Pipelines and Bloodlines

With the cows out in the badlands, we’ve been making sure they have water and deciding which yearling heifers will be joining them in the future. Our cows in the badlands depend largely on a pipeline to supply the stock tanks. It has outlived its life expectancy, but sometimes we have to put in a little extra effort to keep the water flowing. We, also, are starting to sort our heifers to decide which ones will stay here and which will be sold.

 A badlands stock tank that operates off the pipeline.

A badlands stock tank that operates off the pipeline.

The waterline in the badlands is a great blessing. It really makes all that pasture work, but it isn’t without its problems. We have been having a hard time building enough water to keep all the tanks full. The other day when I was out there I found a couple little leaks that we didn’t think would be taking all the water, but we figured it would help to fix them. The next day we headed out to work on them with some help from the neighbors and one of the neighbors found another bigger leak and my father found another small one so we dug all them up and figured out the parts we would need to fix them. Dad went and bought the parts and then after two days of work, he and the neighbors finally fixed them. My brother and I went out there yesterday and found two more significant leaks so the saga of the badlands pipeline will continue into this week.

Our other big project for last week was deciding which heifers to keep to replace cows that had left the herd. It’s a process that we try to put a lot of thought and consideration into. We look at their pedigrees, their own performance, size and shape, and, this year, we looked at the DNA test results on the ones that were tested. We only keep heifers that were bred on the AI to maximize our investment in our AI program and keep the most fertile heifers to be future herd dams.

 Gathering heifers in the fresh snow.

Gathering heifers in the fresh snow.

We go through these heifers again and again trying to agree on the best ones to keep. Unfortunately, we can’t all get the heifers that we want and we have to find compromises. Then it’s choosing new tag numbers for them and making the tags. Today we gathered the heifers, many of which had decided to get into the pasture with the calves making things take longer than they should. Tomorrow we will sort them into two different bunches and begin to “process” the replacements. This includes placing their new tag and a tattoo for if they ever lose that tag.

 Megan was gone so her I took over the kitchen and made a complete mess of it for the new tags.

Megan was gone so her I took over the kitchen and made a complete mess of it for the new tags.

We’re trying to get all of this done in time for Thanksgiving and maybe fit going to a bull sale or two into the mix. How about you? Are you ready for your Thanksgiving plans?

I hope you are and I hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving.

by Brandon Greet

Brandon Greet6 Comments