Itís Christmas Time and New Yearís once more,
Better look in at the stable door.
Youíve made a list and checked it twice,
But did you check the cows for lice.
Naughty and Nice is on the list,
But ship that cow, whoís heat cycle missed
Santa knows if youíve been sleeping,
On feeding replacements that youíve been keeping.
He also knows when youíre awake ó
Thin cows need some extra hay flakes.
He knows if youíve been bad or good,
So do up the books like you know you should.
Then remember his message as he drove out of sight,
Merry Christmas to all,
and to all a good night!
A silly Christmas verse to be sure. However there are a few good thoughts or checks within. If you are keeping replacements donít shortchange them now. Make sure their diet is what they need, i.e. Balanced-not too heavy on energy or short on protein. The TLC in their first and second winters will help to determine if they stick around for a long time as cows, or take the exit package in year 2, 3, or 4 (Long before they start to pay you back). Parasite control is important for the whole herd but especially the young stock. If you had a coccidiosis problem last year consider Rumensin in the mineral or as a supplement to help reduce the level in the cow herd. Talk to your Vet and feed-rep to see if it will work for you. Split your cows into two feeding groups, unless you are giving everything full-feed. Guaranteed you will have some young and or thin cows that could make use of a little more feed and a little less competition. In light of the high calf prices you may also have elected to hold over a few older cows that could also use a little extra care this winter, yet still produce you a profitable calf next year. In the long run this usually saves feed and money as you stop overfeeding the big-tubby cows and put the feed were it will do more good. It also translates into an easier calving and re-breeding in the spring. Cull the open freeloaders in your herd, but if you have the feed carry the open cows to the New Year. The price will generally rise and the weight of the cows will be up, to hopefully equal more dollars for you.
Then there are the books! We all hate to do paper work, but how are things looking for your year end. Have you sat down and analyzed your sale results (good or bad). All calves sold well this year but did your calves sell at the top of the market? If not, what can you do now or over the winter to make next years market package more attractive.
Donít forget the annual meetings and info days coming up over the winter. This is your chance to have some input into your organizations and take home some useful info. But the most important part is in the last line of that verse. Take the time in the holiday season, and all year round if possible, to appreciate and celebrate your friends and family.
May we all find the love, peace and joy of the season.