Ranching in Spring

(Courtesy of Chain Ranch)

By Ralph Chain

We cannot believe how busy we have been this spring. It seems like there is no rest what-so-ever if you are farming and ranching. We were lucky to finally get through calving our first-calf heifers, with a 90 plus percent live calf rate, which is not too bad for first-calf heifers. We were also lucky to have good weather in Oklahoma and Kansas when our commercial cows calved.

There are two things I dread in the spring, tornadoes and prairie fires. We are so thankful that the terrible fires that were out west of us missed our Medicine Lodge Ranch by one mile. You can lose everything that you spent your lifetime accumulating in about five minutes with a tornado or fire. It goes to show you how uncertain life is.

We have experienced some prairie fires on our ranches. Several years back we lost 26 miles of fence in one fire. In another fire in Kansas, it burnt up all our fence. All we did that winter was build fence. Fortunately we didn’t lose any cattle.

When this article was written in early April, we were taking yearling cattle off wheat pasture the last two or three weeks. We try to get them off the wheat by the March 15. That takes us almost a month to do this.

The heavy cattle (750 pounds to 850 pounds) go to the Cattleman’s Choice Feedyard in Gage, Okla. Our lighter cattle are sent to our Kansas Flint Hills Ranch at Augusta, Kan. They spend about 100 days there to put on another 200 pounds, making them weigh around 800 pounds or more, and then they go to the feedyard.

Learn more in the May issue of OKFR!