Lightning impacts first cattle sale

I don’t ever remember stopping a cattle sale for lightening, but we did this past Saturday. What a week of weather and it doesn’t sound like we are through it all yet. To say this has been a tough spring in an understatement. Our springtime calvers are fighting every day to keep their animals dry and safe. It is ideal weather for scours and pneumonia. This effects a person’s mental health. It takes so much out of you. We have not yet recovered from the toll of last year’s crazy weather. Fighting the elements such as weather is a real struggle because it is something we cannot change. Working harder or longer doesn’t change the conditions. Cows that lose their calves now are likely destined to leave the operation as costs of keeping her for a whole year without a calf is unreasonable. We already culled cows heavily last fall and as our numbers drop so does our income. We are talking about a herd rebuild program, but it is hard to think about it, considering that these days have been hard, and the input costs are absolutely at an all time high. This should concern everyone; we are producing food and the only way you will find food in the grocery store is if the farmers continue to grow it.

Volunteers pulled out all the stops to get the sales barn ready for the opening sale last weekend. A full canteen was available, and poured concrete kept the animals and staff clean, despite pouring rain. – Allan Bradbury photos

We sold 1460 head at our sale on Saturday. We were short staffed, and the weather obviously created problems all week long. Despite that, we had a great sale. Total sales were $1,859,496.29. Though we had wet cattle they really looked pretty darn good considering conditions. Our staff deserves so much credit. Soaked to the bone they still worked and continued to get cattle into the ring as quickly as they possibly could. We are thankful that part of project last year was pouring cement under all the cattle pens and alley ways. Though there was mud, they were at least able to work without losing a boot. Building a lean-to on the South Side of the barn for cattle entering and leaving the ring was valued on Saturday as well – at least those staff were able to catch a break from the rain. We received so many compliments on our canteen staff and food. Thank you to Barb, Donna and Joanne for spending the time with us and making great home-cooked meals. We look forward to working with these girls this fall for our four sales. You will want to make the trip to Stratton to have lunch! By the time the sale was over many of us were uncertain if we could make it home as roads had started to wash out. Stacey and I knew we were unable to take our normal trail home. It ended up we had to go to Devlin and back-track home. It was foggy and hard to drive so it was a long trip home and I finally crawled into bed just before 3 a.m. But I can’t complain because our staff was still loading trucks when we left. I was supposed to head to Guelph Sunday morning but when the weather was so uncertain all week, I became nervous about leaving my own animals, so I cancelled and participated in my Monday meeting virtually. I am so thankful that I did that!

We are finished lambing as of this morning as well. When I went to bed last night, I thought the last one was going to lamb, and I watched her all night with nothing happening. I headed off to work leaving my mom in charge. Turns out Stacey had to come and check things out. She was having triplets and they were all trying to come at one time. Once she got them untangled, they all arrived fine. We had four sets of triplets this year. Unfortunately, one set is bottled as the ewe had mastitis and has since dried up. Now we need the weather to change so they can get outside!