North Platte, Neb
I sit down to write my first Producer Progress Report on a beautiful 46 degree January day.
I’ll start off with what’s first and foremost in my day — the livestock. The cattle, including last year’s calves and the herd bulls, have been on cornstalks since the first week in November. The AI’d bred heifers are due Jan. 28, so they are in tight and close to the barn. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the first calf on the ground by Jan. 20 or before. I’ll keep everyone posted on the calving progress of these first calf heifers.
The main herd is due about Valentine’s Day.
This year has appeared to me to be a good year to build up the herd.
Bred cow prices are down I think and I can see that changing by the next spring calving season. One trait of a farmer: Here I am, six days into 2020 and already looking on to 2021. May we be so blessed.
We have our planting year planned out, on the tilled ground, about 20 percent in soybeans and the remainder in corn to be harvested dry and shelled. Alfalfa acres will remain the same. I tried something a little different this past fall. About 20 days before harvest, we broadcast spread a blend of rye and turnips onto a soybean field. That night we got an inch of rain and 40 mph winds, and that sure helped incorporate it into the soil. We had about three inches of growth by bean harvest time and really none of the green rye made it onto the draper header. If you try this, you want to make sure the herbicide program you are using allows grazing post-harvest.
Also, we had a more upright variety of beans that was not tangled, and were able to drive the rotary dry spreader right down the rows of beans with little damage. With bushier bean hybrids, the rows become tangled and you can incur a lot of crop damage there. That’s been my experience anyway. I wouldn’t say I got any fall grazing benefit from the rye and turnips, but I expect some good grazing this spring!
Bull sale season is here. I think I have three to go to this month. There are a lot of good Hereford sales in the area. And even if you can’t pick out the bull you like, it’s always good for a free meal. — Paul Orr