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Kim Jo Bliss - Moo's From The Herd

Getting busy at research station

The first week of May normally is a very busy one at the research station in Emo.

Students start, the weather is great, and we are off planting!

The weather isn’t so great this year but Nick, my returning student, and I will be busy weighing seeds and setting up our trials.

I’ve heard there has been some land activity in the west but now it looks as though it is going to be a wet week here.

And as I opened my blinds Monday morning and saw snowflakes, I knew we wouldn’t have any land activity despite the beautiful day Sunday.

Still waiting for good weather

I’m still patiently waiting for warm, dry weather—and I’m sure we all have similar interests in this.

It sounds like once again we were on the edge of the rain and snowfall last week, but what did fall here certainly was enough to make the sales barn in Stratton a wet, sloppy mess.

At least Saturday turned out to be a dry day, which made the conditions a bit more bearable.

We sold 869 cattle, with a total value of $1,080,673.58. That works out to an average of $1,250 across the board–and we haven’t seen prices like that.

New lambs proving popular

We certainly ended up with a pretty decent Easter weekend compared to our neighbours to the north and east.

We did see some snow, sleet, and rain early on Saturday, but we missed most of that and the sun was shining later that day!

I vaccinated my cows, calves, and yearlings on Friday and it was a beautiful day! The cattle yard is still in pretty good shape, so we didn’t need to put on the tallest of our footwear yet!

Actually, the squeeze was still a bit frozen so I wasn’t able to squeeze animals as tight as I would have liked, but things went very well.

More problems with calves

We certainly still have more snow cover than last year at this time but I’m almost able to get my big ol’ research truck out of the shop!

The snow was piled high and so icy that it made it nearly impossible to shovel.

I think we’re a few days away from doing much field work, especially when you look at the overnight lows for the next few days.

Spring is not my favourite time of the year (messy in the barn yard and things looks so dirty). But seeing the fields certainly is a welcome sight!

Calf loss upsetting

Well, the weather seems to be coming around and the sun shining down sure does make people feel a lot better.

We are limited on what we can do with the depth of snow and huge snow banks, but sunny days will change this quickly, as well.

Unfortunately, the sun brought me some bad luck. One of my youngest calves was stretching out lying in the sun when was laid on by a cow and died. I was so upset.

Debentures being sold to boost abattoir

We had a pretty good turnout at our abattoir general meeting last week.

Still, it does make me wonder about some of the producers that didn’t bother to come. Do they not care? Not see the value? Would they not like input? What will they say if we close?

We are selling $500 debentures now (debentures are loans that both the Kitchen Creek Golf Course and the Fort Frances Curling Club used in the past when they went through some challenging times).

I was quite pleased with the uptake following our meeting.

Will crazy winter ever end?

I’m starting to wonder if I will ever stop writing about this crazy long winter!

We had more than a foot of snow here Friday and then it was minus-33 C when I left the house Sunday morning.

Wow—and it’s the end of March!

Of course, I was lucky to have frozen water everywhere—in the house, barn, and all water bowls! The heat in the well house quit so that ended the running water.

Still battling scours problem

Well, as I was cruising along nearing the end of calving and my getting up through the night, the “s” word hit the fan!

That being scours, which is the same as diarrhea and can be very deadly in young calves.

I needed to be away from home for two-straight days last week so I booked my mom as my farm checker. I predicted that my next two heifers likely would calve while I was away (which would stress my mom out) or through the night (so that I would get little sleep.)

Calves in no rush to arrive

It was one month yesterday (March 11) that my first calf arrived.

I still have seven left and, unfortunately, they are going to take their own sweet time!

At least the weather is more forgiving and that takes a bit of the pressure off!

Once the calves are done, we will be close to the due dates of the lambs. But at least I have room to put them all in the barn and can keep a close eye on them with the barn cameras.

Will winter ever end its icy grip?

Winter certainly is the topic of most discussions—and rightfully so!

With minus-40 temperatures and 14-foot snow banks, we have every right to talk about it!

It certainly is hanging on, and all forecasts are indicating it is going to be colder than normal for most of March!

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I am half done my calving and so far no frozen ears! It has been many more trips to the barn, which means that many more times of getting dressed and tripping over the frozen turds.