Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Sorting out breeding-aged heifers

We spent most of this morning sorting through a large group of 59 heifers that had been running together in the big pasture across the road from our dairy barn. We pulled the oldest 25 (ages 15-17 months) and hauled them to another pasture along with a newly purchased Angus bull. We had originally planned on using sexed semen on this bunch of heifers, but it's looking less likely that we'll need as many replacements three years from now. Depending on how our milking herd's pregnancy-check goes later this month, we may AI the next group of heifers that will be ready to breed in February.

It was a nice, clear morning to sort heifers.
I'm expecting a fairly standard afternoon ahead: milk the cows (181 of 'em), feed the cows & calves, and put a few bales of hay out in pastures. Here's hoping for a drama-fee ending to Hump Day.


FLASHBACK: 9 years ago...

January 9, 2010 was a big day for me as I was elected chairman of the American Farm Bureau Federation's Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee at AFBF's Annual Meeting in Seattle. I wuld learn a lot in the coming year about agricultural and organizational policy, leadership, service, and managing people (and their egos). It gave me opportunities to visit parts of the country I had never seen before and allowed me to meet many interesting people. It also helped prepare me to take on more leadership responsibilities within my county and perhaps one day my state.


Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Farm Update: January 8, 2019

We are enjoying a sunny, dry, and unseasonably mild start to our week here on the farm, a welcome change from the seemingly constant rain that had fallen over the previous several days. Our cows' milk production has been lagging behind where we think it ought to be, but there are signs that maybe they are finally turning the corner. We are currently milking 180 cows after sending 25 to the sale barn over the past month. We have roughly another 55 set to freshen within the next two months, so we'll cull a few more of our lower-producers and will likely give some pregnant cows an extended dry period so as not to exceed our management capacity.

Outside the milking barn, yesterday's activities focused mostly on calf management. We moved 20 weaned calves (Holsteins and Angus-crosses) to a new pasture to make room for 16 more that we weaned and vaccinated that morning. This morning we'll move 20 calves (2-4 weeks old) from single to group pens and repair some fencing around another pasture to prepare it for a group of breeding-aged heifers.

Y'all enjoy this nice weather while it lasts...we're sure gonna try to!

Our cows aren't filling up the bulk tank quite yet, but production is starting to climb.