PAULLINA – “I’m doing exactly what I have always wanted to do,” said 56-year-old Greg Burmakow, an O’Brien County farmer. “That is to farm.”
Beginning young, with land he rented and then purchased from his grandfather, Burmakow has worked steadily at farming. In fact, he’s focused on it. He has served on elevator boards and other for other ag interests, to promote and learn about agriculture from various points of view.
Springtime on his farm means baby calves just as it did for his grandfather before him. Normally he doesn’t schedule his cows to calve until planting is done, but this year he purchased seven young, bred replacement cows. These cows bring his total herd to 37. He calls them more of a hobby now, since in former years his herd numbered around 60 head.
Cows fit well with his farming practices. A portion of the land he owns is pasture along Mill Creek. Not suitable for growing crops, the permanent pastures are ideal for newborn calves. Lying adjacent to his calving pens near the farm yard, Burmakow permits his cows and calves access to the pasture, rotating them through a series of paddocks throughout the summer, to prevent overgrazing.
For winter feeding, he cuts silage, but also mows ditches and waterways on other farmland for forage.
Burmakow chooses to feed out his calves, selling them at market weight. The manure from the yards is applied on his farmland completing nature’s cycle.
The crossbred cows he has have been bred to an Angus bull. After calving the cow and calf spend a day in the barn before they are turned out onto pasture. The warmer, drier spring weather this year is making for superb calving conditions, Burmakow said.
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