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Cows on the move at Meyring Cattle Co.
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Cows on the move at Meyring Cattle Co.

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Crossing creek on horseback

After pushing the cows across, the cowboys (Jerry, Jayce, Jay and Seth Meyring) and cow dog, Gunny, cross the Niobrara River south of Hay Springs, Neb. The next section of the move provided fence on one side so the cowboys and cow dogs could just enjoy the ride for a while.

Routine tasks this time of year at Meyring Cattle Co. include re-implanting feedlot cattle, hauling hay from the pivot stackyards to the feed yard and moving cows home from cornstalks.

The past two weeks we have re-implanted steers in the feedlot. We weigh the cattle as they go through the chute. Weights seem to be on track to get the cattle out in our normal marketing window of late April to the first part of June.

During the coldest months of the winter a ranch will use a lot of hay. In the last two weeks the guys have hauled a lot of hay to the homeplace from our stackyards in the fields. Most of it hauled from the furthest pivot with our semi and flatbed trailer. The yard is crowded with this newly hauled hay in preparation for calving and having to feed the cows when they are home from cornstalks.

Due date for heifers is March 1. With early calves potentially arriving two weeks early, we start thinking this time of year about moving the cows home from stalks. We decided to take advantage of the milder January days we had this past weekend and the additional labor of the kids and go ahead and get them closer to home for calving.

We had to trail approximately 560 cows about 10 miles. The move went well. The older cows in the group know when they are headed home and make great leaders for the rest of the herd.

Cattle move

The Meyring family takes advantage of good weather to move cows across the Niobrara River south of Hay Springs, Neb., so they are close to home for calving.

With calving approaching, this is also the last chance for a few months to take time away from the ranch. While the National Western Stock Show in Denver was canceled for 2021, our family decided to show at the Black Hills Stock Show in Rapid City, South Dakota.

Our daughter showed her quarter horse in the Versatility Ranch Horse Show and two AQHA shows. Versatility Ranch Horse is a show with six different classes: cutting, ranch cow work, ranch trail, ranch riding, reining and conformation. The goal is to see which horse in the most versatile and does well in all six classes.

In AQHA she shows in ranch riding, reining and working cow horse. If you have never watched working cow horse and you have the chance to do so, do it! For me, it is an adrenaline rush to watch my teenager run a cow down the fence at full speed and then be expected to turn it on a dime.

Our kids also showed two breeding heifers in the Junior Show. We showed two Simmental heifers that we hope to bring new genetics back to the herd and breed these heifers in May.

In both showing and ranch/feedlot life “you win some and you lose some.” That is just what we have done the past two weeks. Whether it was an extra spin in a reining pattern, a heifer that would not settle down and fill up at the show, or a missed opportunity on a commodity market, we learn from our mistakes.

It is never about one show or one pen of cattle. It is more of a marathon than a sprint and we are here to enjoy the journey. So, we “keep keepin’ on” and smile about personal gains, improvements and small success on the way to bigger goals.

The best smile I saw all week was after my daughter left the arena from a reining pattern that she ended up getting a no score on because of an extra spin. The smile was not because of the no score, but because just prior to the extra spin she had one of the best sliding stops she has had in the past year. She had been struggling in this area and working to improve it. With some help from a mentor, she was able to see improvement while at the show. This made us both smile!

So, I’ll leave you with the challenge to enjoy the small successes on the way to all your higher aspirations.

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Raising beef cattle during the winter comes with its own obstacles, such as freezing temperatures and blizzards which ultimately lead to a forage shortage. These conditions create greater nutrient intake especially for spring calving cows.

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