This week was full of small projects that ended up keeping us very busy. We did some corral repair and hung more joints of methane pipe where the old fence was in disrepair. I had to weld some of the pipes and I caught a small patch of cheatgrass on fire since it was so dry. We got a hose and sprayed the area around the fence to prevent any further hazards. We also had to set some new posts for a windbreak that was leaning badly. We also attacked the shop lean-to that was very disorganized. We hauled off several loads of junk and made the area very open and clean, not to mention organized. One of the skylights was broken in the barn, so Jeff and I went up in the tractor bucket to fix that. It went together very nicely and no one got hurt. Mr. Perry had me put fly-rubs out for the cows this week as well. I had never done that before, so it was a learning experience. I mixed the insecticide (10% Permethrin) with oil and dribbled the mixture on the rub. It seemed to take a long time and my arms got tired from holding the oil jug up. It will be interesting to see the results.
We finished up irrigating with the side rolls this week. However, I had to replace several birds before we were done because they either broke or weren’t distributing the water evenly. We were notified that one section of our gated pipe was leaking, so we went to repair it. As it turned out, one of the joints of gated pipe split clear down the entire length, so our trip to fix a little leak turned into a pipe replacement trip. We still have one pivot going for a little while yet. I prepared the swather last week, so we are ready to start 2nd cutting on Wednesday. Next week we will be moving cows, haying, and trying to dodge the forecasted thunderstorms.
After last weeks adventure of trailing cattle to the mountain it is now time to continuously be with the herd and watch for sickness as well as keep cattle scattered through out their pastures. Keeping cattle scattered ensures that they will not over use forage in any area of the pasture. To do so, we will be moving them every few days as well as placing salt and mineral in areas that will draw the cattle away from areas of high utilization.
Foot rot and phenomena are two common sicknesses that occur on the mountain. Typically these calves are roped and doctored; recently we have transitioned from roping calves to shooting them with a gun that shoots darts filled with medication. Using the dart gun is less stressful to the animal because they don’t have to be ran down and roped. With lower stress levels for the animal, it allows the medication being administered a better chance to show a quick response in the animal. Animals that are doctored with excessive stress levels may show a negative response to the medication.
This week has been the week of haying. Monday we went around and raked all the fields that had been mowed last week. Tuesday we cleaned all the equipment and finished what little raking was left. Wednesday I spent all day in a tractor baling hay. It was pretty nice just sitting there listing to music and jamming out baling hay.
Thursday we cleaned the equipment again and did some more baling. After that we went to Steamboat and went to the hot springs. It was nice to have a night to relax and have a little fun. Friday we did some more baling and raking up the stuff the baler could not get the first time. Saturday we were back to horses. We had to go move cows up to a new pasture in the forest. The forecast for the future is more haying with a chance of riding.
This week was definitely a cooker! We have been struggling to manage working all day in the heat and still have energy and motivation. I worked all day on Monday on a short piece of fence in the corral that was patched together with panels. I re-set the posts because they were badly leaning and we hung methane pipe on with lag screws and metal clips. It was very nice to have two people to put the pipes up because the spans were about 29’ and VERY heavy.
We moved cows on Tuesday to a different pasture and I got to try out my newly made bull whip. It worked pretty well. We worked the rest of the day on gated pipe and electric fence. On Wednesday, we helped Mr. Perry’s brother clean out his garage and hauled some telephone poles home that Mr. Perry had purchased from him. I was also able to go to the Sheridan Wyo Rodeo that evening.
Thursday and Friday were spent cleaning up around the shop and doing some general repairs. I rebuilt a retaining wall out of railroad ties that was falling down and cleaned up a lot of junk around it that was buried in the weeds. It looked a lot nicer when I was done! The irrigating has been going good for the most part. I went through both side rolls, cleaning and replacing birds that were defective. The new pivot has been doing it’s job quite nicely, except for the times when it gets stuck. The alfalfa is doing well in the heat, as long as it has water on it. Next week we will probably prep the haying equipment for the second cutting.
This past Friday, July 14th, 2017, the Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce held their annual “Pardners in Prosperity” event. Pardners in Prosperity recognizes the many businesses, associations, and people that work with the Chamber to make this town a smooth running machine.
It was quite different from most of the events that have been held in years past though. Since it was the 150th anniversary of the establishment of the city of Cheyenne and it’s Chamber of Commerce, this summer’s Pardners in Prosperity took place downtown in the Historic Depot Plaza, right in front of the train depot and across from the Wrangler western store. The main focus and theme for the event was agriculture, and recognizing the impact and history that it and local ranchers have had and still continue to have today.
A live country band, an auction of western items, and a “Farm to Table” lunch was provided, with all food coming from local locations. The beef was provided by 7 Bar 2 Beef, and the rolls and vegetables were provided by Grant Farms. Organizations, including the Wyoming Stock Growers Association, that have been members of the Chamber of Commerce for well over 100 years and were established in Cheyenne were given a chance to speak as well. Local livestock producers, including the Warren Livestock Company and the King Eisele Ranch to name a few, were present and were recognized for their efforts towards working with the community. A board was branded with all of the ranchers who were present to the event that brought their branding irons along.
The Chamber now looks forward to Cheyenne’s next big event, Cheyenne Frontier Days, which takes place July 21-30.
Intern Andrew Mainini got to experience a new aspect of ranching this week; moving cows and their calves to summer pastures.
It was an exciting and much anticipated week here at the E Bar U, because it was finally time to trail cattle to the mountain. This trip took three full days of trailing and another two full days of cow work at the beginning of the week to prepare the calves for the rest of their summer. We took roughly 400 pairs into the Bighorns Mountains to spend the rest of the summer in their grazing allotments. This week has been very hot here so that meant very early mornings and slow going cattle. Riding the face of the mountain was something that was very new and exciting to me. I thoroughly enjoyed my time on the trail.
The most important part of taking cattle to the mountain is working with the forest service to be in compliance of the guidelines that they set for grazing permits. Guidelines set by the forest service vary from forage use, animal units, and even if the permittee can drive off road or not. If these guidelines are not met the forest service will delay your date for taking cattle to the mountain and could even cite you for non compliance. What I leaned most about this week is how to work with the forest service.
Tyler Flatt’s Fourth of July week was full of friends and fun. He had a little trouble moving some cattle, but all in all it sounded like a wonderful week.
This week has been a pretty laid-back week. We had the 3rd and 4th off for the Fourth of July. Monday we went to Laramie to visit a friend’s ranch and we hung out, had dinner and just relaxed. The next morning, we got to sleep in and then we headed back to the ranch. Once we got there we set up a small grill next to the river and just ate and sat around all day. Then we went to the fireworks show in Dixon which was great!
Wednesday, it was back to work, we moved a big herd into the forest and had a pretty bad wreck. The cows were supposed to go around on the road and they dove off into the willows below. So, we got as many as we could, which was about half, and found another way to get them up. Thursday, we went back to that spot and clean up as much as we could but we saw that one of the bulls tore down a fence to get to the heifers. So, they are all mixed up now and sometime next week we are going to have to separate the heifers and push them back.
Friday, we just moved some cows back across a road in the forest to the pasture they were supposed to be in, then we went to a different heifer pasture and made sure that the heifers were all pushed up with the bulls, which they were. Saturday was spent cleaning up around the ranch then going to the rodeo at Dixon which was a blast. Then after the rodeo we went to the dance in Baggs which was even more fun and we all had a blast. Now the fun week is over and its back to work in the morning. I don’t know what’s on the schedule yet but I’m sure its full.
This week on the Ranch I did a variety of things. The first part of the week I was mostly doing weed control. I sprayed white top in Barrett’s Slope pasture, and cut down musk thistle in various places around the ranch.
Later on in the week John Coffman and I did utilization monitoring of the Ed Young pasture. We recorded the percentage of grass that cows grazed this season in several different pastures. The percent utilization in the Ed Young pasture ranged from 0-40% in different areas.
John and I then began cheatgrass monitoring. This involved going to different GPS points and taking photos of the ground every five meters which we will look at later to see what percentage of the ground is covered in cheatgrass.
While we were doing this we found a pretty awesome looking caterpillar on John’s Camera bag. We think it’s some kind of moth caterpillar.
The last thing we did this week was to begin transplanting willows onto stream banks. We take cuttings of willows, let them soak in the stream for a couple days, then we plant them on the banks to help reduce erosion and keep the cows from going straight down to the stream on the cut banks.
Jedidiah Hewlett had his hands full this week with repairs on tractors and other equipment at the Perry Cattle Company. This (almost) certified mechanic enjoyed the 4th of July with some fun and fireworks at least.
This week was pretty slow, but we managed to find plenty to keep us busy. We have continued to irrigate with the side rolls and the pivot. One of the pipes broke on the side rolls when I was moving it and I had to take it to town to get it fixed. Putting the pipe back on was a simple matter but lining up the rest of the sprinkler was another matter altogether. It made for a very long, hot, and frustrating morning. Finally, we got it running after two days of being off. After the first cutting, Mr. Perry put in some ditches to flood irrigate the corners where the pivot doesn’t reach. The flood irrigating has been going slow because it has been so hot and the ground is soaking up a lot of water. We had to fix the ditcher this week because the lift cylinder broke the weld holding it to the frame. We hauled a tractor down on the flatbed to use with the ditcher in the lease. The hitch must not have been fully engaged because after we unloaded the tractor, I went to move the pickup and promptly halted because the gooseneck tore the tailgate out! It was a wreck, but we think we can maybe bend the tailgate back and re-install it.
On the 4th of July, we went to the fireworks show at the Polo courts by Bighorn, Wyoming. The show lasted about an hour and was very spectacular. In the later part of the week, I spent the day cleaning up one of the pastures, stacking up panels, and cutting up a tree that had tipped over on the fence. We still have a lot to do to get the ranch organized, but it comes a little at a time. The heat of the days almost makes you want to stay inside, but we are toughing it out!
Intern Andrew has learned much this summer in regards to all things ranching. This past week he focused broadening his knowledge of invasive species and pest control.
Haying season has come to a close on the E bar U and its now time to take cattle to the mountain so they can spend the rest of the summer in their grazing allotments. This week we had a focus on finishing up haying season and preparing for next weeks move to the mountain. Vaccinations boosters will be given to the calves in the next couple of days and we will leave on Thursday and will be trailing cattle until Sunday. One interesting thing we did this week was collect and redistribute flea beetles.
The two Flea Beetle species uses to control leafy spurge are Aphthona nigriscutis and Aphthona lacertosa. Both these insects graze upon leafy spurge, which is an invasive plant that has become a major problem within the western states. The E bar U has been using this type of spurge control for a number of years and it has truly made a difference in the fight to control spurge. Draws and lowlands that were almost 100 percent covered in spurge are now almost completely free of spurge. This has allowed the grass to grow back and has increased forage production throughout the ranch. Using the flea beetles is not a quick fix. For the bugs to make a difference they must be properly collected and moved to new sites as well as given enough time to graze down the spurge.