We’ve finished our fall cattle work, and weaning, preg-checking, and corn harvest are behind us. Meanwhile, the cowherd  is enjoying grazing on corn stalks, while we busily prepare the ranch for winter weather. This includes hauling hay to the home site and doing some last-minute fencing projects, so the cattle  can be tucked in nice and cozy during the upcoming South Dakota cold and snowy winter.
From corn stalks, to bean stubble, to cover crops, there are many cheap feed options to consider this time of year to help get the cattle  in good shape before winter hits. Allowing our cattle to graze these plentiful residual crops in the fall allows us to save expensive harvested hay for when the snow flies.
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This week, we’ve been giving away pairs of Heat Holders® socks to readers who have answered a question of the day. We are selecting winners each day via a drawing among the participants who send in comments. Thus far this week, we’ve discussed cull cows  and buying replacement heifers or bred cows. Today, I want to switch gears and have a conversation about late fall and early winter forages.
But first, let’s announce yesterday’s winners, who answered the question, “What do you look for at a cattle sale?”  The two randomly selected commenters are Justin Whitely and South Wind. Congratulations and thanks for participating!
Answering the question, Justin Whitley writes, “First of all, I don't like buying open cows and heifers. At dispersal sales, you have no way of knowing why they aren't pregnant, and it's a gamble if they'll get pregnant for you. I like to buy guaranteed pregnant or at least a cow  with a calf by her side. She also has to fit within my current set calving season. I don't want to have to move things around just for one cow.”
South Wind adds, “Usually we buy bred heifers when we go to a sale. I look at pedigree and EPDs. I try to buy the sisters or first cousins of the high-selling animals at 60% of the high price. I've done it both ways and find the production  of the high-priced female has never been what I hoped while the one I bought to fill out the load is still there 10 years later.”
Today, readers have another chance to win a pair of Heat Holders® socks, whose makers boast are “the warmest thermal socks in the world.” Three readers will be selected to win the day’s contest. Simply answer the question, “Which forages do you utilize in late fall and early winter, and why? To be eligible to win, simply leave your thoughts in the comments section below. Good luck!
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