The extremely busy month of June is almost done and the rain has begun to fall across the prairies after an record breaking dry spring. Hay stocks have taken a beating keeping animals fed while waiting for the grass to grow. Heavy pressure on any grass early in the season sets it back for the remainder of the year. Some producers are supplementing with pellets and oats, and supplement blocks can increase animals digestive efficiency (like this sweetpro block formulated for elk and deer). If you don't or wont have enough quality feed and grass now is a good time to cull. AWAPCO in Alberta is planning a July slaughter, contact them now to see if you can make the receiving date. If you have questions about where your animals qualify to be shipped, contact AWAPCO or any of the guys out there shipping animals, they can and will answer your questions. Don't assume your herd is stuck. See the classifieds section for contacts.
The winter was reasonable and animals came through in good shape. One exception was the huge increase in winter ticks/lice/mites seen across the prairies in large farm animals. Vets have reported a lot of farmers coming to them in late winter about scratching cattle and hair loss. https://www.producer.com/2019/03/lice-increase-in-prevalence-across-western-canada/
If this is happening on your farm, it may be time to change up your parasite control. Consult with your vet on different options out there. New products have come on the market the last few years that are making big waves. SCA will have Earl Davis, owner of Mohawk Vet Clinic in Melfort, speaking at our 2020 convention on the many products available for cervids. A well timed summer treatment can also give you the biggest calves you have ever had.
Calves and fawns have arrived to warm weather and velvet season is well underway. Many farms are reporting velvet weights lower than normal, likely due to the continuing drought. Prices have not been set for this upcoming season but expect them to be in the same range as last year. If you want to hear straight from the buyers on price, all contact information is located in the Classifieds section.
Breeding season will be here before you know it, so now is the time to find your newest additions to your farm so they can be moved and settled before September. You can also see what a breeder bull has to offer in the velvet department. If you are on the HCP (formerly known as the VHCP), check to ensure any farm you are purchasing from has your status or higher. Contact the Canadian Sheep Federation that administers the program to ensure their status is up to date as their lists online are updated quarterly. Email firstname.lastname@example.org . If you do not have TB status on your farm, consider getting it. Yes, it is not a fun process but once you have it, a lot more opportunities for income are at your disposal and you have it for five years. Call some friends and fellow producers for help if you need it and get it done. Plan it out to coincide with other handling/ treatments/ inspections. Choose late fall to mid March to avoid soft antlers and the effects of the rut. Contact your local CFIA office to book a date.
The SCA board is busy fielding many requests for input on proposed regulations. We have multiple meetings scheduled for this summer and we are working hard to protect our producers and open new opportunities for our products.
Whatever direction you are taking your farm, it always helps to phone people and get the latest news on things. Stay in touch or try calling someone new. Our board of directors are always happy to discuss these issues with you. Call us, as the infamous Red Green would say "I'm pulling for you, we are all in this together."