Well it appears we are approaching another week of temperatures of less than 10 degrees. Yes, things just seem to be a little more challenging around the dairy when we drop below 15 degrees.
A common misconception is that these cold spurts are difficult on the animals, but actually cows over 6 months old handle below zero temperatures just fine. Baby calves need special attention and more energy in their milk, but can handle these temperatures also. Udder Tech Inc makes some really warm calf blankets that are designed to specially fit baby calves. With these blankets, plenty of straw, and some fortified milk and these calves really do well. Actually, most of the difficulties on the farm are about equipment operation, and employee comfort. The manure freezes, water troughs freeze, and so do the employee's.
Soon the next week of bitter cold will be behind us. We will quickly look to better milk prices, and a positive outlook to milking cows in the Midwest once again. While high feed prices will challenge this hope, we must cling to hope.
There have been many tragic endings in the Dairy Industry over the last 2 years, and probably some more to come. We can only hope that the next year can rescue some in the Dairy Industry, and that we all received an education on the fragility of any business.
Sad story about the dairy economy. The Dairy industry is faced with the toughest time its seen in over 30 years. We are thankful to have made it through, but feel sorry for those that have lost. Check the link to this story... Gone in a flash: Family's prized dairy farm hits auction block
By the end of the day today Bridgewater Dairy will have no manure in lagoons, well that is except for what we are currently producing. Its been a wonderful fall, and the goal is now to just keep ourselves empty until the ground freezes. That likely means will will haul manure about 1 day a week.
Fall Cleanup has begun and preparations for winter are well under way.
Fall Harvest, as most people in this area understand, it was a very dry summer for the crops. Corn Silage yields were well below average, and we wound up chopping almost all of our corn acres into silage in order to get enough silage for the next 12 months. The last 150 acres were made into High Moisture Corn, but that still means we have a lot of corn and other products to purchase to get us through the year. The one advantage with a dry year is we've been able to catch up on all our field work, clean-up some fence rows, and even repair a few waterways.
Fall Manure, our manure pits are almost completely empty. Kudos goes out to Tom and Jason Fry, with a good mixer pump they have been able to stir up the manure in our pivot lagoon and reduce the level of this lagoon to the lowest we've seen in a couple of years. Since this is just parlor washup water, and only emptied through our pivots over the years some solids build-up in the bottom of the pit. Five or so years ago we had a company come dredge this lagoon, but this year it looks like we will regain almost 1 million gallons of storage very inexpensively. By the end of this week, we should have zero manure on the facility. Hopefully, we can just keep the pits empty til the snow falls and prepare us for a great spring.
Milk, The Bridgewater Dairy team has been working wonders milking cows and preparing to fill up Oakshade. Since the milk market isn't exactly where we want to be running another dairy yet, we are just working on efficiency at Bridgewater. We are milking almost 3100 cows 3 times a day, and are still able to keep our Somatic Cell Count level around 160,000. The dairy is operating the best it has since we started operations. We our milk quality is exceptional overall, and with all the extra work getting ready for the new dairy, and summer heat, this is something to be proud of.
All in all a great fall.
Yes, if you heard the rumor's its true. We purchased the former Chesterfield Dairy out of foreclosure 2 weeks ago and have been in a frenzy of manure hauling, and corn silage chopping. The new facility will be called Oakshade Dairy and we will strive to run it with the same care and attention to detail we have here at Bridgewater.
We expect to finish harvesting almost 12,000 tons of corn silage harvest today, and will be hauling manure for the next couple of weeks. The facility was left with over 20 million gallons of manure, and we have a policy of starting the winter with all our manure pits as empty as possible.
Hopefully, we can leave a good impression on the communities of Chesterfield, Lyons, Morenci, and Wauseon.
The Williams County Farm Bureau annual meeting is coming up August 31. If you are interested in attending, you may either go to the contact page or drop by our main office for tickets. Hope to see you there.
Its a great time to hang out with fellow farmers and get an update on everything thats going on in our great state.
Not a member. Check it our at http://ofbf.org. What can Farm Bureau do for you?
Funny, how we can go from too much rain, to desperately needing rain. Our crops are still holding their own, but definitely showing signs of lack of water. The one advantage although minor is that in a week we will have basically no manure left to haul except for the manure the cows produce, and that is always a good feeling.
We joke that we could get an inch of rain and the ground would still be dry.
I should add we had a successful wheat harvest, pretty decent yields and no real issues with vomitoxin. The only dissapointment was that we had to work through 4th of July weekend, but I guess that is farming.
This article originally written on Precision Nutrition's website and titled "Cattle Feedlot: Behind the Scenes: , and forwarded to us by The Dairy Network is an excellent article about animal care, organic food, and all the issues that seem to be facing farmers and americans today. I encourage you to read both The Dairy Network article and also the article on Precision Nutrition's website. The writer as you will read is a vegan, with certifications in nutrition, strength, excercise and more.
Vegan Visits a Feedyard from The Dairy Network discusses how we as farmers struggle to get our message across about animal care, and the importance of raising livestock.
Cattle Feedlot: Behind the Scenes. by Precision Nutrition and Ryan Andrews is an independent view of Livestock farming.
Have you ever discussed or made judgements about someone, something or some practice you've never experienced first hand? Let Ryan Andrew's article challenge you. If you disagree with Ryan Andrew's or for that matter anything in life, please base it on experience rather than conjecture.
For many the discussion of Big Ag vs Small Ag, is a difficult one. The question often is based on Big Ag's impact on the environment. But what is the enviroment, often it includes topics such as our natural resources, the hungry of the world and many other topics. This week Stanford university released a peer reviewed study on "Greenhouse gas mitigation by agricultural intensification." This study is published in the "Proceedings on the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America." For many this science based approach is the highest standard of research, and yet heavy to read. Drover's magazine did an editorial review of the study "Stanford finds big benefits from Big Ag", which we encourage everyone to read if you are unwilling to read the actual study. But don't take the facts from the editorial, it is a cute and well written article, and the study is based on sound science and research.
This study might just mark the beginning of a true scientific discussion on Agriculture.
While not everyone may agree with how food is produced in America, this video has some interesting facts that speak to how farmers feed us.
This Blog will be Updated by a member of the management team.