Objective-Drive Cattle Farmer Joan Ruskamp

Mom nature could be merciless. Joan displays on the additional measures that may stop the grief and hardship of dropping cattle.

Our cattle have an unimaginable function: To nourish us and numerous others as meals. My job is to look after them on our feedlot alongside my husband and enterprise accomplice, Steve.

Collectively we now have a particular, purpose-driven mindset on our farm: We’re stewards of our animals. Each day it’s our job to make them as snug as they are often. But mom nature could be very merciless. No matter climate occasion is thrown our method, we wish to be on the opposite facet of it realizing that we did all the pieces we might. We ask ourselves these questions:

  • May we now have completed something in a different way with the data we had?
  • What’s going to we do in a different way subsequent time?

Farmers always have a look at the climate forecast for a wide range of causes. In the summertime, we particularly monitor present and future temperatures, humidity, wind velocity and wind route. Our climate forecast in July was giving us warnings ten days upfront about extreme warmth for our space. 

When we now have warnings like that, we step in with additional measures to make sure the consolation and security of our cattle. To ensure that these additional measures to be efficient, we now have to start with a stable understanding of cattle and their primary wants and behaviors:

They Don’t Sweat Successfully

That is why cattle can tolerate chilly climate a lot better than they will deal with the warmth. Their handiest pure option to cool off when it’s sizzling is for them to breathe. This will get additional fascinating whenever you do not forget that they’re herd animals.

Herd Animals Group Collectively

When cattle are confused, they bunch collectively. Warmth causes stress for them, and due to this fact their pure response throughout extreme warmth is to remain very shut to one another. This will increase their physique temperatures and lowers their means to respirate totally. They may finally endure from multi-systemic organ failure this fashion, which can result in loss of life if there is no such thing as a intervention. 

They Have Excellent Temperatures

When the climate is between 41 – 77 levels Fahrenheit and so they have entry to high quality feed and contemporary water, cattle are snug. When cattle are snug, they eat and develop and construct muscle. We are able to observe their indicators of consolation simply. They give the impression of being attentive. They may lay down. They chew. They act playful. When the climate shifts out of this vary, we watch their habits rigorously and begin to take motion. 

We’re extraordinarily lucky to look again at these latest summer time days and see that the issues we did protected our cattle. We didn’t lose a single animal. Nevertheless it definitely didn’t come simply. Our additional measures, which I’ve listed beneath, made an enormous distinction.


We now have bought cell shades that we will transfer round with out requiring numerous labor. The cattle will transfer into these shaded areas and get aid from the solar. We maintain these shades up from April by means of October to make sure that we’re prepared for extremes.


We now have used a wide range of water options through the years. Steve has a fantastic engineering thoughts and put that to work on enhancing our method. Now we use galvanized pipe “misters” that keep up year-round. He locations these misters near their feed space in a straight line over a cement platform. The precise placement protects them from bunching collectively round water tanks and prevents mud from forming. Enjoyable truth: I can inform which animals actually just like the misters as a result of they simply stand there and let it spray them or play in it. That’s once I know they’re feeling actually good.

Corn Stalks

This can be a new observe for us. Corn stalks are just like grass as a result of they’re extra reflective of warmth in comparison with dust, which absorbs and holds warmth. These stalks can really cut back floor temperatures by as much as 25 levels. We discovered a option to effectively blow bales of corn stalks down as bedding for them utilizing a tractor. When cattle lay down on the corn stalks, it lowers their physique temperature. 

Staying Put

This July our plans modified when a warmth occasion hit. Steve and I have been packed and able to go to our son and his household in Washington D.C. Despite the fact that we had already taken motion with shades, misters and new bedding, Steve ended up staying behind as a result of the warmth had gotten so dangerous. Each of us departing at the moment would have put numerous stress, each mentally and bodily, on our workers. We all know that it takes only one wind shift to push the temperature and humidity as much as a catastrophic stage. It’s our farm and our cattle. And so, he stayed.


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