Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Corn silage harvest is underway

We started harvesting our "early" corn for silage yesterday, chopping about 8 of the roughly 75 acres we intend on harvesting over the next few days. July has been very hot and dry, and as a result our corn started drying up faster than what we had hoped for. The yield and quality look to be adequate after one day of cutting, but I can't help but wonder "what might have been" if the weather had been more favorable over the last few weeks.

And though it may be too late to help our early corn, the good soaking rain that finally fell last night will really help out our "late" corn in Yellow Creek Bottom. It hasn't tasseled yet, so it still has the potential to grow a little more. Our pastures and hay fields will certainly benefit from the moisture as well, and the latter should be ready to harvest for the second time as soon as we finish chopping silage.

Our cows have backed off on their milk production but are still performing better than what they typically do this time of year. Our milking herd is down to 196 cows, and I don't expect that we'll make it back to 200 for at least a month. We'll be weighing and sampling our cows' milk tomorrow morning.

Finally, I had the pleasure of having an old high school classmate stop by with his family for a quick visit yesterday (I strongly encourage you to check out Zac's blog). His daughter really seemed to enjoy the cows and calves, but the best part for me was that I got to do a little educating when he and his wife asked questions about organic milk, hormones, and antibiotics. It just goes to show that there's always an opportunity to share your story and help others understand what you do.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Cows, crops, and links for 7/8/10

Summertime in the Deep South can be mighty tough on farmers and dairy cows alike due to the heat and humidity, but the first few days of this month weren't quite so bad. The air was drier and the nights were a little cooler, and our cows responded with their highest average daily milk production since mid-May. Now that the heat index is starting to creep back up, I'm sure our production will come down a little bit. Even so, the combination of keeping the cows cool (they have access to fans and sprinklers most days from 9am-6pm) and providing quality feed will help them make it through the summer without too much heat stress.

Speaking of quality feed, our forages are looking pretty good. They could use some rain, of course, but we've gotten enough timely showers over the last few weeks to keep anything from "hurting" for water. Our bermudagrass hay fields have all been fertilized and are growing nicely. Our early corn is pollinating and will probably be ready to chop for silage by the end of the month. Our bottom land corn is knee-to-thigh high and looks really good. And the sorghum-sudangrass (sudex) that I planted last week looks to be nice and thick. I've got a few photos below for your viewing pleasure.

And finally, here are few links for you:
Have a "dairy" good day, folks!