This year Dad and I decided to graze the winter wheat that he planted, but pull the cattle off of the wheat and let it go to grain rather than grazing it out. Bad idea. In addition to getting poor yield out of the wheat, having put several different groups of cattle on the pasture sporadically, resulted in very uneven maturing on the wheat. Add into this the fact that we were getting rain including some storms that included hail, and Dad decided to try to get the wheat harvested. In many of the combine passes Dad would have grain that was dry and grain that was wet in the same pass.
After finishing the combining, we were disappointed to discover the average moisture on the grain was 17%. Despite trying several elevators, the grain was just wetter than they were willing to take. Dad and I decided to spread the grain out on one of the shop floors and try to dry it out that way. No success.
We also decided to feed some of it to a group of cattle that we have. The cattle loved the wheat and that was working well until we discovered a large quantity of wheat kernels in their manure. That is when we learned that cattle cannot digest whole wheat kernels. So much for that idea.
Dad finally decided to see if he could find a business that was willing to process the wheat into a cattle feed for us. Gorman Milling Company in Gorman, TX, turned out to be just what we needed. They created a custom feed mix for us using our wheat as the primary ingredient. The cost was very affordable and they were so fast at getting the feed processed that when my Dad delivered the second load of wheat (only a few hours after he had delivered the first) they already had the first load processed into the custom mix, bagged, and ready to go. Impressive!
Now, onto my title: “Job Security.” Without a truck dock, unloading a van trailer full of pallets can be time consuming and physically exhausting. Dad was using a pallet jack to move the pallets to the back of the trailer and then using a forklift to move the palleted feed into a shop. He was having to climb in and out of the trailer for each pallet. It was late in the day, and I started feeling a little sorry for Dad, so I offered to help with the pallet jack. That was not even funny. I am such a weak little wimp that I could not move the pallets with the pallet jack. Dad, very eager to keep my help, suggested I run the forklift. My qualifications for that job go as follow: Skilled and experienced? NO. Somewhat competent? NO. Alive? Yes. QUALIFIED. Regardless of how many times I ran the forklift into the trailer, or dragged a pallet, or took multiple tries to get the forklift lined up to pick up the pallet, or squashed something, as long as Dad did not have to climb out of the trailer for every pallet I had excellent job security. Even if I wanted to get fired. Thankfully, I only had to get the pallets of feed from the back of the trailer to somewhere on the unloading area. After the trailer was unloaded, Dad skillfully moved all of the pallets into the shop in nice neat rows. He even makes it look easy!
Ok, now the important part: the bovine taste test. As I do not possess the ability to interview each bovine and find out what their opinion is as to the taste, quality, nutrition, and general opinion of the feed, I must resort to overall reaction of the group. Upon pouring the bags into their feed bunks the bovines began to eat the feed without any hesitation. The bunks were quickly filled to push another bovine out of the way room only. Based upon their reaction, I have decided to classify this feed as bovine approved.