Saturday, October 8, 2011

Harvest is finished, but there ain't no slowing down!

We can finally close the book on this year's silage harvest! What started six and a half weeks ago ended Thursday with 165 acres of corn, forage sorghum, and sudex chopped, packed, and sealed into our three silage pits.  I'm estimating that we harvested roughly 1400 tons of silage (it's hard to be sure w/o truck scales), which should be enough to feed our milking herd through mid-to-late spring. 

dumping a load of chopped sudex
The corn in our first pit has now been sealed long enough to fully ensile, and I expect we'll begin feeding it late next week. We'll be getting a new grain mix formula from the feed mill based on the silage's forage analysis, and will add other home-grown forage in with it to make a total-mixed ration (TMR). We have about two weeks worth of spring oat baleage we'll use up first before switching to sudex baleage we harvested a few weeks ago.  We're also going to look into using cotton hulls as a fiber source in the ration so as to preserve our bermudagrass hay for heifers and dry cows.

As the feed quality improves over the next few weeks, so to should our milk production. The cooler evenings and opportunities for supplemental morning grazing will also help in that regard. We are currently up to 182 cows in milk and are on pace to climb back over the 200 mark sometime before the end of the year. In other news, we AI'ed (artificially inseminated) 9 cows this week, the first we had bred since early summer.

This coming week is going to be crazy busy. In addition to the everyday dairy chores, we're going to be cleaning and putting away our harvesting equipment, applying slurry with our honeywagon, and possibly harvesting some rank pasture grass as "get-by-in-case-of-a-long-winter" hay.  On top of that, some folks from our dairy checkoff will be on the farm Tuesday morning to get video footage for part of the "Dedicated to Dairy" campaign, I have a meeting at the Alabama Farmers Federation's Montgomery office on Wednesday, and then I'll be on Mississippi State's campus on Maroon Friday to give a presentation to the Ag Econ's faculty and grad students (Hail State!).

I hope y'all have a "dairy" good week!

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