What improvements are you making?

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J+ Cattle

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I'm just curious what everyone is doing to make "improvements" in their operation. It could be anything; AI to a good bull, expand or build new working or storage facilities, building fences to rotation graze or upgrading your farming equipment, no-till instead of deep plowing....whatever makes your life easier, better or more profitable.
I know that we all have long lists of things that need to be done and sometimes we work only on the daily needs instead of the longer term improvements.

I'll start it off...

I'm reclaiming about 50 acres that is covered in scattered patches of thick brush and weeds everywhere but not much anything else, the cows were getting little benefit from it other than using it to hide a newborn calf in the brush. I put in a gate on that side of the creek a few years ago but recently had to widen the gate opening to get in there with a tractor and brush hog. I've done some spraying around the perimeter of thickets and I'm mowing down the dead brush. The brush in the middle of the thickets is much too big for a brush hog and will require more spraying to kill it out. Next spring I will spray as much of the area for weeds as I can, then spot spray the prickly pear cactus and yucca patches. Hopefully this will give the grass a fighting chance and take away some of the hiding places for wild hogs.

J+ Cattle
 
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J+ Cattle

J+ Cattle

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Grow more grass... feed less hay... cull hard 😄

Marketing is our prime target right now. We have done a good job on efficiency and productivity... now its time to maximize the dollar outside of the auction barn.
Brute what is involved for you to grow more grass, seeding, fertilizer spraying? And what are you doing for marketing?
 

GoWyo

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In June, we tore out and reseeded a 50-acre former CRP field that was smooth brome monoculture. Will be mixed wheat grasses and meadow brome with alfalfa -- dryland. Working on new sorting alley, lead up to squeeze chute -- all pipe. Thinking slide gates in the lead up alley. Then when weather goes bad, will be building portable steel windbreaks and A Frame calf shelters with pipe and Supersteel (22 ga.) panels. Weekend warrior, so it is a slow process.
 
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J+ Cattle

J+ Cattle

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In June, we tore out and reseeded a 50-acre former CRP field that was smooth brome monoculture. Will be mixed wheat grasses and meadow brome with alfalfa -- dryland. Working on new sorting alley, lead up to squeeze chute -- all pipe. Thinking slide gates in the lead up alley. Then when weather goes bad, will be building portable steel windbreaks and A Frame calf shelters with pipe and Supersteel (22 ga.) panels. Weekend warrior, so it is a slow process.
Good handling facilities are extremely important to your own safety. I remember when I was a kid helping my father and uncle at my grandfather’s place working cattle. Everything was a rodeo, corral was half rotten and wasn’t setup to have a good flow. When it got to when I was running cattle a good corral system was one of my top priorities.
 
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J+ Cattle

J+ Cattle

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We've been working on Irrigation to improve the pasture, need to rebuild our cattle handling area and make it easier to load out of. Just a few of the things on our list.
No irrigation water where I’m at but rotational grazing can help a lot. I built some fences and gates to close off some pastures for about 3 months during the summer growing season and now I have a new grass that I’ve never seen on the place before, big bluestem. It also has stockpiled a good amount of forage and provides more ground cover.
 
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J+ Cattle

J+ Cattle

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I'm trying to get to the point of year round grazing. I'm at 325 days now
It’s a great goal if your weather permits it. It really reduces your expenses if you can grow your own feed rather than purchase it. I’m trying to let them graze more stockpiled forage but it’s dried and low quality. It works okay for dry cows. I’m slowly shifting my calving season from fall to spring to coincide with the green up.
 

Dave

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For the rest of the day I am working on improving my attitude while sitting by the fire. I just got in from feeding the calves. It is 46 degrees, raining hard, with 20 mph wind, and gusts to 40. All those years on the coast I should be use to this kind of weather but instead I remember why I moved. I would take 15 degrees and snowing any day over this. Heck, 0 and calm would beat this. (I know some of the northern neighbors consider 0 and calm tee shirt weather) A cab tractor would be a nice improvement but that isn't in the cards any time soon.
We are working on that spring development on the east end. There is always fence repair to do. I have several piles of cottonwood trees that the beaver was nice enough to fall for me that need to be burned. I can do that now that we have some rain. I also need to plant some grass seed in a few bare spots in the fields. But I am retired so I am not supposed to have to do anything.......
 
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J+ Cattle

J+ Cattle

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Dave several people have told me that they were busier after they retire. I’m glad you’re getting rain because I know you need the moisture but wet cows lose body heat faster and makes the wind chill hurt worse. When the rain lets up give them some hay to fill their bellies so they can stay warm too.
 

Dave

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Dave several people have told me that they were busier after they retire. I’m glad you’re getting rain because I know you need the moisture but wet cows lose body heat faster and makes the wind chill hurt worse. When the rain lets up give them some hay to fill their bellies so they can stay warm too.
I just got in from giving them hay before I wrote that message. I know all about wet cows. I was born and raised in western Washington. Lived there for 66 years. My home for the last 40 before moving here averaged 60 inches of rain a year. November through March the normal day was 36 degrees and raining.
We need to rain but we needed it a lot more about 2 months ago. How much of this will be around to help with next years grass is questionable. Hopefully California is getting some of this. That would really help our light calf market. After last summer's weather we have plenty of light calves.
 

TCRanch

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A new (semi) permanent corral! Will be using portable panels, but they're heavy duty and can be customized and anchored with corner/support posts. Plus an Arrowquip chute. Moved the Titan portable corral/chute to the west 80, where it will stay - unless I need it. Having the corral/chute reconfigured at the barnyard. Still want a small portable corral, but first things first.

And switching up my vaccination game. I've always used Covexin 8 on the calves, but going to start vaccinating the entire herd with Calvery 9. Not that my vet recommended it, but valuable input here on CT made me realize colostridial is not a problem - until you lose a cow/bull/heifer. Plus, Calvery is only 2cc vs 5cc with evidently less injection site swelling.

Tearing up the alfalfa field and replanting with, probably, brome.

Re-plumbing the well house for the stock tank in one of the pastures. Dang bulls keep bustin' the pipe! At least this time it's not in the dead of winter and they still have the pond. But I do need to figure out how to section off part of the stock tank so they can't reach the pipe/float. It did, however, present the opportunity to completely drain & clean the tank - so there's that.
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bird dog

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Go ahead and spray your prickly pear. It can be done year round but was always a good winter project for me because the grass was shorter and I had some time to do it.. Spot spray it and make sure you get both sides of the pad wet. When I sprayed a bunch, Tordon was the herbicide of choice. Now the experts say that Surmount is a better choice and will result in a quicker kill. Either way it takes a while. I knocked out about a 5 acre area of scatter bunches of it by spraying Tordon in mid winter and then touching up the missed plants every 6 months for 2 years. It will take a few months to even notice that you sprayed it.

People always think and say that cactus is hard to kill. Actually it is not. Its easier than mesquite. You just have to have patience and stay after it. Cactus once dead is dead. Mesquite is a life long project.
 

1982vett

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Not really a question for me to answer as I’m at a stage in my life that it’s unlikely I’d recover costs if any improvements. Best I can do now is use up what I did “invest” 10 to 20 years ago as long as it will let me.

I will still do weed control. Who doesn’t have fencing somewhere that doesn’t need attention? Best pasture improvement I’ve done the past 10 years is cut stocking rate 50%.
 

Brute 23

Brute 23
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Brute what is involved for you to grow more grass, seeding, fertilizer spraying? And what are you doing for marketing?
Stocking rates and spraying are a big one. We are also dabbling in fert and planting more productive grasses strategic pastures.

Marketing is tough. Our meat buyer went under in covid. We are doubling down on replacement cattle but I would like a better avenue for the steers.

Others have hit the nail on the head, imo, with low stocking rates and 365 grazing. More head does not equal more dollars.
 

Lee VanRoss

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Moved cows for the 58th time this year. (mid April) Will start feeding bales on or about Nov 1.
Normally I can go to snow or Dec 1 but dry weather set the grass back so I am trying for more growth to catch snow
and allow for insulation from the cold. Made a vow to Dad (after one of many rodeos) that I had no intentions of
ever having a wire gate on any place of mine. We are 100% swinging pipe gated thank you Jesus! on all permanent
fences. I will never regret going to geothermal waters and doing away with heating elements.
By the time I had the experience to figure out the answer I was too old to remember the question!
 

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