Saturday, March 23, 2019

Springtime brings more milk and more work

Springtime is upon us and life on the farm is about to get much busier than it already is. It's been a few weeks since I've given y'all an update, so I figured I'd try to catch you up to speed before I start tackling some of the projects on this Saturday's "to do" list.

Fewer cows, more milk
Good ol' Ms. Nosey
Our milking herd topped out at 213 a couple of weeks ago, but we've since culled fifteen and are now sitting at 198. And while we have three more in the maternity pen that should calve within the next two weeks, we also have a half-dozen that are nearly ready to be "dried off." So, if we do cross the 200 cow threshold again it won't be for long.

Removing those lower producing cows automatically raised our herd's average daily production on a per cow basis by a couple of pounds right off the bat. Per cow production has continued to climb over the last couple of weeks thanks in part to better weather, and now our total production is exceeding what it was before we sold those fifteen cows. We'll "weigh" milk on Monday or Tuesday morning, and by the end of next week we should have updated production profiles for all of our milkers. That information will help us make decisions about whether or not we have any more cows ready to cull and which pregnant cows might need to be dried off earlier than two months before their due date.

Getting ready for field work
The days are getting a little longer, warmer, and drier, and I'm itching to be in the field. We still have a little ways to go before we'll be ready to break any of our corn silage ground, but with good luck and favorable forecast we may be able to have some bulk fertilizer spread within the next 10-12 days. We've been able to spread enough manure on the fields adjacent to the dairy to get by without needing any commercial P & K, this year, but we'll still need a blend spread over about 2/3 of our "hill ground" acreage. I haven't even pulled soil samples in our bottom land yet, and I figure it will be at least mid-May before it is dry enough to plant. If all goes as planned, though, we'll be looking at planting around 170 acres of silage before all is said and done.

Speaking of fertilizer, I've had a couple of opportunities to run our "new" honeywagon. The original tank finally rusted out beyond the point of patching a few months ago, and we found a good truck-mounted tank we were able to adapt to fit on our wagon's chassis. It doesn't look like much, but it gets the job done. I'll put about 20-25 more loads out on corn ground next week (weather permitting), and then we'll spread the remaining slurry we have stored on hay fields and pasture over the next several months.

our "Frankenstein" honeywagon


Politics
Now for a bit of personal news. I was approached this past December about running for a leadership position in one of the farm organizations I belong to, and after thinking and praying on it for several weeks I've decided to give it a shot. The position I'm vying for covers a 17-county swath across central Alabama, from the Mississippi line to the Georgia line. That is a BIG area, and I have a lot of ground to cover (and cover again, and again) over the next several months as I get out and introduce myself to the folks who will be making the decision at our next annual meeting. I'm up against a 20-year incumbent and a third-time candidate who have already built up long-standing relationships and support, so I am very much running as a darkhorse candidate. But I believe I have the skills, temperament, and experience to make a meaningful contribution in that role, and who knows?...I might earn just enough support to pull off the upset. Even if not, I'd much rather try and fall than not try at all. This opportunity may not come back around for a long time, and the organization means too much to me to just sit by and do nothing when I think I can do more to help move it forward. If you'd like to offer support, please do so in the way of prayer. Not for the outcome, but for safety as I spend a lot of late nights behind the steering wheel and that I can strike the appropriate balance between campaigning and fulfilling my obligations to my church, family, and farm.

Thanks, y'all, and have a "dairy" good weekend!


1 comment:

AndriusMan said...

robotic process automation could save a lot of time and working force i suppose.