Wednesday, March 9, 2016

2016: To Market, To Market

The job required quick reflexes and extraordinary vision. Too bad I have neither of those attributes. But, as I tell Randy, you get what you pay for.

Still, my aging reflexes and eyeglass-corrected vision helped get the job done as we sorted feeder calves last week. I ran one of the gates as we sorted the group.

These calves were a little more than a year old. They were the babies born to our cow herd during the 2015 calving season a year ago. They spent last summer at pasture with their mamas, then we sorted off the babies last fall and weaned them after a veterinarian visit. The feeder calves have been in a separate pasture, where we fed them all winter. (Click on the links for more of the calves' journey at the County Line.)

After getting them into the corral,  we sorted them into two groups - steers and heifers. That's where the 20-20 eyesight would have been helpful.
Last fall, the veterinarian inserted a red tag in the right ear of the heifers treated with the bruccellosis vaccine. They are the heifers that potentially could become mamas for us in the future - additions to our cow herd. It's not always easy to see those tags on moving heifers!

Randy planned to keep 25 heifers to breed back for our herd. So, after the initial sorting, Randy again looked through the heifers, and he chose the ones that he thought had the best characteristics that we want to carry on in our herd. He looked for heifers with a straight back, good muscling, a larger frame size, good feet, a smaller head and a feminine look.

Those 25 went into a separate lot. The remaining 72 went back to the pasture until Wednesday morning, when we again brought them up into the corral.

That's when the semi came to take them to the sale barn. Though we have two cattle trailers, it would take several trips to get all the cattle to the sale barn, so we hire Darrel Harner Trucking to haul them in a semi.
The cattle go single file up a loading chute and into the semi. The semi is divided into different compartments, which can hold anywhere from six head to 25 head of cattle. Darrel would tell us how many he wanted at a time, and the guys would send that many into the truck.
Once they were all loaded, the semi pulled out for the trip to Pratt Livestock.  
 We did have to take one trailer load of calves ourselves, so the semi wouldn't be overweight.
Once the semi arrived, the sale barn workers sorted our cattle by sex and size and put them into different pens where they had water and feed until sale time. There are lots of pens throughout the sale barn facility. Each sellers' cattle are kept separate.
They also unloaded our farm trailer and added those cattle to the larger group brought by semi.
And, no, I didn't get photos of those cattle unloading because I didn't want to get in the way.
Randy is always happy when it's sale time!
Coming up: More from the cattle sale!


  1. Randy is certainly looking contented. I hope the prices were good.

    1. Not nearly as good as last year. But such is life on the farm!

  2. Hope you had a good cattle sale, Kim!

  3. Hope you had a good cattle sale, Kim!