Thursday, June 26, 2008

Milk Mustache Winner

Congratulations to Conrad from Trussville, Alabama, for winning our farm website's Milk Mustache Contest! Here's the picture featured on the front page of

A great day for trouble

We had quite a few foul-ups today. It all started dark and early a little after 3:00am when our milk pump quit working. Dad ultimately figured out that the capacitor went bad, and we had a spare that fixed the problem. Over the course of the next several hours, we had...
  • a blockage in the milking barn's vacuum system that had to be cleared
  • a tire on the verge of blowout that had to be replaced on our sprayrig
  • a hydraulic hose on our front-end loader blew a fitting and had to be replaced
  • the tractor powering our feed wagon didn't grind the feed very good
  • the air conditioner in the tractor I was using stopped working
...and, of course, still no rain.

Oh well, just one of those days.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Gone Again

I'll be headed north after we finish hauling some hay around this morning. I'll be spending tonight in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and will drive up to Greenville, OH on Friday for a friend's wedding. Early Sunday morning we'll turn it east and drive to Asheville, NC, for a Farmers Federation meeting. I'll probably log around 1600 mile round trip and will hopefully be home late Wednesday.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Round One of planting complete

We finished all of our work down in the creek bottom yesterday afternoon. We've now got 50 acres of forage sorghum planted, with all of it's fertilizer applied as well as the pre-emerge herbicides. Hopefully we can get some rain pretty quick so the sorghum will pop on out and get a good start before the herbicide wears off.

I'm not sure what I'll get into today. I'll probably burn down a couple of fields where we're planning on drilling in BMR sorghum-sudangrass.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Busy, Busy

Things are pretty much wide open right now. We finished baling our ryegrass hay (dry) on Saturday, so we've been able to start the week concentrating on getting the bottomland planted in forage sorghum. We had fertilizer spread last night, and we'll have a disk, do-all, and the planters running down there today and tomorrow. I'll start in tomorrow morning spraying our pre-emerge herbicides and should be able to cover all the ground in a day. Once I get that done, I'll probably spend much of Thursday and Friday killing weeds in our pastures.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

It's hot in NW Alabama

We returned from Panama City Beach about 4:00 yesterday afternoon, and I believe it's hotter in Lamar County than it was on the coast. It doesn't help that our home's air conditioning apparently broke down while we were away.

Our cows' production has continued to declined since we had to change their feed formulation about three weeks ago. Even though our TMR has been formulated by a professional, something isn't jiving. It may be the feed itself, it may be the amount the cows are eating/not eating, it may be the heat, or it may be a combination of reasons. Anyway, their health is good but we've got to figure out a way to get their production back up.

Speaking of things to fix, the new Jay-Lor mixer wagon we bought a few weeks ago still isn't doing what we think it should. It's taking too long to grind up the baleage and is throwing too much of it out of the mixing tub. The dealership has sent someone to look at it and they are supposed to come back end of the week to make some adjustments on it. We'll see if it makes a difference.

In the "what else can go wrong" category, both of our New Idea 5406 hay mowers are out of commission with broken gears in the cutterbar. Hopefully we can buy replacement parts for just what's broken without having to buy an expensive kit/combo. Our other alternatives would be trying to find replacement parts at a salvage yard or buying a new mower and robbing parts off of one of the old ones to fix the other.

Luckily, with an assist from our Gehl cutter/conditioner, they were able to get all of our ryegrass cut down. We'll put our hay baler on this afternoon and start what will probably be about a three day process to get it all rolled up. We'll be putting all of this hay up dry, as opposed to the baleage we made off of the first cutting.

So, between the normal milking and feeding schedule today and tomorrow, we'll have to bale hay, haul some baleage to the "home base" to grind in our feed wagon, field apply some organic nutrients, and hopefully finish disking our cropland in the Yellow Creek bottom. If we can get all of this accomplished, hopefully next week we will be able to start either drilling in our BMR sorghum-sudangrass (sudex) in our upland fields or start the process of planting our forage sorghum in the bottomland.

It looks like it's shaping up to be a long, hot, hard summer.