In Survival Mode: Farmer's Update
Updated: Jan 17, 2022
We’re in survival mode here at the Pat Kirk Angus farm. With days in the negatives and the wind blowing, cattle farming can be a challenge. Most animal farmers understand this struggle. Weather constantly keeps us on our toes. We do what we can.
One thing that helps keep the cattle warm is more food. No grass is growing now, so the pasture isn’t much help. The cattle get constant access to round bales of non-GMO fodder. One of the hired hands explained that we give them more than they need, but it's important to Pat that the cattle are treated well so he goes the extra mile.
Another thing that has been going on at the farm is the addition of a farmhouse kitten. After our cattle dog, Jay, passed away Pat took in a kitten that had an infection. The blue-eyed kitten got the name Simmon since she looks so much like a Siamese cat. That has been shortened to “Simmy” now. She’s a mischievous little companion at the house, playing, clawing and biting Pat as he works in the office. What a handful!
Because of the cold weather, Pat has been taking advantage of his time in doors by getting year end paperwork done, and Simmy is right there to help. As Pat works on income tax stuff, Simmy tries to play with the curtains “Get down Simmy. Please get down. Get down!” Pat scolds. Paperwork can be a bit challenging with her around.
New animals are being added to the herd at the farm as well. We’ve held back seven new replacement heifers from the 2021 calves. These will pass on the good, Black Angus genetics we’ve worked to maintain and improve in our closed herd.
We got excited about the prospects of our herd’s replacement heifers after a visit on November 29th we had from our National Angus Association rep. As he walked through the pasture calmly looking at the herd, he observed that the cattle had remarkable confirmation. We were very pleased! The rep said that the Pat Kirk Angus heifer calves are certainly replacement quality and encouraged us to market them that way.
Later, on December 15th, a storm hit the farm making more work for us in addition to the cold weather problems we’ve been having. Trees were down. A windmill blew over at the crop farm. And Pat spent time cleaning up the damage both on the Pat Kirk Angus place and for our neighbors'.
The storm also left Pat without power for four days. Thankfully, even though those days were bitter outside, Pat had a charcoal heater that provided enough heat to keep the pipes from freezing. Kerosene lanterns also came in handy as Pat and Simmy waited for the electricity to be turned back on. That was a challenging time.
Then, when Christmas rolled around, Pat drove the church carolers around Webster City with his hayrack and tractor. We have done this for a couple years now, but this Christmas 2021 was a bitter-sweet with Jay gone. He always loved riding along as we sang Christmas songs.
Looking to the future, Pat is thinking about getting a dog from the breeder that Jay came from. Spot is his name. Although Spot had been injured, he has healed up well. Hopefully, he would make a good cattle dog and companion. Out of all the dogs, Spot wants to come out to do chores the most. We hope to let you know more about that situation in the future.
Have a great start to your New Year from Pat Kirk Angus!