There is just no way to get around it. Optimism is a wonderful thing but very hard to maintain when the temperature has been over 100 degrees for so many days that I've lost count. Rain has been very sparse and scattered.
Last week we had planned to gather up the calves and sell them but changed our minds at the last minute. I do not believe that we will be able to put it off for much longer. Also last week, I ended up breeding three cows. Not sure if it was a height issue since the young bull was so short or if there is another problem. Either way--- it just was not a good thing.
As much as it pains me, I have started planning on culling the goats as well. If we had somewhere for the horses to go, I would begin selling them as well. Frankly, there just is not a market and you can't give a horse away when hay and grass is this short.
There is a slight chance of rain for the next few days but it is too late for our soybeans. We walked out across that field this evening and were shocked by how poor the stand was. Some of the plants were valiantly trying to bloom but even if it were to pour down rain tonight--- it would still be too late. Now we have to see what the farmer plans to do---- wait and see how many beans make it or cut and bale it for hay. We would be much better off to bale it.
I only have 60 large round bales bought and not all of them delivered. Not enough to last winter, especially if we have to start feeding it soon. I am guessing that we will have to start using it for the calves by next week.
By Friday, they are predicting that the temperature will reach 113 degrees...... can you imagine???
I am sure that we will endure and survive but it is certainly no fun. The best that we can do is use this time and situation to prepare and learn how to handle this kind of drought. We know that we have to get the breach in the big pond dam fixed so that we can catch and keep more water. We have to get the spring cleaned out and fenced for emergency back up water. The pasture has to be cross fenced to rotational graze...... we have to improve our pastures and develope a hay source to reduce our dependence on bought hay and grain. We have to tighten our belts, sharpen our pencils and become better managers.
Our livestock is still healthy and not thin. They still have water to drink even if they have to wade in mud to get it. There is still grass to eat....... many other ranchers are not so lucky. The corn harvest is low but better than expected in our area.
I remember thinking last year that it could not get any worse. I was wrong. I am very grateful that we are not fighting fire in this area. There is a burn ban in effect.
Please pray for rain in the heartland....