Life on a farm is a harmonious blend of tradition and innovation. Every season brings with it a set of tasks and responsibilities that connect us to the land and the animals we care for. Two vital aspects of farm life include weaning calves and planting wheat. September was busy with both as well as attending sporting events and activities. These practices, deeply rooted in agricultural tradition, play a crucial role in ensuring the success and sustainability of our farm.
Weaning calves is an essential part of any cattle operation, and it marks a critical life change for the cow and calf, as well as the rancher. We wean calves when they are around six months of age. This allows the calf to grow and be able to transition away from a diet of milk to a diet of hay/grass, water, and grain (when ready). The process is fairly simple, but it takes time and monitoring afterward. The calves are separated from their mothers and introduced to their new diet. We monitor the health of the calves to ensure they are adapting well to the changes of their new diet and possibly a new environment. As the calves grow they will eventually be taken to a feedlot to become part of the Wyoming Pure program, are sold to other producers, or are kept for future mother cows.
Planting wheat is also an essential component of the farm in the fall. It takes careful planning and can be tricky with the Wyoming weather. Before the planting can begin, we have to work the ground to prepare the soil. Typically, we plow the fields that are going to be planted which turns the soil to mix the nutrients and also makes it easier to plant. Once the fields have all been plowed, the planters or drills are used to plant wheat seed into the ground.
Then, it is a bit of a waiting game. After about 10 days we can see if the wheat has come up (sprouted). If there is too much or too little rain or snow it could cause the soil to crust over which would mean that the wheat could not break through the ground. We would then have to replant those fields. Luckily, we didn’t have to replant anything this year!
As always, everyone has been busy attending all of the sporting events and activities that the grandchildren are involved in. It is always a bit of relief when the calves have been weaned and the wheat has been planted, but the work is never done!
Harvest time means all hands-on deck! Often, they are not able to get on the combine until close to noon, so we take the harvest crew a hot meal at dinner time to allow them to eat and continue working. Everyone loves being involved.
During wheat harvest came the Platte County Fair. Five of the eight grandchildren participated this year. They showed market steers, market goats, and entered cooking projects. Everyone did an excellent job, had fun, and of course learned a lot. We all enjoy supporting them and all the kids of Platte County throughout the week.
All the kids have now headed back to school and it’s time to start planting next year’s wheat crop. September is looking to be another busy month with planting, moving cattle, and following kid’s sporting activities.