Every year, Greenfield farmer Doug Holliday adds a few more animals to his cattle herd. The whole business began nine months ago, and ends when calves are born. Holliday says timing is key; playing his cards right frees him up during the planting season.
He says, "This way we can use the winter to calve cows. We've done this for several years now and we get along pretty good. We have a heated building that we calve them in back at home, except it's really nice right now, today. Then after they're two to three days old, we bring them down here to this lot and turn them in, where we have buildings and it's protected down here in the valley. And there's the little buildings the calves can get in if it gets real cold. They're bed with cornstalks; we grind cornstalks and blow them in there."
As these calves grow up, some will head to the livestock auction in Denison. Others will be sold into more of a speciality market.
Holliday says, "We sell a lot of calves to kids and grandpas and dads, I guess, and the kids for 4-H projects."
But before that happens, they'll have to be fed to get a little bigger. Currently grain prices are relatively low, which Holliday says is helpful for raising livestock.
"Our costs have gone down, you know, on our inputs a little bit. You know, our inputs were higher when we were making it in the grain side and had good numbers." Holliday says, "You know, The cattle weren't quite as high."
The grain production side of things also plays into Holliday's cow-calf business in another way: corn stalks.
He says, "If it doesn't get covered up with snow, I can feed those cows just by turning them out and putting a little protein out."
Holliday expects calving to wrap up in March with plenty of time to gear up for planting in April.