June 2, 2022 – The Washington County Fair is about two months away and local 4-H and FFA kids are working on their projects. Ella Walecki is a 15-year-old sophomore at Random Lake High School. This will be her first year showing dairy steers at the Washington County Fair. It is also her first year in Washington County 4-H.
Walecki has been contributing regular articles as a member of the Boltonville Firecrackers 4-H Club.
How I track progress on my fair steer!
I have been weighing Bo every couple months since December, Bo is averaging 3.8 pounds of weight gain per day. Right now Bo is 1,300 pounds, a far cry from the 715 pounds when I first got him.
Weather and how it affects my steer:
As we head into the heart of summer, the warmer temperatures mean the steers do not want to eat much. In order to keep their rate of gain on the upswing, I keep a fan on them during summertime to keep them a little cooler. I also let my steers jam out to some music every day to get them used to the loud noise that will occur at the fair. So far, Bo leans heavy into country music, which is fine by me.
Click HERE to read about when Ella first got Bo
With school out for the summer, I have spent a lot of time with my steers, especially the past week. Every day I’ve been going in the pen, haltering Bo and then tying him up. When I tie him up, I brush him and pet him so he can get used to me. I do that for at least a half hour. Then I unhook him and walk him around the pen for a good 15 minutes or more; this helps him get used to walking with the halter on and where to go. Lately, Bo has been a little stubborn when walking with the halter in the pen. When I’m done with everything, I unhook the chain from the halter and stay by him for a while and pet him and let him lick me. Bo has become a lot more friendly when I show him extra attention; he responds better when I spend more time instead of just going through the motions and then I just leave.
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How has the changing economy affected my feeding program?
The market has changed a lot with things being unavailable and more expensive. The economy has affected the agricultural world in many ways. We have made a significant change in the feed ration. The ration now includes distillers grains and a lesser percentage of corn. Although we switched the ration we have had no decline in weight gain. Distillers grains are a major by-product from the production of ethanol. Although distiller grains are lower in cost they are still a great energy and protein source for finishing cattle.
Click HERE to read about Boltonville Firecracker 4-Her Edison Jaycox and his sheep project for the 2022 Washington County Fair
SUBMIT YOUR 4-H PROJECT STORY: If you are a member of 4-H or FFA in Washington County please submit your summer project story as we work our way to the 2022 Washington County Fair. Send stories to [email protected]