Heinrich cows on corn stalks

After the blizzard Heinrich's cows returned to grazing the corn stalks.

MEDINA, N.D. – Compared to other regions in the state, the area around Medina, N.D., received around eight inches of snow from the post-Christmas blizzard, but the two days of strong winds blew the snow in areas where it was needed, according to Gene Heinrich.

“All of the hay that we had got pushed out got blew back in again, and we haven’t had the time to go and get the hay dug out,” Gene said. “We did get quite a bit of hay hauled before the blizzard arrived, but we still have a few more days of hay hauling left. We have plenty of hay on hand, so it will last until the weather gets a little nicer and we can start pushing the snow away again on some of those piles in the fields.

“For some of the hay we gathered before the blizzard, the sloughs were right up to those bales and we have never had water that high before, so I am glad we got those bales out,” he continued. “If he had to leave them there until spring they would probably be in water.”  

The cow herd’s ration has also become a little less dependent on hay now that they started feeding some corn silage to them after Jan. 1. This was done to increase the energy in the cattle ration prior to the start of calving, which is about two months away.

In our last issue, we had a photo showing some of Gene’s cowherd out grazing in a recently harvested corn field. Well, the blizzard conditions forced the cows back the yard, but once the wind subsided they went back out into the corn field and are grazing out there again.

He is hoping the latest blizzard doesn’t put an end to combining corn until later in the spring, in fact they were planning on combining a little more around this time. However, the blizzard put a lot of snow in the feedlot’s sorting corrals, and since they have some calves to ship out, cleaning out the sorting facilities is taking up all their extra time right now.  

“We are shipping some calves out on Thursday (Jan. 9) down to a feedlot in Nebraska, so we need to get that cleaned out,” he said. “Richie and Sarah are going down to Denver to the stock show, so we won’t get any combining done this week either.

“Michael walked out in one of the (unharvested corn) fields and he said the snow was shin- to knee-high, so it is going to be a little tough getting through the snow,” Gene continued. “He never mentioned anything about some of the corn being blown over after the blizzard winds, so I am thinking the corn must have hung on pretty good.”

The calves they are shipping out are some that have been fed on a custom basis. The total amount of feed fed to that group of calves is kept track of and the feedlot costs are based on the feed consumed, plus a yardage fee. The weights come from a scale on the feed wagon.

At some point Gene would like to add a large scale so a group of calves could be weighed occasionally to check rate of gain.

“There was a scale on Auction Time earlier this fall that I was bidding on, but never got it,” he said. “That is one of the things on the wish list.”

To show just how saturated the soil is, Gene said the new snow cover that was deposited on the small area lakes during the blizzard is now turning yellow, which means there is still water coming into these lakes.

Things are starting to come together for their production sale, which will be held at the Gustin’s Diamond D Gelbvieh south of Mandan. The sale is scheduled for Feb. 20.

“They were up there on Saturday and did some scrotal measurements and some cleaning on the bulls,” Gene said. “They usually sell around 70 head, but we won’t know for sure until they do the last cull. That will probably be done once they get back from Denver and we will have more information on the sale during our next visit.”

Finally, work continues on the house moving project and new addition.

“The rafters are supposed to be here by the end of this week and by next week they want to have the addition and garage enclosed,” Gene reported. “We had to shovel the addition out after the blizzard.”

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