Fourth generation farmer likes the challenge
It has often been said that farming is a gamble. You put something in and hope to get more back, but you’re never sure how it will turn out.
For 41-year-old Scott David of rural Tampa, that’s what makes life interesting.
“Farming can be challenging,” he admitted. “You have to be up for it. It keeps you going.”
He especially enjoys raising calves from his large cowherd of mostly Black Angus cattle.
From the time he was a boy, David knew he wanted to be a cattleman.
“My dad bought a couple of bucket calves for me to raise,” he said. “I liked it and stayed with it.”
His father, Fred David, lives in Hillsboro, and the two men partner in keeping the farm going. Fred David comes out every day to the farm three miles south of Tampa to assist in doing chores.
They calved a large group of heifers (first-time calvers) in February. David said he kept a close eye on them, getting up at night to check on them. A large Morton building served as a calving shed when the weather was bad. One time, 20 or more heifers were penned inside. Except for a set of twins, no calves were lost.
The cowherd started calving on March 10 and are about three-quarters done. A couple of calves were lost in the last snowstorm. A record number of 20 calves were born in one 24-hour period.
After every calf is born, it is tagged to identify the mother.
Scott David’s wife, Sherry, and their three daughters — Meghan, 13; Emma, 11; and Sarah, 7 — help whenever they can. They were especially helpful when the snowstorms came. While David was pushing snow and feeding cows two miles away, they kept an eye on the heifers. They also helped spread bedding for the cattle and bottle-fed orphaned calves.
The Davids were fortunate they did not run out of hay this winter considering the drought of the past growing season. Some of the cows grazed on sedan grass and were supplemented with wheat straw fortified with anhydrous.
When the grazing season begins, some of the cattle will be placed on leased native grass. Some will be placed on brome grass. The Davids uses rotational grazing to maintain more cattle on fewer acres.
They use artificial insemination in their cowherd.
“You can see improvements in the genetics of the cattle when you use AI,” Scott David said.
He found that producing good cattle is learned in the “school of hard knocks.”
“You learn what makes a good cow,” he said.
The Davids also produce wheat, corn, milo, and soybeans. They grow silage corn for their feeder calves.
Scott David is thankful his father gave him the opportunity to farm. He is the fourth generation on a farm that was established in 1904.
“I learned to take pride in being a steward of the land,” he said.