Fall is busy time of the year for most farmers and ranchers. Harvest is nearing completion, fall preparation is if full swing and it is that time of the year for most ranchers to sell their calves.
For me and my family, October is very busy with cattle work. I have done all aspects when it comes to weaning. This year I continue our tradition of weaning about one month prior to taking our calves to market. We wean, vaccinate and put on fall pasture until our calves weigh about 700+ pounds. Market prices this year are some the best we have seen in years, and it is always gratifying for me to watch our calves in the pasture for the 30 days after weaning.
We wean the calves at our upper corrals and return the cows to a different pasture for the fall and early winter season. The calves are hauled to our lower corral where they will be fed hay and watched closely for about a week. We then move them to a lower pasture where they will prosper on our great fall grass.
When determining the pasture that our cattle graze, I am a huge advocate for leaving about 50% of the grass to maintain a health root system for the winter and next summer. This practice maintains extremely great pasture from year to year.
Along with weaning, harvesting and fall irrigating, deer and elk hunting has begun. So far this year the elk numbers a low on our place due to the lack of snow up high and the abundance of grass from the great summer rains.
We did have a herd this summer grazing the dryland alfalfa. However, in the summer herd, we noticed that the calf numbers were down from previous years. I hope that our elk herd doesn’t go by the way side like the Gardiner herd. The wolves are taking a heavy toll on a valuable and treasured Montana resource, ELK HUNTING. We need the Montana wildlife to use as a tool to get our young teens and adults hooked on hunting rather than hooked on Main Street, USA.