Mar 6 2011
Summer already seems a distant memory. Autunm is definitely here. Lets hope we still have a few dry hot days before winter sets in! Actually, the cattle love these conditions – summer is too hot for them, and they stop eating and actually drop condition. They love the spring and the autumn, with loverly quality grasses.
February was a month where we have to put zinc boluses into all our herd. These boluses slowly release zinc into their system, to prevent facial eczema spores (from the grass) wreking havoc with their livers. Facial eczema is insidious – you never want to see an animal with this condition. Its awful. The boluses only last 6 weeks, so we will have to do another lot at the end of this month, which will get them through the facial eczema season. The season only finishes once the frosts arrive and kill the spores.
The calving season is July to September, so anything October through January is considered late. In March, we actually had two “early” calves. They were calves to two of my purebred Piedmontese heifers who were too young to breed in the normal time schedule:
“Frieda” is a half Piedmonese/half Hereford heifer. She came from our Piedmontese heifer “Fabia” (a good Italian name). She is quite small, and quite timid, but a nice wee girl.
“Holly” is a half Piedmontese/half Red Poll heifer. She came from our Piedmontese heifer “Hella”. Notice the first letter of the calf is same as first letter of the heifer. That’s our little ritual in determining names! Holly is a character – every time I shift the herd she is the first one out – galloping along as if she knows everything. She is only a few weeks old. You’ve gotta love them!
One of our customers is part of the “Freedom Farms” pork enterprise – they specialise in free range pork, and definitely not “prison pork”. He buys his beef from us. I noticed one of his Twitter “tweets” referenced our web site: “Buy beef directly from the farmer who knows all his animals by name…thats what we love”. As you can see from the photos we do name all our animals. Lol – one of the problems we have with our herd of Angus cows is they all look the same! Its almost impossible to recall names for the Angus calves. Its only the cheeky ones you can recognise and name.
On the breeding side – we implanted Angus/Hereford embryos into 5 surrogate cows, and two more cows have been implanted this month. The rest of our herd should already be in calf. We hope these surrogates take the embryos successfully (its an expensive program). We also hope that most of the calves that are born will be female. All females will be kept to develop our “elite cow herd” for our breeding program. We just have to wait, now, and see what happens – fingers crossed.
The last biggie for us was in the last week of February. One of the daily deal web sites wanted us to promote our beef on their site. We did, and sales went ballistic. We didn’t put a limit on the available packs, and they sold many hundreds of packs! All last week was spend in packaging and shipping beef. For one period I was awake and on my feet for 36 hours. We only shipped half the packs – so its the same again this week. My poor world has been turned upside down! Hey – if these new customers like our beef, it will have ben worthwhile.
Lets hope March is a little more relaxing!