With last weekend's disappointing rain "storm" - only 0.08" of rainfall in Auburn - we're moving ahead with our drought plan. Thought this might be of interest to other producers out there. In my mind, these things are important to write down. The very process of writing helps me organize my thoughts and think through the ramifications of the decisions I'm making.
Flying Mule Farm Drought Plan
January 13, 2014
Rain-by Date: January 26, 2014
Minimum Rainfall: 1.0”
If we have not received the minimum rainfall by our rain-by date, we will cull 30-40 ewes. Our culling decisions will be made on January 26 while we are trimming feet and administering pre-lambing vaccines. Our culling criteria will be as follows:
- Any ewe or ewe lamb with active footrot or other obvious health problem
- Any ewe that appears to be open
- Any ewe identified on current inventory list as a potential cull (because of past lamb production - singles each of the last 3 years)
Ewes that are culled for feet, other health problems, or because they are open will be treated and sold at auction by January 31. They will not be vaccinated or de-wormed. Ewes that appear to be bred and that are culled for #3 above will be vaccinated and de-wormed. We will offer these ewes to other producers; however, if they are not sold by January 31, they will be hauled to auction as well.
Early Weaning Plan
Decision Date: March 31, 2014
Decision Criteria: Must have adequate forage growth to have quit feeding hay.
If drought conditions persist through March 31, we will likely wean our lambs early. I anticipate that we will be done lambing by late April. We will wean all lambs 30 days after the last lamb is born. Our decisions regarding marketing and finishing lambs will be based on summer forage availability.