Farmer Focus: Why I’m flatly refusing to understand our GPS system

Fall has finally arrived in Kansas. The spring-born calves are weaned and most of the fall calves have been born. 

We did pregnancy checking on the spring cows and couldn’t be happier with the results. We culled down hard last year during the drought and with the ample moisture this year we were able to “put our best team on the field”. 

Our conception rate was 97% after 60 days, but there are fewer than 10 cows bred (out of 400) in the last heat cycle.  

The majority of open cows were old grandma cows that needed to go anyway. I don’t remember results that were so good. 

See also: Sire selection one of easiest ways to improve beef fertility

I had a pasture of 125 three- and four-year-old cows with three opens – two were cows that had ingested metal objects that I didn’t breed and expected would die.     

Everyone was in a good mood last week as the results came in, except for my brother.

If you remember a year or so ago, we purchased a large truck. I volunteered to get my commercial driving licence so we could fully use it across state lines.

I remain the only one who can drive it, so when we got GPS for our field tractor this year, I made a point to not learn a thing about it. Chris drew that short straw and spent the whole week no-tilling our 200ha of winter rye/turnip/radish cover crop and new fescue leys.

We only have a 4.5m drill, so it took a while. In fact, he had time to do the maths and calculated he drove 300 miles at 6mph last week. I’m so glad I can’t do that.

The next few weeks we will be working on a registered heifer sale with 50-head and begin to ship our commercial heifers to their new homes.

It is a busy time of year, but the end of summer is one of my favourites. Whether it is a really good weaned bull calf, or a heifer finally sold and the money back to the bank, it feels like there is finally payoff for a lot of hard work.


Daniel Mushrush is a Farmer Focus writer from Kansas. Read his biography.