Much of the area got much needed rainfall to help with the wheat crop and get it up. The rye grass I seeded in my pastures seems to be coming up. Hopefully, I will get a nice stand to have something for the horses to eat rather than expensive hay. I don’t have all the fancy equipment so I just added the seed to the manure in the spreader and put it on my paddocks. This has worked at my place and if it will give some added grazing it will be worth the cost.
I have visited the topic of wild horses before in my column. I found another really interesting article on the internet that was talking about this problem yet again. Tax payers probably would like to know it costs them right around 76 million dollars to keep these critters in holding pens. The wild horses are removed from the BLM range to keep the wild herd at a constant population. Lately, because the holding pens on ranches have become overcrowded because only one in the three horses available for adoption actually finds a new home, horses have been sold to a rancher in Colorado who is suspected of selling the horses to a slaughter plant in Mexico. As you can guess when this hit the social media scene, hundreds of animal rights folks had something to say, but I was surprised at the number of folks that would be in favor of the federal government using slaughter as a means to control the populations. After all, the BLM, is selling the horses to the rancher at a very cheap price where there is a profit locked in to haul them to a slaughterhouse.
The dirty laundry with this story comes with the Colorado rancher being friends with the head of the Department of the Interior, which is who is ultimately in charge of the wild horses. This should come as no surprise to Oklahomans, because we know it took a little pull for the long term holding pens to land the contract. These horses can live to be 20 years old; take what the government pays annually to keep the unwanted or unadoptable horses and those guys make good money with few expenses.
I was anxious to read the comment section on the article and it confirmed what we already knew. Most of our population is so far removed from agriculture it’s not even funny. The horse which was once a prominent ranch hand or work animal has been elevated to pet status by most Americans. It’s great when folks have solutions for problems, but most I read were way off the road to practicality.
The Oklahoma State Fair and Tulsa just made their annual runs. Working the chutes used to be a favorite job of mine, but these guys today do a much better job getting them ready for the show than I did. I am also more of sleeper these days and don’t want to get up that early any more. There is a dividing line between what will work in the pasture and the cattle that win in the show ring. This is nothing new and it has been this way for a long time. I used to like to see what won the show and enjoyed the visits I had with people at these events. However, most judges today are the same people at each show. Academia seem to get the call more than the seasoned cattlemen to pick a championship line up, which is all fine and dandy except some of these men have never had to run a cow herd.
With that said, the show industry has impacted all breeds. The number of junior exhibitors has grown and selling those show heifers often pays a lot of bills for some operations. If you look at the big events a lot of times the open shows are dominated by the junior exhibitors rather than breeders. As I read the publications, it’s good to see some of the folks I worked with or went to college with at the backdrop taking a win picture with their children.
The fall sale season is in full swing and it’s never out of style to update your genetics. Good genetics eliminate a lot of problems and add profit to the bottom line. The seedstock industry has always had a little flare and wasn’t afraid to break out the propaganda wagon, sending some breeders of in search of that unicorn or perfect beast that did not exist. The latest information to come down the propaganda trail is that crossbreeding is overrated that consistency comes with straight bred commercial cows. I was never a fan of turning out composite bulls in this scenario because it increased the variability of the calf crop, but the benefits of the British/Continental cross is well documented and of course certain regions of the country need some Brahman influence. Each commercial operator must decide the goals of the operation and choose the best genetics available. Planned crossbreeding systems will add dollars, no question about it.
The uncertainty of the corn market has some of the big feeding firms reaching to South America to secure feed resources. It’s amazing how some of these firms can import corn cheaper than they can buy it hear at home. Ethanol subsidies and a tariff on more efficient foreign produced ethanol will keep this trend alive. This is one of those things that straddle that line of being politically correct about what you say and political discussions are something I am tired of.
November is a big election for most Americans. Choosing the right or wrong candidate could have a huge impact on our freedoms and traditional beliefs. I have never seen as many people approaching this with so much anticipation because they know the importance of this election. I predict record voter turn out, but I know some folks are almost scared of how it’s going to turn out and know this is going to impact the way they do business.
Most realize I am big college football fan and most Saturdays will find me in Stillwater supporting the Pokes or making sure I can at least watch them on the TV. Horse racing is another passion of mine. The Breeder’s Cup isn’t far off and while there is no Zenyatta trying to repeat the impossible, it still is going to be a fun filled day with the most talented horses in the world. Movies like Seabiscuit and Secretariat did a lot of good to promote the sport. Secretariat’s owner, Penny Chenery, is a great ambassador for the sport. She was just honored by the Thoroughbred Club of America, but the amazing thing was the day before she signed 280 autographs and helped greet over 300 guests at Claiborne Farm where Secretariat stood. We all talk about giving back or customer service, but I think most could benefit from this sort of dedication to their craft.