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Call it Climate Change, Flood

You can call our recent excess rainfall climate change or you can call it just “bad weather.”  The reasons for it may vary from industrialization, or as my dad might say, “because we haven’t paid the preacher.” If you farm next to a river, some weather extremes result in a whole lot of water that temporarily shrinks one’s real estate considerably. It also means that, in the very near future, a lot of fence will need to be repaired. Flowing water is very hard on fences, especially fragile electric fence. When the river comes up fast, electric fence wire tends to disappear. This is the reason I spent much of Saturday coiling electric fence wire just ahead of rising water....

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A Christmas Calf

I will admit that I have been just a little bit grumpy lately, even through the advent of Christmas. The reason for not being my usual Mr. Sunshine was due to a prideful matter. One of the measurements of a cow-calf producer’s management ability is the percentage of calves produced each year by the herd. 100% is the target, and I was one calf short of that goal. One last cow was weeks late and she didn’t look at all like she was in the family way. Forget the dollars lost, I was, for this year, going to be banished from the 100% calf crop club when the bragging starts, or so I thought. For a herd check on Christmas...

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Bull Turned In

Romance is in the air at Fleming Family Beef, bovine romance. Unlike most beef producers, we like our cows to have their calves in the fall. At that time of year, feed is still plentiful, the ground is solid, and the weather has a high probability of being nice. In order for a mama cow to have her calf in the September-October time frame, she and the bull must do their thing about 283 days prior. That is the average gestation period for a bovine. So, five days ago, our (rented) Charolais bull was turned out with our cows. It so happened that one of our cows was “in heat,” (ovulating) on that day. It is neat to think on...

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Fleming Family Beef Cows Enjoy a Post-Harvest Foraging Treat

It has been a big week for the mama cows at Fleming Family Beef. Earlier in the week, we were able to complete the assembly of a temporary electric fence around our neighbor’s field of corn residue. After the corn is picked, our cows benefit from foraging the remaining shucks and leaves of the corn plant. Even though the plant material is now brown, it still has enough nutritional value for a non-nursing cow, especially if they can find a missed ear of corn on the ground once in a while. In addition, foraging cows in the winter helps to break down crop material, turning it into usable soil nutrients for next year’s crop. So, while those cows are foraging...

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Only So Many Winters

An original poem by Dan Fleming There are only so many winters, In a good old cow like her. Raising calf after calf after calf, She did her job each year.   Though I recall in her younger days, She could be quite a pain. She was disrespectful of fences, And led others to do the same.   But still, she doesn’t owe me a thing, Feeding my family all these years. And I’ll give a deserving salute, Through a bit of a graveside tear.   If asked, I would gladly make a trade, To avoid this sad, gray day, I’d chase her out of the corn once more, And feed her one more bale of hay.   But that...

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