I’VE NEVER EXPERIENCED THIS BEFORE…
…and I don’t ever want to again! -30 degrees…I thought that kind of number was only for wind chills and legends in North Dakota and Minnesota. Our weather the first 2 weeks of February was an eye-opening, perspective altering, game-changing event. We’ve never experienced anything like it. I have some takeaways.
I have not had enough emergency hay supplies…ever. We typically have open winters and if we do get a big snow it is mostly gone within a week or so. The cattle can typically graze through the snow we do have. This time the snow made grazing impossible because it was a foot deep, melted a little, then froze, almost like ice. It then snowed another 6”. With the temperatures as they were, the cattle needed calories of some sort. You ever wonder at the time why God puts something on your mind…then later find out the reason? Last summer we were planning to take in around 200 pairs for a friend and graze stalks through the winter. I decided to nearly quadruple the amount of hay we typically buy for emergency purposes. I remember thinking at the time, “Why in the world are you getting so much, you hate dealing with hay!?” Now that the story has been written we are clearly thankful God led us to do that. The cattle made it through splendidly (I will explain below). For the specific purpose of getting the cattle through a normal “supposed to be” grazing period we fed more hay (partly due to the extra cattle) in the first 2 weeks of February than we have in the last 20 years combined. We simply don’t feed hay as a planned part of our year-round grazing plan. I plan to be better prepared to do so in the future…and I’m not planning to move to ND or MN.
I am more appreciative of our cattle than ever before. Though we had to feed hay and keep water open, it didn’t seem the cattle let it get to them at all. Remember, our calves were still on the cows. We just weaned this week, but the pairs did a great job in that weather. We had several friends and family members ask how the cattle were doing during the brutal stretch, and I had to beg them to feel pity for me because the cows were doing just fine! One friend commented that our cattle are now proven to be able to handle a temperature range of -30 to 115…hadn’t really thought of that.
What is the rest of the story? We are melting, FAST, and the cows are back to grazing! I am hopeful we can utilize stalks through March until we take them to stockpiled grass in April.
REGISTERING TO BID:
If you are a new customer and plan to bid at the sale. please provide your bank contact information and a representative name and let us know the amount you would like to be approved for. Please email that to us. You can register for a bidder number at the sale in person. If you are planning to use DVAuction, you will need to register with them. Regardless of how you bid, please be ready to pay for your purchases the day of the sale. We can do ACH or wire transfers for online bidders. An ACH doesn’t cost anything. This is one area that creates frustration if not handled immediately. There are so many other details to be concerned about on sale day; please do your part and make this part easy on my wife and daughter. Thank you!
I’VE BEEN NOTICING…
…a LOT of other bull sale catalogs arriving in the mail recently. I don’t look through them much, but I notice they are all shiny and they typically have pictures of bulls standing in deep hay and looking very well-conditioned. The bulls are cleaned and clipped and sometimes on a halter. You will find none of that with Ichthys Cattle Enterprise. Though ICE has the aim of producing seedstock unlike what you can get anywhere else, we have other goals as well. Our 16 year-old daughter Hannah (with the help of her siblings) shot all of the bull and bred heifer videos, edited them (by herself) and sent them to DVAuction. Ashely compiles all the data that goes in the catalog. Ashley knows the cattle far better than I do. I claim to manage the forest while she understands the trees. David, Rachel and James help sort and move cattle, dig thistles, cut cedars, build fence, etc.. Lydia’s day is coming!
We are a family that seeks to acknowledge God in all our ways and to work hard to His glory. Our homeschool extends to vocational ag in a big way. We do not have fancy catalogs because we make them ourselves, and our kids learn something in the process. If someone refuses to buy a bull or bred heifer from us because we don’t appear “professional,” then I wish them well in their seedstock pursuit. Function is more important than form to us; we do what matters most.
Why do “others” have their bulls standing in deep hay so it looks like their belly is touching the ground? Could it be because they are too big? I really don’t know why they do that. Our bulls actually have bellies closer to the ground. Why clean and clip? I’ve never heard a bovine complement another on their hair coat or complain about how straight a fence is. Humans worry about a lot of things that don’t matter. How did those bulls get so well-conditioned? I will guarantee it wasn’t from roughing it on cornstalks the past 4 months with only water, salt and mineral. Our cattle won’t look like anything you see in a “professional” catalog. You’d have to be as nuts as I am to buy them. Ask yourself, “Do I want an animal that looks good the day I buy him or the day I pull him from the breeding pasture?” If your answer is both, you probably won’t find that here, but if you give us a try I’m confident you’ll find what works. You might even change your perspective.
Grace to you all.