We have arrived in August and the 1st cutting of hay is finally put into bales. A job that typically takes the whole of month of June was mostly completed in 13 days at the end of July, in the hottest temperatures of the year. My poor cab-less Hesston tractor (with me on it!) was really gasping for air, as the hours of tedding and raking fields never seemed to end. The “balers,” otherwise known as my two sons, would wave from the air conditioned cab of the newer tractors but not once did they offer a ride or even a breath of cool air. I definitely stored up enough sunshine vitamins to last me all year. All was good in the end though as we got the fields done and the hay ready to feed to our seemingly always hungry cattle. The really good news is we get to do most of the fields all over again at the end of September as second and third cutting. Only if we are lucky and the good mix of rain and sunshine continues to grow the grass. I’m thinking I might have to invest in a good sweater for that late season hay, but anything is better than 95 degrees.
The cattle have enjoyed the summer well after the awful winter we had. I can hardly recognize the two calves who spent days by the fireplace in my house. The ones who lost tails and ears due to frostbite are growing like weeds and our little orphan calf is even looking strong and healthy. The flies have not seemed as bad this year, but cattle rubs in every pasture have really paid off and are definitely worth the money and time.
The bull situation at Meckley Farms is always changing as my boys absolutely love sire genetics, always striving to breed the “perfect bull.” Most days I feel my farm is the world’s largest science fair project, as we seem to bring in different semen, switch out bulls and sell bulls to other farms. Even though I am not a geneticist, when I look at the EPD’s, I must say it seems like we may be on the right track. The numbers and data continues to get better and so does the look of our animals in the field.
We sent three of our best Limousin bulls to the summer feed program at the Wardensville test station. Two purebred bulls and one Limflex loaded up with Todd and Kai and made the five hour trip across our beautiful state. As of the last data we had received, it seems they might be living at the feed bunks, gaining an average of over 3.5 pounds/day on a 3.25 pound ration. I can’t wait to pick them up in September as they definitely should be ready to be someone’s herd sire.
Fall vaccination weekend is fast approaching and begins another busy time at the farm. Besides the second hay cutting, the typical chores of cutting firewood, feeding weaned calves, changing pastures, and fall artificial insemination will need done. We are also proud to be a part of Rocking P’s sale in November this year, so two of our Angus bulls will be delivered to that sale. Also, we are planning on taking three of our registered Angus bulls and a few heifers to the Southern Performance Test in October at Point Pleasant, WV again. So, if time flies when you stay busy, then winter will be here in a heartbeat this year.
The farm continues to thrive and is doing great. The grandkids are crazy about the cows and doing tractor stuff. It won’t be long until we are closing the windows and starting a fire to keep warm. They say it might be another bad winter so let’s just hope they are wrong!