Here we go with the letter B in our A – Z of Farming.
In keeping with alphabetical order, we’ve got BushBabe up first:
Amanda: B is for Beef
Juicy rib-eye on the bone, delectable filet mignon, rich bolognaise, hearty warming winter stews… beef is such a great part of any menu.
It’s a terrific source of protein and it’s delicious too. Of course I am biased – having grown up on a beef cattle property alongside a father who firmly believes that it should be consumed three times a day! I have to admit, I don’t eat QUITE that much beef, but I do think that it’s pretty hard to beat when it is cooked right.
One of the many things I love about living and working where I do, is that I help raise content, healthy beef for dinner plates both here in Australia and overseas – a lot of our beef ends up on European tables too.
I adore our cows – who happen to be Brangus (another great farming ‘B’ word, Brangus have Brahman and Angus bloodlines). They are resilient, polled, fertile and great ‘doers’ with outstanding beef qualities. We live in a tough country and our cattle need to be tough too – just not on your dinner plate!
Fleur: B is for Bulls
B is for lots of things. Barbed wire, baler, bale (of hay), bank (we farmers can’t do without them!), bore, bucket. Bogged.
Like our super spreader man in September of last year:
But the B word I want to talk about to day is BULLS! Muscly, hunky, meaty bulls.
Without bulls, there wouldn’t be any cute calves. Without cute calves, there wouldn’t be any income or replacement heifers. We need bulls.
At the moment, our bulls are in the bull paddock where they spend most of the year. They’re not too bothered there aren’t any cows on heat (farm speak for ‘in the mood’). At the moment, the cows are all pregnant, and due to start calving about six weeks.
By around the middle of May, the bulls start to take an interest in the girls. The babies are on the ground and the cows start to cycle again and believe me, when that happens, the bulls can smell them from a mile off and are raring to go. Panting at the fences, angry they can’t get to the girls…
They pace the fence, back and forth, letting out huge, ground shaking bellows, telling the cows they’d like to have a few private moments with them and the girls are just as forward, usually hanging as close to the boys as they can, flaunting their, ah, stuff.
But, they have to wait until WE are ready to put them to work (the only way we keep them apart is by electric fences) and believe me, if we didn’t, we’d have calves all out of season. (It’s best the calves are born in autumn just as the rains are coming, so the mum’s have green grass, to help with their milk production). Around June it’s time to let these randy blokes into the clutches of the wanton women!
They stay in for about six weeks. Later we’ll check to see who’s pregnant and who’s not …
Six weeks of glory, then the rest of the year celibate! Who’d be a bull?
Now we run an Angus stud and there’s heaps of paper work and record keeping involved with that:
The tags will go into the calf’s ear, and say who the mum and dad is plus have the calf’s number written in large letters. And as in the photo in the middle, you can see the number on the hip of bull? Well we freeze brand them to show who they are, in case they lose their tag.
Rural Miss: B is for Babies
One of the highlights of living in the bush is the constant breath of new life that comes about on a farm. From lambs to pups, chickens to calves to baby birds, joey’s, emu chicks, ducklings and so on. The cuteness cannot be underestimated, nor the power of our children learning about reproduction through watching a chicken hatch out, a lamb being born or mothering an abandoned calf.
Lambs/ewes in holding yard
We put our rams out for mating late December. The whole mating process is also cause for intrigue as the kids check out the a ram riding a ewe ! Poultry mating is often a very violent affair, and the kids always wonder why the chooks or turkeys are attacking each other.
We have some very interesting conversations regarding this whole ‘baby business’. The kids will go for a drive with Chris and witness some very eye opening stuff. During lambing they will arrive home exclaiming “We caught a big sheep and Dad pulled a lamb out of her bottom! It was covered in yucky stuff and the Mum licked it!” to “Mum, Sassy has boobies like you!” Why thankyou kids, I’m not quite sure what to make of the fact that apparently my décolletage is shrivelled up with 4 teats!
The wonder of new life really does take your breath away. These days we are inundated with bad news stories, but witnessing Mother Nature in action is a marvel, and it brings that little bit of hope back to us all.
Fleur: I love babies and beef, so what a great show case of farming today!
Now, Just wanted to give you all a heads up. Bushbabe of Oz, Rural Miss and I, plus three other girls, Ann Britton Photography, Bush Chook’s Photography and Miss Grey have started a cool Facebook Page called OUTBACK PAPARAZZI! Head across and like our page to see more amazing photos from the outback. And not just photos, we more plans in the pipeline! Also maybe you might feel like you can support a cause very dear to all of us over there: Aussie Helpers.