Thursday, August 11, 2011

Crops are growing and cows are calving

It's been a busy past couple of weeks on the farm, both in the fields and in the maternity pasture.

rain falling on a field of forage sorghum
Plentiful rainfall has all the crops colored a nice, healthy shade of green. Our silage corn is right on track to begin harvesting in about 10 days, the forage sorghum is getting thicker by the day, our bermudagrass is ready to cut for hay, and the late-planted sudex crop is off to an impressive start. That's not to say there haven't been a few tense moments, though. Last week we spotted fall army worms in all of our hay fields, but fortunately we were able to spray and kill them before they could do any significant damage. We've also been fortunate to escape any damage from a couple of "high winds" thunderstorms that have passed through (knock on wood...another is on its way).

Ideally, we would be harvesting half of our hay this week, the remainder next week, and begin silage harvest the following week. The rain has forced us to abandon any plans for harvesting this week, so we'll attempt to do all of our haying next week so as not to delay silage chopping.  We're expecting good quality and quantity from both crops, but we can't count tonnage before it's harvested.

As I mentioned, there has been lots of activity in the maternity pasture lately. We have had quite a few cows freshen 7-10 days earlier than their due dates (not uncommon in summertime), and our active milking herd size is now back up to 167 cows.  More importantly, milk production is climbing as we're drying off the stale cows and replacing them with the fresh one. Heat stress will continue to be an issue for several more weeks, but at least the evenings should be a little cooler by the time we start calving our heifers in mid-to-late September.


Anonymous said...

The photo of the mother cow with her calf is a total LIE! Tell people the truth that that calf is taken to a VEAL CRATE! So you can take the milk intended for it & sell it. How can you be part of that! FIND ANOTHER LINE OF WORK!!!!!!!

Will Gilmer said...

That picture is actually a couple of years old, and the baby calf has grown into one of the most promising young animals on our farm.

She was fed her mother's colostrum milk for three days after birth before switching to "calf formula" until 6 weeks old. She's never had a single medical problem, so I guess the way we raise our calves must not be too awful. And by the way, the cow in the picture is still around, too.

You might be on to something though about finding another line of work. Does talking out of your rear-end on the internet (anonymously at that!) pay pretty good these days?

Medders Family said...

Howdy, Will!
Thank you for your appropriate response to Anonymous, and for sharing details of your farming operation via the internet, so more people can become well-educated about the importance of agriculture in our society. Also, thank you for spending countless hours day in and day out for meager pay, just so families like mine can enjoy a delicious variety of healthy dairy products. Today alone, our family has consumed milk, cheese, ice cream, and yogurt.

trump said...

I love a post about farm life. Well Done. Richard

trump said...

Raining over my way in the Lancaster area since Sunday, and im sure most farmers are loving that since the dry spell we had before this. Richard from Amish Stories.