Big Post… sorry, it took me two days to write!
Non ranch-work question! Do you get the station DIY? If so, have any of you watched “Barnwood Builders”?? I am enjoying and learning things about old tools and barn construction that are very interesting!
<Ooooooh, yes! I do watch Barnwood Builders! Ranchers are big on reusing things… so, I think it’s great!>
I saw your diary in Working Ranch (Magazine) and have been reading your blog since. How many cows do you calve?
<Hopefully, all of them. ;-)>
What kind/brand of winter boots and sox do you guys wear when not riding on hooves or tires? I see pretty much the same style on almost everybody when working around the cattle, muck and mire… Do they keep the feet dry, warm and toasty?
<Everyone used to wear pacs… with the felt liners and heavier than all get out… then along came Muck boots. I think we all have 2 or 3 pair, lightweight Chore or heavier Arctic versions. Socks are usually wool blend for winter. Dry, yes, warm, yes, toasty????? I don’t think there’s anything that would keep my feet toasty – even in the house they get cold! But yes, we could advertise for Muck Boots around here. The kids even have them!>
Can the heifers get bangs from eating grass in fields where elk have grazed? In other words, how is it transmitted?
<“Bacteria are shed in milk or via the aborted fetus, afterbirth, or other reproductive tract discharges…Cows may lick those materials or the genital area of other cows or ingest feed or water contaminated with the disease-causing organisms. Despite occasional exceptions, the general rule is that brucellosis is carried from one herd to another by an infected or exposed animal.” That’s a quote from the USDA. Cows are curious, so if they see something different, the only way they check things out is with their eyes, nose, and tongue. Unfortunately, that will get them exposed to the bacteria.
Based on your family’s experience, can small beef ranchers be successful enough that the huge feedlots might be phased out? Now that we recognize the societal costs of feedlot beef production, can you see the US embracing a different way?
<No. That’s my simple answer. This is very complex! First, what is a small beef rancher to you? The average size of a beef herd in the US is 40 animals. That’s not us! Many places out here run their calves until they are yearlings. They will be only spending their last few months in a feedlot, getting that extra feed and marbling in the meat that makes it taste so good. There are just as many that sell their calves after they are weaned, so they will be spending a year in the feedlot. It is what works for each operation. If you are considering “success” as selling straight to the consumer as “grass fed”… you are adding a whole different realm of complications! Even as yearlings, we wouldn’t sell as “finished” because they haven’t hit the desired weight for slaughter. That may take another six – nine months on grass give or take. Feedlots meet the need to finish cattle… and they do it efficiently and at low cost. That helps provide quality beef at a low price for everyone. I’m honestly not sure what you mean by “societal costs of feedlot beef production”. Has it been made unpopular? Yes. Unfounded, in my book. I will recommend Ryan Goodman and his multitude of articles on feedlots and the beef industry for those who are interested. It would be much more unpopular to have high beef prices like most countries that import much of their beef. Can I see the US “embracing a different way”? I think the US is very lucky because we can have it all different kinds of ways right now. If one doesn’t like the idea of straight feedlot production, you have the option and money to find a “farm to fork” enterprise to buy from. If you like grain finished or grass finished, you can find them. If you like cheap burgers at McDonald’s, you got it. You can join a CFA, some have meat options. With a couple of acres, you can grow your own. Americans often forget all the options they have to embrace right now!>
why did you give up breeding the dogs?
<Oh, Pam, I did not give up breeding English Shepherds! I’ve just had years of rotten luck. I tried to breed Dally twice to different studs as Lucas was her father, and I didn’t want to line breed. Since I much prefer summer litters to winter, that meant I would only try on every other heat. Neither time worked. Then I decided she was too old, and I brought in Eden as a mate to Lucas. Well, I waited two years for her to grow up and so I could test her hips to make sure she was a good candidate for breeding, plus finding out about her personality and temperament. Again, I tried breeding her to Lucas for summer pups. He couldn’t do it so I tried Artificial Insemination for them. I had just returned from a session when he hurt his back and had to be put down. Hopefully, when she comes into heat soon, I can take her to Montana to one of Lucas’ sons and FINALLY have puppies in the spring.>
Who has the cradleboard now? It would be great to see a closeup and learn more about how you made it!
<I have it. Look forward to another blog post… great idea!>