I cant feel my......
Dec 15, 2016
I've been absent for a few weeks due to my computer dying, but i'm back and with Christmas just about a week away, we here in the snowy Northeast are already experiencing our first Polar Vortex of the season.
Today's high temperature is 10 F with a wind chill of -6. Usually weather like this isn't experienced around here until after Valentines Day, but there's nothing we can do about the weather. Or is there?
Obviously we can't stop weather like this from happening, heck we can't get an accurate 5 day forcast let alone an accurate prediction of what's going to happen in 5 minutes! But just like Christmas and Valentines Day which happens every year on the same date, we should be ready for weather like this even if it does literally smack us in the face 2 months early.
So have you been caught off-guard by the early season cold and snow? If so, maybe you should put a seasonal game-plan together now so your prepared for next winter when it sneaks up on you.
Some of us have more time to prepare for spring haying, fall harvest & winter freezing than others, but put yourself in your animals hooves. With weather like most of us are experiencing right now WATER and WIND BREAKS are the two most important things our animals need, especially if you don't have a barn or building for them to go into to get out of Old Man Winters blistering breath.
The second most important thing you should have for getting you animals through an "Old Time Winter" that is quality forages. Not just hay, quality forages such as a decent mix of grass & legumes that we're cut, raked & baled at the "right time" during the growing season. Late cut hay that is barely green when mowed will not do anything for cattle or horses in this weather especially if their pregnant. It'll fill em up, but believe it or not, your livestock can literally starve to death with a full belly. If their not getting the nutrients they need through stored forages, you might as well be feeding them wood shavings.
If your looking for forages from an auction or private seller, NOW is the time to go stock up! Don't wait. The longer you wait, the less there will be and the more it's gonna cost, especially with winters icy grip on us already. And the fact that most of the country experienced a drought this past season.
In PA our hay prices are still pretty reasonable, but with the recent winter spanking we're currently experiencing, i'm predicting a significant jump in hay prices and a downward trend in Live Beef prices. Guy's around here are probably taking a good look at their feed supplies and v.s. the number of head they have to feed and are going to be hauling cattle to the auction and bringing hay home next week.
last week the average price payed for Alfalfa hay was only $160.63/ton, Mixed hay (grass/legume) was $188.13/ton and decent Grass hay was already bringing $200/ton.
Feeder Steers are already $.58 - $.72/lb. less than a year ago and have been slowly trending lower over the last 4 weeks! If you've got your poop together and have an ample amount of stored forages put away like a good little farmer, than it's definitely a Beef buyers market, and your operation will in great shape when you harvest them next spring or fall for your customers.
Well its time for me to bundle up like Ralphie's little brother and trudge through the snow to check on our cattle that are comfortably sheltered either behind or in our barn enjoying their nutrient rich forages.
MERRY CHRISTMAS Ya'll, and to ya'll a safe winter! Brrrrr.