This is my first column in three weeks. I didn’t skip writing a column because I’m tired of writing it. It sure as hell wasn’t because of a lack of material. The fact of the matter is I’m overwhelmed with things I need to do at the farm. I simply haven’t had time to write. And believe me, my problems are going to cause you grief as well.
Most years we can turn our cows out on grass and quit feeding hay around April 1. This year we were still feeding in early May. By feeding an extra five or six weeks, we are not only greatly increasing our expenses, we’re feeding next winter’s hay. The rub there is…next winter there’s not going to be any hay. Between bad weather and sky-high fertilizer prices which have caused many farmers to cut back on their fertilizer application, hay is going to be extremely scarce and quite high.
We always try to improve our grass. Last fall we tried some cover crops – cereal rye, turnips, vetch, clovers and other grasses. I didn’t rain enough to get a good stand at that time, but we had a lot of moisture this spring and those cover crops came like gangbusters. The same moisture that brought on the cover crops, however, brought on the Gasconade River. Last week we lost both of our bottom fields, including some gorgeous cover crops.
But there’s always the hills, right? Wrong. Unless you’re a farmer or gardener, you may not have realized how many mornings it got into the 20s. Weather that cold sets back the grass. We don’t have much grass.
In recent years we’ve used some very good bulls and this resulted in some outstanding heifer calves, most of which we kept for several years. Our herd grew and when this year’s calving season rolled around, we had almost 100 cows to calve. Our 2020 heifers performed very well. No calving difficulties. They were good mothers. The only difficulty is, there are too many of them. But that’s a problem that can be fixed. This past weekend we sold 18 cow/calf pairs, including a lot of those 2020 heifers. The weekend before that we sold a bunch of our open 2021 heifers. In coming weeks there will be more moved off the farm.
So far, I’ve only explained my problems. Yours are coming. Cattle numbers, without a doubt, will have to go down, not only because of weather conditions facing us in this area, but because much of the country is facing extremely dry weather. Sorry to say, folks, but with cattle numbers down, beef prices almost have to go up.
Many farmers are starting to sell cows. I’m afraid that if enough have to sell, the cow market will fall apart. That will make it even tougher for farmers, but consumers will not benefit as much as they should.
Beef prices are just one part of the inflation picture that consumers will be facing. Gas this week in Linn jumped above $4 a gallon. When will it hit $5?
Remember just a few months ago when the Biden administration was saying inflation was “transitory”? That turned out to be a huge lie, just like Trump’s Russian collusion and the Hunter Biden laptop. The media folks now admit that there was no collusion and that the laptop story was the real deal. They experience no pain for their lies, but Joe Biden continues to inflict regular folks with pain at the pump and pain on about everything they need to purchase.
Did you ever think you’d see a day when it was more difficult to get baby formula than an abortion?
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