Everything is brown and dusty here at Amber Oaks. Although we had a wet spring, the past 12 weeks have been dry and hot. We are looking forward to cooler weather, rain and the coming of fall. Cows suffer in the heat more than any other animal on the farm - who wants to eat when it’s 100 degrees outside. The grass is no longer growing, so they don't find much to eat when they venture out from the shade. Due to these conditions, we have decided to abandon rotational grazing protocol until the weather cools, allowing the herd to access all pastures to take advantage of available shade and forage.
We’ve also pulled the calves off of the mothers. The momma cows are already eating for two, and the extra burden of nursing is causing them to lose weight, so we’ve started the process of weaning. The calves are all over 6 months old and very capable of fending for themselves. I did reserve a pasture just for this purpose, so the calves are getting the best that we have as they make the transition to an all grass diet. To ease the transition, they’ll also get alfalfa cubes. Alfalfa will provide them with the additional protein they need for healthy development. If it doesn't rain soon, I’ll have to start feeding the momma cows hay. Fortunately, we’ve got an abundance thanks to the rains we got in spring and early summer.
As a matter of necessity, I took the female calves to the auction yard this weekend. We let the bull run with the herd year round, which means that I have to sell all the female calves - only keeping males and any females I deem worthy of adding to the herd. This year I am retaining one of the female calves whose mother has exhibited exceptional qualities – breeding back early, maintaining conformation, and producing healthy calves. We’re hoping she too will become a valuable asset to our system.
This year we’ve been blessed with 12 male calves and in roughly two years they will graduate to the freezer. Six of those are from our Akaushi (Red Wagyu) bull, Yoshi. I’m excited to see how they turn out. Wondering about the calf with the displaced hip? Though he still has a hitch in his step, he’s developing into a fine looking steer.
$7.50 per lb. - $50 Deposit Required
Delivered the Tuesday before Thanksgiving
Fresh - never frozen
This Week's Markets
The Elgin Farmers Market is a year-round market that will remain open every Thursday. Pre-orders are encouraged.
The Taylor Farmers Market is a year-round market that will is open every Saturday. Pre-orders are encouraged. Live music most Saturday's from 11 -1.