Calving season went fairly good with a few problems, but we didn’t have to fight mud and there was very little cold weather.
By the first week of May, the calves had been worked and cows were out on grass. Bulls were put in for a March 1 calving date. The replacement heifers were AI’ed and cleanup bulls put with them.
But wow, what an April.
After another mild winter without much moisture, we had one of the wettest Aprils in western Kansas. Our rain gauge recorded just over 5 inches. It was very welcome and put smiles on many farmers’ faces, even if feeding in the mud wasn’t much fun and we had to put the chains on the feed truck.
On April 29, I did something that I had never experienced before: My wife and I drove across Kansas from west to east in a steady rain. We never once turned the wipers off.
When we got past Salina, all the ponds were full and overflowing. The Flint Hills were beautiful, with all the green grass and trees leafing out. We could see cattle in most of them.
For the most part, the wheat is looking good. Farmers have destroyed fields because of poor stand. This was the result of poor planting conditions in the fall and the lack of winter moisture. So far, the hailstorms have missed our area.
It is hard to get motivated because of the low commodity prices and high input prices. Some in this area are experimenting with planting cover crops that can be grazed during the summer. That was unheard of in years past.
By the time you read this article, I will have participated in the annual Bike Across Kansas. Training is harder and harder each year. Age may have something to do with that, but this is something that motivates me to keep myself in better physical shape.
It is also a good way to see different parts of Kansas at a slower pace. Things look different at 15 mph than at 70 mph.
I pray that you all will have a safe harvest and enough rain to keep the grass green and the fall crops growing.
Lynn Kirkham, his wife and their youngest daughter and her husband farm and ranch in western Logan County. He started ranching and farming with his father in 1972 and bought his uncle’s farm and ranch in 1975.