CGND | Our Pasture View – November 2021

Maria Bichler

Maria Bichler is a wife, young mother of three and owner of Bichler Simmentals in Linton, N.D. She works from home as a journalist alongside her husband, Doug, as they manage their family’s 100-year-old farm and ranching operation.

Besides the cooler nights, the dropping of leaves and the joyful disappearance of flies and boxelder bugs, our cows and calves are home again – a sure sign fall is here and winter is on its way. The calves have been weaned, the cows are grazing stubble left in the fields and the heaters in the water fountains may need to be turned on soon.

If you have been looking at any kind of headline lately, you will know our nation is having problems with various supply chains. Are you shopping for Christmas gifts now to ensure they are shipped in time? Are you stocking up on essentials because you are worried the stores will run out of items?

Here is one example of how current conditions in our world are affecting agriculture. We feed our cattle with a mixer wagon. On the mixer wagon is a scale system with a monitor called a scale head. A month or so ago, our scale head stopped working. We called and inquired about purchasing a new one to have shipped to our farm. The response? Of the specific make and model we need, there are two in the United States. And, there is one used scale head which is conveniently plugged into our mixer wagon as I type. There are thousands of farming operations which use the mixer wagon we do. And remember, this is but one example.

You may be wondering why not having a scale head would cause a problem. The scale head is the only way Doug knows how many pounds of each ingredient he is putting in the mixer wagon. Without the scale, he would be mixing and feeding an unbalanced ration. A balanced ration is the key to a healthy animal. An unbalanced ration could actually harm cattle as too much of anything can be a bad thing.

So even amid the insecurity of this autumn, as we approach the holiday season, we may all do well to be a little extra thankful this year. When you gather with family, be thankful for all the behind the scenes work and, indeed, struggles that go into providing the food for your table.

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