GARY, Minn. – Corey Hanson gave his Dec. 23 report while driving to the farm after morning coffee. He was ready for another busy day of cattle chores and perhaps some corn combining if things worked out.
Corey had just finished drying some corn harvested in late-November/early-December. Temps moved to 32 degrees on Dec. 21 and 36 degrees on Dec. 22, so Corey thought he might give combining another try.
“The corn I was taking off was somewhere around 21-22 percent moisture, so I’m hoping it’s no wetter than what it was. Hopefully, it’s drier,” he said. “We’ll just see.”
In the cornfields, there was about a foot of snow. Corey hoped some of the snow had settled. A few of his friends said not to expect the snow to have settled much. The Hanson crew will leave end rows, and Corey will come back and combine those parts later.
The Hansons weaned healthy 500-650 pound calves in mid-December and gave them vaccinations on Dec. 21-22. Some cull cows were taken to market.
The farm’s pregnant cows received Ivermectin pour-on de-wormer, and the calves were also dewormed. The calves received the Vision 8 (Blackleg) vaccine and a Bovi-Shield vaccination for respiratory diseases. The vaccines are given subcutaneous at different locations on the neck.
The Hanson crew has their best success not vaccinating gestating cows. The risk of a cow falling on the ice or snow is too great. For their operation, it works best to give calves oral vaccines at birth.
“We do not like to work pregnant cows anytime. I just don’t enjoy doing that. They’re big, the chute has to be set extra wide to make sure we don’t injure them, but still we seemed to have some complications – so we decided we don’t work pregnant cows unless we absolutely have to,” he said.
While the cow herd remained basically on “auto-steer,” Corey spent time observing temperature fluctuations, quality of bedding, feeding habits and cattle vigor.
“Extra bedding, watchful eye, stand and observe when the temperature is up and down,” he said.
On the business side of the operation, Corey met with the tax accountant to see how the financials were stacking up. He met with the agronomy center on seed and fertilizer purchases, and he visited with the fuel man. He expected to make some decisions about the 2020 crop year before 2019 came to a close. Available genetics are changing quickly for northwest Minnesota – in both corn and soybeans. Corey figured he now looks at new hybrids or varieties every 3-5 years so it’s hard to figure out exactly how they will respond on his farmland.
“We’re at the data gathering stage and it’s hard to use the data from 2019 because it’s highly variable from what it normally is,” he said. “It’s hard to trust the numbers when you get years like this.”
With 2019 now past, Corey Hanson wants to wish everyone a very happy New Year and farming success throughout the year ahead.