19 July 2009

Steers, No. 2 Line

Winter steersWinter in the Pohangina valley. To maintain stock in good condition through the cold months when pasture has stopped growing, farmers ration the silage and hay and break-feed the fodder crops. It's mid winter now and the paddocks are looking thin; these steers, however, have plenty to keep them going for at least several months more (the ground's so muddy because they've congregated around the silage feeder). It's educated guesswork — no one knows how long the cold weather will last. Guess right and the spring pasture will be ready just as you're feeding out the last of the conserved feed; guess wrong and either you'll waste conserved feed or be forced to sell stock at the wrong time of year. A sequence of wrong guesses and the stress mounts.

This was one of the last photos before the camera failed.
All content © 2009 Pete McGregor


the watercats said...

There lies the difference between a rich farmer and a poor one. The farmers over here winter a lot of their cattle indoors through the winter, the poor things are jammed in on slats and look incredibly bored! When you see the first release into an open field in spring, the delight is amazing!

butuki said...

I love the light limned on the hair of the steers and on the edges of the trees. Sort of adds to the sense of cold but making the light hard.

Zhoen said...

They're. Um, they're lookin' at us.

pohanginapete said...

Watercats, here in Aotearoa, sheep and cattle are outside all year round. Provided they have enough feed and adequate shelter from really bad weather, they seem happy enough.

Miguel, thanks. For me, it's that steam from the nostrils that's the strongest indicator of cold, but the backlighting certainly does suggest low winter sun.

Zhoen, that pensive curiosity's typical of steers. They'll come running over to check you out, then suddenly realise they're too close and slam on the anchors. One step towards them and they're running in the other direction :^)