Our family has approximately 600 acres of grass pasture 10 miles south and west of the feed yard. We use this grass pasture for two purposes: 1. to graze light weight cattle before placing them on feed at the yard, and 2. to bale grass hay (prairie hay) to use as animal feed during the fall and winter months.
Our pasture ground is picturesque land on the Willow Island Road. My favorite blondes and I love to take our horses down there to ride—whether we are checking cattle or just riding the horses to enjoy a beautiful day, our pasture ground always brings a smile to my face.
The grass typically begins to green up and grow in April, although this year it was delayed about six weeks due to cold spring temperatures. Depending on rainfall amounts, we can grow cattle down on the pasture grass for several months during the summer time. By September, the grass is tired and lacks the feed value that my cattle need to continue to grow.
When that happens, it is time to come home with the cattle to the feed yard where we can offer a constant and nutritious blend of feed. This enables them to continue to prosper even though Mother Nature is finished providing for the year.
My favorite retired feed yard manager (Archie) and his wife (Alice) are in charge of the pasture ground. They maintain the fence, spray for weeds, and are the primary caregivers for the cattle when they are there grazing.
Archie and I loaded our cattle on a semi-truck Monday morning to bring them home to the feed yard. While I had already planned to do this due to lack of feed/nutrition, the threat of flood waters from Colorado on the South Platte River cemented my decision.
Our pasture ground is in close proximity of the South Platte River. Depending on how high the water gets, it may flood this weekend as the water runs across the state of Nebraska. I learned a long time ago that preparation and planning ahead allow me to lesson the impact of Mother Nature’s vengeance even though I am impotent in my ability to stop her.
Farmers and ranchers all along the South Platte River have been busy this week moving cattle and hay bales out of the path of the flood waters. The water hit the western edge of the state yesterday, and it is reported that the water levels of the river will rise 13 feet in some places. The Platte River is a wide and shallow river, so that is quite a bit of added depth and will cause damage as it rages across the state.
It is painful for me to look at pictures of the devastation in Colorado and I pray that those affected will have the tenacity to rebuild their farms. I also pray that the damage in Nebraska will be minimal.
Mother Nature always seems to find a way to instill humility in those that rely on her for their livelihood.