May Long Week-end: Bulls Out, Boots Up.
As I discussed last year, the May Victoria Day Week-End has always meant fencing in preparation for putting the cows to grass. Now that we are in Alberta, the grass isn’t quite ready (and from the picture, it may be a week or two yet), but that ‘extra’ work day is still spent fencing, getting heat on the hot wire, and taking care of a couple of trees that (of course) fell across the fence this winter.
‘May Long’ also marks the end of AI season, as the herd bulls are turned out and our feet go up – ‘active’ management of our cow herd turns to ‘passive’ management. Since AI has directly followed a busy calving season, it is nice to be able to relax a bit and just watch them work until fall. We still keep an eye on them to get dates for the cows that are still not bred, and there is the odd day spent dehorning and vaccinating but, for the most part, the intensive part of the year is finished. As we are purely a grass farm, there are also no crops to worry about putting in. Although there are still a lot of jobs on the to-do list, it is just nice to be back working on our own schedule, instead of being tied to the biological or reproductive clock of our cows.
We are really pleased with the success of our AI program, and how next years’ calf crop is shaping up. It appears as if we have pregnancies to eight different AI sires, in addition to our two walking bulls. I think AI can really improve the genetic diversity of the herd, and it will be very interesting to see calves from so many sires. We are also very excited to see what our two new walking bulls produce. They are both yearlings, but got things ‘figured out’ on a couple of introductory ‘dates’, so we are confident they will go right to work. We plan on sharing more about our two young bulls in the next few days as we get pictures of them in pasture condition.
In the mean time, we’ll enjoy taking a break during the sunny days of a gorgeous long week-end. The only decision is which group of cows we would like to watch, which dictates where to sit – Escalade’s group is at the back of the house, while Samson has his girls in the front field. After some difficult decisions during AI season, it is nice to have a choice where you win either way.
We are currently enjoying a gorgeous Mother’s Day here in Central Alberta. With that, I thought it would be great time to share some pictures of a few of our ‘moms’ with their 2012 calves.
It is that time of year when the calves seem to change almost daily, but that one constant is the attention and care that their mom’s pay to them – and that bond they form through the summer months.
Applecross Carly is our youngest calf of the year. By Starfire and Applecross Catrina (Eclipse), we hope she turns out just like her mama.
Applecross Cassie is very closely related to Carly, as both are by Starfire, and their dams – Dora Lee Caitlin and Applecross Catrina – are full sisters by Eclipse and Dora Lee Christina.
Applecross Iris is by Pharao and Imperia, the Sargeant heifer we selected as a calf from Beechinors at the 2010 Equation sale.
APLX Edge is our lone Dora Lee Equinox calf this year. By Brock Waterloo, he looks destined for the bull pen
Applecross Evita (Starfire) is a real princess. Her dam is Dora Lee Evangaline (Sim Roc C&B Western). This mating has worked well for us, as we are walking a full brother in 2012
APLX Axel (Gidsco Appollo) will be one of our heavyweights this fall. By HEMR Tasha (Porterhouse Regent), we have an impressive full sister in our bred heifer pen that will be retained.
Applecross Hope is an Eli daughter by Applecross Tara (CEN Throttle) that was born 4+ weeks premature. We will tell her story in a future post, but she continues to progress after a rough start.
APLX Edison (by APLX Eli) and his dam Dora Lee Gretchen, an extremely feminine polled Arnold’s Image daughter.
Applecross Mariah is a standout Dora Lee Eclipse heifer from Delta Rho Miss Marnie (Wellhouse Kestrel), who we selected last fall in Ontario. The strength of Eclipse is evident through these pictures, so we are happy to be utilizing him again in 2012
APLX Ajax is a really intriguing Gidsco Appollo son by LFS Pol Adara. Polled like his mama, we will be watching him closely as he develops this summer.