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It's been a busy spring at Cornell Farms. We are caught up with everything but the drought sure is a challenge.  Rain has been spotty throughout the district and we have had to buy more hay this spring just to make it through until the cows were on grass. Now we need rain for that grass to grow - what a cycle!

We had a great article about the Cornell Family in the Northern Ontario Business News.  It's a great publication about Northern Ontario and all on line. Would recommend all of you getting a subscription.

For regular updates be sure to check up with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!


MOVING CATTLE - EVERYWHERE!
You can tell the season on a beef farm by cattle being moved  - the bulls to the east fields for winter feeding (top left); the pregnant cows being moved close to the barn just before calving (bottom left); the bulls being brought home to be sorted and put out to their perspective pastures to be with their "girls" (top right); and the cows and calves being moved to the sorting pens to be divided up and sent out to different breeding pastures (middle and bottom right).

It's an adventure with all hands on deck to help out.  This year, we moved the cows and calves to the sorting pens with Rebecca, Michelle and Molly in the rear, Gordon and Jeannine covering their escape to LaVallee Road, Pat turning them at the gate; and Leanne Spry and kids leading the way.
 
YEARLING BULLS - THE PHOTO and VIDEO SHOOT
Just after Easter, we got the yearling bulls ready for their photo op. This entails lots of clipping, combing, and blowing (a giant hair dryer to get the clipped hair off). It's like a mini-spa quite a production.  We had help from Aaron Bujold, the Spry boys and Annemarie who works for us. Pat is always the photographer and videographer. We did 20 bulls this year and only had a few adventures. Three of the last bulls in the group unhooked the fence so we had a bit of a round-up and only two tried to take out the photographer (she's fast and saw the writing on the wall so up the fence she went). Don't worry, they made a fast trip to the freezer.  No-one needs attitude like that on a farm.

Be sure to check them out on our website. They are all for sale and will make excellent breeding stock.

WINTER; CALVING and WATCHING THE BIRDS WITH GREAT GRANDPA GORDON

We had pretty good luck with calving this year with a fair number of twins. Winter is always nice with the frost hits the trees so wanted to show you that even the bulls are relaxed with the frosty weather. 

Couldn't resist Grandpa Gordon sharing his love of bird watching with Charlotte. They make quite the team.

 
CROPS ARE PLANTED - WITH A FEW VISITORS!
We planted triticale, oats, malt barley and soybeans this year.  Now all we need is rain!  After one elusive rain, we had some visitors stop in on their way north. It was quite a sight.

This is the second year for the hops.  Our friends Scott and Colleen Fawcett came out and helped us get the yard in order and plant a few more to finish off the rows. Gordon rearranged the irrigation system so it works like a charm.  Rebecca helped Pat prune them and get them started on the ropes. She also helped get some more ropes set up for the new plants to climb.

 
BEEF PAKS and SIDES - TAKING ORDERS NOW
In 2020, Cornell Farms had a run on paks and sides and never seemed to get caught up. We're hoping to avoid this in 2021 so please order your beef paks and sides now so we don't run out like last fall. The addition of grain in our cattle feed, helps make our paks and sides tender and flavourful. And for those of you concerned about dietary fat, we do not over-fatten our cattle.

All our meat is butchered, cut and wrapped in provincially inspected facilities and dry aged for 14 days. We assist with delivery throughout Northwestern Ontario.

FARMERS' MARKETS AND OUR HIGH-PRICED HELP
The Thunder Bay Country Market has been operating regularly implementing safe COVID-19 protocols. Ella is now running our booth for the summer so be sure to introduce yourself to her.

The rest of the markets are starting up throughout the region so be sure to visit us there.  We now have an online store so you can place your orders ahead of time to prevent being disappointed. The chickens have arrived so expect them to be at the markets in early August.

Our meat house reorganization is complete and we always have lots of help.
 
THE SCIENCE OF FARMING - EMBRYOS and ARTIFICIAL INSEMINATION
Rebecca was home to implant some embryos. It is a great way to quickly increase excellent bloodlines. Some were from our own cattle and some were purchased in a sale in Northern Alberta when Rebecca had just started University. They are stored in liquid nitrogen and seem to last forever.

The key is to synchronize the cattle so they come in heat together. We use back stickers that turn pink if the animal is in heat (it you want to know the details of how they work send us an email - it's not something we want to explain in detail here). Every breeding is strictly recorded so there are no mistakes. In the left photograph you can see the bag that holds the embryo at body temperature just before it is inserted.

Artificial insemination is essentially the same only semen is inserted instead of an embryo.

Agriculture is often on the leading edge for developments in human health. We have used a type of coronavirus vaccine for years.  And here's an article that all young parents should read (page 34).  It's how agriculture - specifically the beef industry contributes to the health of pre-mature babies.  We're all connected to agriculture in some way! Try a subscription to the Manitoba Co-operator to learn more - it's not just for farmers. It has great recipes and human interest stories as well!

 
FAMILY FUN FOR EVERY SEASON
Lest you think that all we do at Cornell Farms is work, we do find time to play. Our sliding hill behind Gordon and Jeannine's house is perfect for beginners. Charlotte became a pro in one run with her Dad doing the steering.

The Easter egg hunt farming style was a lot of fun with Aunt Rebecca and Aunt Kelsey home for the long weekend. We even made it to the lake when Rebecca was home in May. It was a bit cool but was a great break for all of us.

The lower left picture of three generations of Cornell is one of our favourites. Garnet, Charlotte and Kim - all so serious about the business of farming.

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