Ranch Musings columnist David Zirnhelt. (File photo)

Ranch Musings columnist David Zirnhelt. (File photo)

RANCH MUSINGS: Spring planning before the fever sets in

More and more ranchers in Canada are going to later calving in May, delaying busyness

As we slide towards spring, I always think there is lots of time to plan for spring activities. I know good planning can expedite the enormous workload in the short time we call spring. If it is a wet spring, then we have less time to tend the land.

Of course, we can be sure to have the equipment lined up and ready for the fields. We can order the supplies we might need; soil amendments and fertilizer, seed, and we can review our soil samples if we have some. If not, we can be ready to take some immediately, once it is dry enough.

We can fix range and pasture fence once the snow is gone. It is nicer to do this repair work before the mosquitoes hatch. Barb wire, bugs and hammering staples do not mix well.

Herd health will need to be attended to: vaccinations, bull fertility assessments, horses shod if you use horses in your operation.

Supplies and parts need to be ordered early because the pandemic might interrupt supply chains and we may find we are not ready when the planting season arrives. It will soon be followed by the time to harvest a first crop, maybe even a fall-planted annual.

More and more ranchers in Canada are going to later calving in May, which delays the busyness of branding and vaccinations. This year one might be getting vaccinated oneself.

READ MORE: The aging ranchers bumble along

Now wouldn’t another flood year just throw a wrench into the gears of your well-oiled operation.

If you were a beginner farmer it might be a good idea when you do your business plan to have a section called “Operations Plan” which identifies actions and timelines linking to your operation’s budget and cash flow.

I am tired already thinking of the upcoming season and the activities I have mentioned. Normally, we would still be on vacation somewhere sunny. If it has done nothing else, this pandemic has kept us home puttering around doing this and that, all which can be preparation for Spring.

We don’t make huge, long lists, but we short list the urgent and the important items every morning after the caffeine kicks in.

“Contemplative moments to enhance focus” we say about this special time looking out the window, stoking the fire, and enjoying each other’s company before the rush is on.

David Zirnhelt is a rancher and member of the Cariboo Cattlemen’s Association. He is also chair of the Advisory Committee for the Applied Sustainable Ranching Program at TRU.

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