The Springside 4-H Beef Club members have had a very busy year thus far participating in fun events such as 4-H Curling and Public Speaking events. Not only are they having fun, they are finding ways of learning how to improve their knowledge and skill of feeding their own project animals. Each year, our club members must pick a calf, feed and develop that calf until it is at a finished weight in time for the 4-H Regional Show and Sale in July at the Yorkton Exhibition Grounds. It is not as simple as putting a calf in a pen and placing a hay bale in front of him to eat. There are many things to consider, such as the breed of the calf, age, weather conditions and type and quality of the feed rations used. Some of our members use a ration of oats and hay, others use barley and hay, some use pellets and hay. This is where the math we learn at school helps as we need to figure out the ratio of grain vs hay we feed our calves every day. This ration changes continuously as the calf grow in an effort to gain the best average daily gain or pounds per day.
In an effort to improve our knowledge and to learn how others feed their calves, our club was invited to attend the Buckle Feed Lot on Buckle Road just south of Yorkton. Our club arrived on mass at 11:00 a.m sharp at the feed lot on Saturday, March 15, 2014 just in time for the morning feeding of a large pen of calves. We watched as the Feed Lot staff weighed, measured and poured the silage, grain and molasses into a feed mill. They were going to feed a pen of 400-500 weight calves and took care to ensure the proper amounts of each part of the feed mixture were put into the mill to provide the optimum growth in their calves. We then were given a tour of their handling facility and learned of how they handle the new animals brought into the feedlot and how they watch for and treat any animal that may be showing signs of sickness or distress.
Once the tour was complete the Sam Buckle Family opened up their shop and invited us in for a hamburger/hotdog lunch that was donated by the Yorkton Co-op Association. Here we had a chance to talk more to the Buckle Family and their staff about their feed lot operation and warm up after a brisk morning outside.
It was a really great day. Our club would like to thank the Sam Buckle Family and the Feed Lot Staff for sharing their knowledge with us. We would also like to thank the Yorkton Co-op Association for supplying the lunch. It was delicious.