Monday, August 27, 2012

Calving heavy and waiting on Isaac

Early last week our milking herd "bottomed out" at 140 cows. That number marked not only our lowest herd count of the summer but also of the past nine years. There are several reasons for the larger-than-normal summertime dip, including our decisions to send several older cows to the beef market this past Spring and to "dry off" some of our lower producing pregnant cows a little earlier than normal. We are seeing that number start to climb now, however, as we have come to the beginning of a long calving season.

Since last Wednesday, we've had six different cows and heifers calve and join the milking herd. Another 23 are due within the next two weeks, with another 20 due the second half of September. The fun doesn't stop there, though, as we expect near-steady calving activity through the early part of December. Yes, we'll still be drying off some cows and culling a few others along the way, but our climb back up to 200ish cows in milk has officially begun.

While we're keeping a close eye on the maternity pasture, we're also paying close attention to weather forecasts associated with soon-to-be Hurricane Isaac. Based on the current projections, it looks like the storm will be far enough west of us not to worry about any damage, but the rain associated with is a real issue. Our silage corn is ready to chop, and with a little luck we could be in the field harvesting sometime tomorrow...COULD be in the field. If mid-week looks to be a washout, there's really no point in trying to chop for a day with the expectation that we wouldn't be able to harvest again until next week. I have yet to see any rain forecasts agree on when we should expect it and how much we should expect to get, so our planning is currently stuck in neutral. Hopefully we'll have a clearer picture by tomorrow morning.

In closing, I'd like to ask that you continue to keep all of our country's farmers and ranchers in your prayers. Unfavorable weather, economics, politics, etc. have made it a difficult year for many, many farm families across America, and your support is needed and appreciated now as much as ever.

God bless, and have a "dairy" good day!

No comments: