I took a little break from farming a few days ago to spend a long weekend in St. Louis with other members of the AFBF YF&R Committee. We toured Monsanto's research facility, listened to very informative presentation on the GIPSA proposal and what effect the recent election would have on drafting the 2012 Farm Bill, and of course handled a fair amount of committee business. Several committee members also uploaded farm videos to YouTube, which you can view here. Hopefully there will be a few more added in the coming weeks.
Once I got home, it was back to business. I begin no-till drilling rye and ryegrass on Monday, and by lunchtime Wednesday I had planted 48.5 acres worth of grazing land. Before planting any more, we decided that I should go ahead and fertilize some of this acreage before the weekend. So, I spent yesterday pulling the honeywagon through the fields and plan on doing it again today. If all goes well, I will have covered about 30 acres by the time I shut down this afternoon.
I expect to plant at least 20 more acres within the next couple of weeks, maybe even as much as 40 if we buy some more seed. All in all, we have just shy of 130 acres planted right now. Most of what I had planted prior to this week has sprouted, and the stand looks to be pretty good. The cool nights and warm days have made for great weather to get the crop up and established.
I'm going to sound like a broken record on our cows, but it's pretty much the same story. The milking herd is still hovering around 170 head and production is slowly increasing. We have switched to a newer, less expensive dairy feed formulation, and I think the cows are actually doing better on it than they were on the previous feed. We're breeding several cows a week now, and our conception rate should be getting back to normal now that we're past the heat of summer. We'll also start breeding our next group of heifers in about 3-4 weeks.
Rain and a temperature change is in the forecast for the first part of next week, so I'm not sure how that will effect our farming agenda. I'll also be pretty busy with off-the-farm activities. I'm emceeing our county's Farm-City Banquet on Tuesday night before flying to DC for an America's Heartland advisory board meeting on Wednesday and Thursday.
I hope you all have a "dairy" good weekend!