Alliance, Nebraska

Two weeks ago, our family loaded up five hogs and two goats to head to the American Royal Livestock Show in Kansas City, Missouri. We met up and traveled with — making our own sort of little convoy — five families from Colorado. It was amazing to be a part of such a historical event that has been taking place for over 100 years.

The show began in 1899 in the Kansas City Stockyards as a cattle show. In 1926, the livestock judging contests started and during the 1928 American Royal the FFA organization was formed and held their conventions there until 1998.

The only other times I have been to the American Royal was as a high school student as part of the FFA convention (1991 and 1992) and as a college student (1994) as part of the Livestock Judging Contests. This time, bringing the whole family, during the historic year of 2020 we were able to compete against the absolute best in the show world. The American Royal proved its commitment to agriculture and youth education finding a way for the show to go on.

During our four-day travels and stay, we encountered much of the friendliness of the Midwest. Gas stations, restaurants, hotels, American Royal staff and volunteers were all happy we had come. Thank you, Kansas City, we will be back!

After the 10-hour trek back home to Alliance, we arrived just in time to help get the last 85 acres of corn out of the field. It feels good to have all the harvest in. This year our corn harvest yields averaged 195, which is about 20 bushels/acre short of a normal average. We had one piece of ground hailed multiple times and receive wind damage, as well. Recent years has proved variable rate planting to be a huge benefit to our crop production on our hilly irrigated circles. Reduced plant numbers on those hills stretches the water further and aids in plant health. This technology aids in keeping averages up in otherwise tough years.

Corn harvest in our area is about three-quarters complete. A local elevator reports that Box Butte County is 70-75% complete with average test weights around 55. Moisture is running about 14 averaging the harvest over the past month. Dryland is averaging about 60 bushels/acre with irrigated being more variable. Irrigated yields seem to be disappointing in areas where the wells could not keep up or the producer got behind on water due to no help from Mother Nature this year.

We received more calves into the feedlot on Tuesday and Wednesday. Tuesday we hauled calves that were purchased privately. We loaded the calves near their summer pasture in the Pine Ridge north of Hay Springs, where they graze the pine-covered and open grasslands near the Metcalf State Wildlife Management Area. Loading out the calves was picturesque with the corrals sitting adjacent to a pine-covered bluff and cliff wall. It was one of those beautiful fall days with temperatures in the upper 50s, clear skies, sunny and only a slight breeze.

Wednesday was another beautiful fall day but we spent the afternoon indoors at Sheridan Livestock Market, where we purchased a few more calves — most of them to be placed in other feedlots.

The cold front moved in on Friday. After the morning feeding and chores, the day was spent pregnancy testing another group of cows. There were bred up excellent. But the big news is the snow that came Saturday night. We woke Sunday to a good 6 inches of snow and frigid temperatures. These record lows continued into Monday.

The next two weeks will find us fencing cornstalks for grazing and other preparations for winter. Not to mention, time praying for this great country and an election where the stakes are high. God Bless America! — Shauna Meyring