As snow fell again last weekend, the Sawyer Land & Cattle family looked longingly to the end of March and the start of April, with hopes of spring temperatures, dry ground and plenty to get done in the next four weeks.
April is, by far, the busiest month of the year on our farm. In addition to planting corn for harvest this fall, my husband, his father and our two full-time employees will spend hours upon hours at our cattle facilities, preparing calves, mothers and the bulls for six months on green pasture.
Just like families who prepare to head to a new climate or different part of the world, our animals are prepared for the changing landscape and climate before they leave the farm. They are given ear tags to fend off flies, and vaccinated for common diseases. The bull calves are castrated to become steers and all animals are checked for overall health and well-being.
Our calves, which range from three months to three days old, will be transported to grass pastures in the Kansas Flint Hills alongside their mothers in starting April 15. The mother-baby pairs will graze through the spring and summer months. The calves will return to our farm weighing close to 500 pounds and the mothers will, hopefully, return pregnant with their next calf.
My husband and his father are responsible for a large portion of the trucking duties, spending days on the road moving cattle from our farm to pastures we have leased for the spring and summer months.
While the cattle may be out of sight for the summer, they are never out of mind, as we travel frequently to check on them and ensure they are getting the minerals and nutrients needed to thrive.
In the midst of all the cattle duties, we also must be present in the field, preparing the soil for fall crops and planting corn on hundreds of acres. And this year, April will be extra, extra hectic as we prepare for the arrival of our first child. The official due date is May 1 but we have a nursery to arrange, a crib to assemble and doctor appointments to attend before “Bull” arrives.
April is guaranteed to be a hectic but enjoyable month with several busy days and a lengthy to-do list but it’s part of life on our family farm.