Feb. 19, 2007

Raising cattle for FFA

Another DC teen works for his Minnesota State FFA Degree

By Kristen Miller
Staff Writer

Dassel-Cokato senior Michael Juncewski is now up to 22 head of cattle as he works towards his proficiency degree in beef production.

For his 12th birthday, Juncewski got his first cow. Now, he is up to 22 head of cattle.

Last June, Juncewski got a $5,000 loan from the Farm Service Agency. With that, he was able to purchase a round baler, buy cattle feed, and purchase four more Dutch Belt steers.

Currently, Juncewski raises all of his own alfalfa hay to feed the cattle.

Juncewski’s goal is to build his herd up to 100 head of cattle and have them registered. Some cattle sell for as much as $1,800, according to Juncewski.

Juncewski is responsible for feeding and taking care of the cattle, and what he finds most challenging is determining when the right time is to wean the calves, he said.

This is important because the calves need to gain the maximum amount of weight. If they are weaned too soon, he will have to give feed longer which may cause them to be under market weight for selling, according to Juncewski.

Calves are usually weaned at 500 pounds, which is approximately three months of age.

Juncewski is preparing for the proficiency degree by keeping records on money spent and how much the cattle are being fed.

Until he graduates, he will continue working for a dairy farm to pay back his loan. Then, he hopes to go to Ridgewater College for agricultural business, but intends to drive truck after college.

Last year, Juncewski placed third at the regional level in the beef production proficiency area.

This year, he hopes to place higher at regions and fall into the gold rating at state.

Through his Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE), Juncewski has qualified to receive his Minnesota State FFA degree in April – the highest award given out by the Minnesota State Association.

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