After the Hardisty field day which was another wonderful and good day we came home and plowed full swing into silaging! We silaged for four days and covered the pit on Wednesday morning. It makes for a busy few days from about eight in the morning to ten or eleven at night and is a very important time as silage is what we feed in the winter months to our cattle and are their main food.
This year we had a very large silage pit, we silaged more crop than we usually do because we got a bunch of winter kill on the alfalfa so it didn't come in very well so instead of haying it we silaged it. Silaging is also a process that takes a few people to successfully complete it. Every year we get together with our neighbors and we help them silage their crop and they help us silage ours. Most of the time you need:
1 person swathing a bit ahead of the chopper
1 person running the chopper
1 person on a tractor packing down the pit and moving the silage up
3 or 4 people driving trucks depending on the distance of the field.
Now once the silaging is complete we have to cover the pit so that it doesn't get any air or moisture so then it doesn't rot. There are a couple ways to cover pits. Lots of people cover pits with old tires onto the plastic, it is a lot of work to move tires and cover the pit. We used tires back when we would bag the silage and you would just have to do the ends of the silage bag. When we starting putting the silage in a pit however we have covered the pit with big round bales. We find this works wonderful, it gives the pit a good seal and we haven't ever had issues with the silage spoiling. It is also less strenuous on the people, we have a couple people in tractors moving bales and then three our four on the ground holding the plastic down. The ground people don't have to do any heavy lifting or anything and it is much nicer. I have covered silage with both tires and bales and I must say I prefer bales much more than tires.
This is the amount of silage above the pit edge.
So, we successfully got another crop of silage of the ground and by the looks of the pit it should be more than enough to feed our cows during the winter. I also got to smell the sweet aroma of fresh silage for a couple days, a smell that I quite enjoy. Some people don't like the smell as much, but I quite enjoy it now anyway, not so much when it's older.
A little while ago we sorted all four hundred and some of our cows, we do this every year around this time when we have a spare minute. We sort the bull calves from the heifer calves or boy from girl for one simple reason, to prevent any 'teenage pregnancies' so to speak. It is more than likely not going to happen, but because we have so many cows we can sort them apart and its just a precautionary measure and much safer. The bull calves will also ride the cows if their in heat, they can't really hurt the cows. But the bull calves will also sometimes ride the heifer calves which could injure them so we sort them annually.
Once we sort them girl from boy, we go through our bull calves again and sort out the better ones and put them in a separate group. Dad finds this works great if someone stops in to look at cattle and they only have a few minutes, we will take them to the group of better bull calves. Around this time of year we also attend field days, which is a day where breeders bring bull calves and they are judged in a ring openly. These are the kinds of shows my dad loves, not very much work all you do is bull your calves of the pasture load them on the trailer and take them to a field day for the day. This year we sorted out 24 good bull calves for two field days and 12 heifer calves which are split into pens of three and judged by the people at the field day.
The north western field day was last week in Cut Knife, Saskatchewan. It was a wicked long day, it takes about six and a half hours of straight driving to get there, so we left here at 4:45 in the morning and got home at about 2:30 in the morning the next day, so all in all it was a long day for us and the calves who were very happy to see mommy. It was our first time to the North Western field day and we ended up with Champion Senior Bull Calf and third in the pens of heifer calves. So, it was worth it and it is a great way to see people in the Hereford business and their cattle. I thoroughly enjoy field days. Unfortunately I did forget my camera so I don't have any pictures but I hope to take some for this Thursdays field day in Hardisty, Alberta (a little closer to home, about 4 hours).
Our sorting of boy from girl lets us kill two birds with one stone when we pick calves for the field days and it is a precautionary measure to prevent stuff we don't want to happen!
I can't believe it's already August, as I get older it seems the days just go by faster and faster! Although I think I have to owe most of July going by real fast by how busy I was, in July pretty much two out of the four weeks was spent away from home, spending most of my time in a barn with a bunch of cattle!
From July 12-17 was Summer Synergy in Olds Alberta. We headed up to Olds with our five head of cattle around noon on the 12th and got them settled into their tie out pens and everything set up for the week! Throughout the week along with feeding, watering, washing and bedding our cattle so they were nice and comfortable I participated in a variety of different competitions such as multi judging, show team judging, and showmanship during the week. And then Friday was the big show day, where all the kids in all beef breeds, dairy and sheep showed the animals they worked hard to prepare for the show. All the competitions during the week and the conformation show we got points on how well we did and those points got accumulated for the chance to win a scholarship at the end of the week. There was also a marketing component that counted, consisting of making a blog which is how this whole blog got started in the first place and thanks to all of you for reading, following and viewing I was one of the 27 who received a scholarship and was recognized at the Calgary Stampede grandstand on Saturday!
It was a crazy, exhausting week but totally worth it in the end, walking across the grandstand in front of thousands of people was an experience that I am not soon going to forget! It was an excellent week and I would encourage anyone between the age of 9-21 to come to Summer Synergy in the future, it is a great week and a wonderful opportunity to meet new people and a great way to make get some scholarship money!
Well, after that fulfilling week in Olds, I came home to catch up on some sleep, relax a bit and get ready for the week after for our trip up to Saskatoon Saskatchewan for the 2011Canadian Junior Hereford Bonanza July 26-31. Every year this show is hosted by a different province and this year it was a huge success with our highest numbers ever. My siblings and I took eight head on the long almost seven hour drive to Saskatoon. It is quite similar to Summer Synergy with different activities like showmanship, judging, grooming and team competitions happening throughout the week with the big open show at the end! I did alright in the show this year with my yearling heifer placing third in the class and the 2 year old bull 40W, featured here received the honor of reserve champion senior bull!
Bonanza is probably one of my favorite parts of summer, I have been going since 2008 when Alberta hosted it in Medicine Hat andI have loved it ever since. It is another great way to meet fellow junior members that love to show and raise the Hereford breed! Again I encourage any Hereford enthusiasts under the age of 21 to come out and have fun with us, it is another great opportunity for scholarship money, free semen through the semen donation program and the chance to win money for a heifer through the heifer lottery, all you have to do is become a Canadian Junior Hereford Member.
It has been a great month, quite an exhausting one and I'm still catching up on sleep but it has totally been worth it.