By Kevin J. Sabo
For the Advance
Farming, for one East-Central Alberta ranch, is most definitely a family affair.
Castor’s Twin Anchor Charolais is operated by Castor’s Cliff Weeks, as well as sons Brian and Keith, and their families.
Add in off-farm jobs for Cliff, Brian, and Keith, and school for the kids, and everyone manages to stay pretty busy, even in the pandemic.
On mornings where Cliff and Brian work off the farm, the mornings start early with the pair pail-feeding their young bulls and heifers in the morning. While the pair are working with the cattle, the kids are up and working as well, feeding their 4-H calves, the chickens, and collecting the eggs.
After putting in a full day at work, chores continue afterward, with silage needing to be mixed up for cow-calf groups and bales needing to be put out before supper.
Once the supper dishes are put away, the chores continue with calving and fencing checks.
“It’s getting to where we’re starting to check some fences,” said Brian.
“I’m tearing out the fence around my home half-section. It’s getting pretty old. I’m working on that project a bit here and there.”
The chores are just part of the work needed to maintain their cattle operation of around 150 cow-calf pairs and 50 or so bulls, though of the bulls only about six or seven are kept for their own breeding purposes.
“We’re always trying to build up our herd a little bit as well,” said Brian.
Twin Anchor Charolais just hosted their first bull sale in March, something that Brian feels was a success.
“It was the first one on our own,” said Brian. “That went well. This year we moved our sale earlier, to the first Friday of March. Restrictions were relaxing decently from where they are now.”
In addition to some in-person buying, bidding for the animals was also conducted online, through Veteran Auction Mart, and the Direct Livestock Marketing System web site, which allowed for worldwide bidding, if approved.
While some of the buyers took their animals home with them from the auction, others left their animals with the ranch to be delivered later. Buyers taking the animals immediately received a credit on their account.
With the March sale done, and the weather beginning to improve, the operators of Twin Anchor Charolais are beginning to gear up for spring seeding, to commence in early May. The crop produced from the seeding is then used for feed for cattle operations.
According to Brian, they are planning to feed cattle until June this year to give the grass a chance to start growing, which has been complicated by the dry year the region has had so far.
“We didn’t get much run-off this year,” said Brian.
“It didn’t really fill the dugouts, though this (recent) snow should get the grass growing.”