Breakfast Rudely Interupted

Yesterday our breakfast was rudely interrupted. We noticed that 17 pairs (cows with their calves) 2 replacement heifers and a bull were walking down the old rail bed in front of our house! So all 3 of us ran out of the house and scrambled to try and set gates to get the animals in. They got in front of us but luckily our dogs got in front of them and brought them back, so we could get them in the corral. This year we have had so much rain that the grass on the range is great, so they didn’t come home on account of not much feed left, we think it’s been getting so cold at night it feels like the end of September, not the end of August, so their internal clock is probably a bit confused and telling them to head home early. Regardless, we hauled them back out to the range.  That took up a lot of the day because it took 3 loaded in the stock trailer and the haul was about one a hour and a half round trip. Where we dropped them off there was lots of grass, so we hope they will stay there for a bit and not just keep walking back home again. We are still allowed to have our cattle grazing on our crown range tenure until October 15, so we take them back up there, so we can save the grass at home for when they come home in the fall. We don’t have much grazing at home, so we have to manage the grass we do have very efficiently.

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They beat us going up the road and didn’t turn into our yard, but our dog Milly got in front of them and turned them around!

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Our young dog Newt pushing them up.

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Macy in the corral with her breakfast still in her hand!

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This is where we dropped them off on the range! See you in another month girls!

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We have been up to many things since I have blogged last. Summer time on the ranch is a very busy time filled with many different jobs. Like I last blogged about one of the main jobs is silaging and haying. This is very important to have feed during the winter months to feed our animals. Since we switched to silaging we still put up some dry hay to mix in with our silage to add some more dry matter to the cow’s ration. This year we put up 160 round bales and have 272 loads of silage in the pit and that equals 1632 tonnes.

The next thing we are busy with in the summer is moving cows on the range. We have     100 000 acres of crown range tenure that we have to take care of and ensure our cows are not over grazing. To do this we move them to different areas of the range. It is also important we are out on the range often to see where our cows are and to make sure as much as we can that everything is fine (no predator or people problems) . A major freeway, The Coquihalla cuts right through the middle of our range, so that causes some grief we have to go out there and make sure the fences are up and gates are shut.
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The next component of our summer work is irrigating. We actually hire this job out because it takes about 5-6 hours every day, so if we have to irrigate we don’t have much time left in a day to ride or silage. However, this is a very difficult position to fill and this year we have went through 3 different irrigators, so we are spending a lot of our time moving irrigation pipes. Everyday we have to move lines, so the water gets over the entire field. Some of our lines are wheel lines, so there is a little engine on the mover and we roll the entire line 4 rolls which equals 60 feet, so everyday the lines get moved 60 feet. We cannot run all our irrigation at once because according to our water licence we can only pump so much water, so there has to be a system of which lines are running and which ones need to start next. Some of our lines our hand lines, so we have to manually move each pipe which is 40 feet in length and move in over 60 feet to ensure the entire field gets water. We like to refer to irrigation as irritation because it can be a pain, but it is essential without water and irrigation we wouldn’t be able to grow any crops in our area of BC!

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One of our wheel lines and hand lines that are both shut off and in the distance a wheel line that is running.

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Hand pipes. For these to get across the field it requires you to pick them up and move them 60 feet!

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Here is a picture of the wheel line mover. The engine sits on this move and chains move the wheels, which moves the line. 

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When the crop gets high like this it is a pain to change irrigation pipes, you get soaked!

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My irrigation helpers Milly and Newt. When we are not chasing cows this is the concellation prize!

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Lastly, I also just got back from the inaugural Canadian Beef Industry Conference in Calgary! It was such a great conference and I learned so much, so stay tuned for an update about that!!! So that is a little snap shot of what we have been up to!!!!