Monday, December 27, 2010

We're still here and busy as ever

After a six week hiatus, I'm finally back on the blog to let you know what's been happening around here.

It's been busy, of course, but we really haven't worked on what I would call any "major" projects on the farm. We didn't finish drilling seed into all of the acreage that we planned to, but we will still be able to plant that ground (probably in February) and have it available for spring grazing. I've applied a couple of light doses of slurry to some of the ground we've planted, and it's looking pretty good. That has been the extent of our field work, but we've spent time working on maintenance and several other odd jobs around the farm.

This time of year, though, almost all of our time and focus is spent on our animals. We've been breeding a group of 14-15 month old heifers lately, and have only a handful left to go. Most of the heifers we bred last spring have now calved and it looks like they are going to make a pretty good group of milk cows. We're currently sitting at 199 cows in milk with roughly 30 more cows and heifers due to calve over the next few weeks.

All of our heifers and dry cows are getting bales of bermudagrass hay in their pastures along with the dairy pellets we feed them. Right now I think we'll have plenty of hay to get through the winter, but of course that could change is spring arrives later than normal. Our milking herd continues to eat a TMR consisting of corn silage, sudex and wheat/ryegrass baleage, and dairy feed. We have fed almost all of our "early" corn and should be fully into our pit of "late" corn by the end of the week. We haven't had it sampled yet, but we suspect its quality will be higher and in return should help the cows produce more milk.

Perhaps the biggest change on the farm is that our milkhand of 10.5 year decided to retire in mid-November, and I'm spending a lot more time in the milking barn because of it. We have since hired someone on a part-time basis to help us milk on the weekends and on T-W-Th mornings. Right now that labor arrangement is working great, but it remains to be seen how we'll handle things once spring rolls around and the fields and crops begin demanding some of our time.

The last several weeks have also been very busy for me off of the farm. In addition to the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, I've had quite a few meetings to prepare for an attend. That schedule isn't about to slow down either, as I'll be off the farm all or part of 20 days during a 46-day stretch from early January through mid-February.

Between working more hours on the farm and spending more time on the road, my blogging frequency may continue to be sub-par for a few more weeks. Just remember you can always keep up with what's going on with me and my family farm by following me on Twitter or becoming a "fan" of our farm on Facebook. And just in case I don't talk to you again before the end of the year, I want to thank all of you for your readership and support! I hope each and every one of you has a "dairy" prosperous New Year!