For every season there is something new that has to be done on a cattle farm. There is a lot to do in the fall compared to the summer and winter.
Cows (females that have had a calf before)-
The cows are all given shots to kill any parasites that may exist in their bodies. This makes sure that during the winter months their body is absorbing all the nutrients of the food they eat and making sure that any possible parasites aren’t eating away at their bodies’ fat. (Fat is very important for cattle during the winter. It keeps them warm and ready for all the cold that winter brings.) This is done in the beginning of the spring too.
They are then let out into the fields of picked corn. They can then eat the corn and stalks that the farmers leave behind.
Calves (The babies that were born in the spring of the year)-
The babies are weaned (put in a different area than their mothers to get them off of milk and on to corn) and separated into ‘sized’ yards. The bigger calves can eat more than the smaller ones and you don’t want to push too much feed on smaller calves because it can make them sick. Then the heifers (females that haven’t had calves yet) are put into a yard of their own. They have to be on a separate diet because they are going to be mothers in a year and they need to keep their body in shape to give birth. Think of it like this, a woman should take prenatal vitamins before she gets pregnant. A heifer should have a correct diet full of the right vitamins and minerals before she gets pregnant. The bulls (males that can breed) are then castrated after they have been weaned for a few weeks. Being castrated means taking out the element that allows them to breed. Once a bull is castrated they are known as a steer. All calves are given shots and vaccines to prevent diseases and common ailments.
Bulls (males that can breed)-
Well, we don’t do much with them. They get the same shot as the cows to prevent parasites and they are let out into the fields too. Bulls are pretty low-key in the fall.
What the Farmer is doing:
- Making corn silage (corn stalks, with corn attached, is ground up into little pieces and put into big white bags)
- Making haylage (grasses that are ground up into little pieces and put into big white bags)
- Making hay (cutting, raking, and baling hay into either small square bales, big round bales, or big square bales)
- Picking corn (Taking the corn out of the fields and putting into grain bins for later use in the fall to feed the cattle)
- Making corn stalk bales (After you pick the corn you can cut down the stalks, rake them up, and bale them. We use this for bedding for the animals when it’s cold out.)
We’re a tad busy this time of the year (also why it’s taken me forever to get this wrote), but it’s worth it. We’re making sure our cows are living happy, healthy lives.
Thanks for eating beef.