McPherson, Kan.

I am not much of a cattle guy, and given the small size of the herd my Dad and I managed, we decided to liquidate in 2017. While I am not much of a cattle person, my wife is, and by default my son Banks is, as well. Banks (who is 6) and I got into a pretty heated argument last summer wherein he wanted to know why I hated cows so much. It ended in a spanking for him and a realization for me that not having at least a few cows around wasn’t going to be an option.

I told this story to Dan, a family friend, and he asked if he had an orphaned calf this year, would Banks like to raise it. I told him I thought Banks would like that and that it would be a good experience for him. Dan called this week saying he had a cow that prolapsed and died after giving birth, and if we wanted the calf, he would give it to Banks. I got a pen setup for the calf, picked up Banks after school, and together we brought the calf home and re-entered the cattle business. Banks is excited about his calf, but isn’t as excited about having to get up earlier in the morning to give the calf her bottle. Anyone who has had a bucket calf knows the value that can be learned from them; hopefully, my son has a positive experience.

While the frigid cold has grown tiresome, it has allowed some work to get done. The ag supply companies have been applying N to wheat ground, running until the ground starts to thaw. Some days they have been able to run all day and other times they have had to quit around noon. I talked to a friend in North Central Kansas who mentioned he spread 75 percent of his top dress fertilizer in the dark. We started putting phos on irrigated ground but have held off putting N on our wheat ground.

A lot could change by the time this goes to print, but there seems to be some buzz about sorghum going back into China. When the China trade talks started to be looking up in December, I had contacted a merchandiser who I sold containerized sorghum into China through in 2017 and let her know I had some identity preserved red sorghum if she had any buyers looking. She told me she would shop it around but never got back to me. Then I got a text this last week from her saying that the Chinese sorghum market was starting to look up and wanted me to send her a sample of grain. The China market clearly isn’t back open yet, but this has been the best sign I have seen for awhile. In the merchandiser’s words, she felt this was going to be a big year for sorghum — time will tell.

Local cash basis: wheat -41, corn -43, soybeans -122, milo -70. — Adam Baldwin