Skip to main content

More Drought Planning

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

De-Stocking Plan
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:

  1. Any ewe or ewe lamb with active footrot or other obvious health problem
  2. Any ewe that appears to be open
  3. 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.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Trade Offs

As we were building fence for the soon-to-be-lambing ewes this morning, someone drove by and asked my partner Roger how long it took to set up the electro-net fencing we use for the sheep. Roger replied, "It's not too bad," to which the driver said, "Seems like a lot of work." Roger's answer - which both of us use with some frequency, was, "Yeah - but this way we don't have to feed any hay!" The driver, who obviously wasn't a rancher, didn't understand - and I suspect even some of my rancher friends don't understand the trade off we're making. Building electric fence is a lot of work - wouldn't it be easier just to feed hay?

The paddock that Roger and I built this morning encloses about 5.75 acres of high quality forage. Since the ewes are on the verge of lambing, their forage demand is peaking. They're eating nearly twice as much grass now as they need in the late summer - after all, many of them eating for three (and p…

No Easy Answers Part 2

In mid October, some friends who graze their cattle in the mountains of western Lassen County (less than 200 miles from our home), became the first ranchers to have cattle “officially” killed by wolves in California in nearly a century. Wildlife officials confirmed that the Lassen pack killed a 600-pound heifer; four more heifers died (and were partially eaten by wolves), but the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) couldn’t confirm the cause of death. While I learned about the depredations shortly after they happened through the rancher grapevine, news of my friends’ losses weren’t made public until the California Cattlemen’s Association and California Farm Bureau Federation issued a joint press release this week. The October 28 edition of the Sacramento Bee ran the story.
If you’ve read my previous blogs about wolves, you’ll probably know that I’ve frequently been frustrated with the Bee’s coverage. The paper has run guest opinions disguised as news articles, and appar…

Humbled and Excited

More than 20 years ago, I went to work for the California Cattlemen's Association (CCA). After two internships, I'd been hired by my friend and mentor John Braly as the membership director in 1992. By 1996, I'd been promoted to assistant vice president - pretty heady stuff for a young guy who hadn't grown up in the industry. I started looking for new challenges. Dr. Jim Oltjen, who was (and is) the beef extension specialist at UC Davis (my undergraduate alma mater) suggested that I think about going to graduate school to prepare for a career in extension. I considered it, but the timing wasn't right.

Fast forward to 2013 (or so) - I'd been working as a part-time community education specialist in our local University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) office for several years. The farm advisors in the office - Roger Ingram and Cindy Fake - suggested that I consider getting a master's degree and applying for a future farm advisor job. This time the id…