In conjunction with Chanute FFA Instructor Caitlyn LaHaye, we brought these kids an informational program that even had prizes to test their knowledge. This group of kids was very knowledgeable of the beef project, and even reminded me a little of myself when I showed my first bucket calf in 2010. While most of the selection criteria are tailored to beef, most apply to all species.
The first thing to start every project is to set a goal for the year. Some goals could include: making a successful project, determining your end goal (State or County Fair), setting a budget, knowing who you are buying from, setting aside adequate time for your project, and don’t get discouraged. If you set even just two of these goals, you are on track to success. There are lots of factors other than the ones mentioned, so if you have your own set of goals, you are already on your way to success. The biggest takeaway from the day I wanted the kids to remember was to not get discouraged because these projects take time, and they are worth it.
The next thing we discussed was when to buy and how big to buy the calf. Typically, this time of year, producers are starting to wean spring-born calves and the show calf producers are beginning to halter break, lead, and wash calves. Most of the county fairs in the Southwind District are in July so the kids want to start looking for a calf from September-January that is weighing 550-600 pounds. Another thing to remember is a moderate framed calf that will finish at 1100-1250 pounds might be more feasible for a younger 4-Her to show. If you don’t find your calf before the end of the year, you just need to make sure they are in the 700-750 pound mark so you have about 200 days to get the 300-400 pounds on the calf it needs to make weight and show well.