creek to a meager 6”, our grass is short and thin, especially on the south and west slopes of our lower foothill country.  Unless we get some well-spaced rains in April, we will wean our calves early, probably weighing 50 lbs. lighter than usual.  With limited stockwater and no dry feed to carry our cows through summer, fall and to an unknown beginning of our rainy season, we will have cull our cow herd deeply.  A strong high pressure ridge, typical of La Niña, is blocking storm activity to California and the rest of the West. Furthermore, market returns for cattle producers are stuck in an unsustainable range, in part due to Covid-19.  

After a wonderfully fun day helping Kenny and Virginia McKee brand their calves in Woolley Canyon yesterday, Robbin and I are moving slowly as we recuperate by enjoying the colors of spring in the gathering fields around us. The lush appearance of the Fiddleneck and Popcorn Flowers in the photo below is deceptive as they have little nutritional value for cattle, but they do shade the ground and help hold what moisture we have. 

8 responses to “MARCH GRAZING UPDATE

  1. Awesome photos. I hope you will get the rain you need.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Janice Gilbertson

    Yes. It is a sad year in so many ways. Farmer’s Almanac says we have a couple chances for rain in April.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautiful shot, but a heartbreaking business year. Hang in there! I look forward to your verses.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Brazilian imports have taken over the cull cow market, driving prices down for all ages and types.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, Sharon, the three variables, weather, market and politics, that determine our success, have all turned against us–a first in my lifetime.


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