Farm Journal March

Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

I just realized that we've slipped into a new month! Well, yesterday we slipped into a new month. Some of you are in spring, some of us are still freezing our buns. This will be the beginning of the changes in weather, tasks, and attitude - nothing like a season change to stir up notions and that's especially true of spring.

Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

Weather here is finally decent. Even was able to clean the hen house today, not froze!
Raccoons got into one of our storage buildings. We set a trap there hoping to get the bogger. It will be transferred to a better place.
Fire in town on Saturday completely destroyed a cabinet shop. The buildings on either side were not damaged. Old creamery building on one side that now houses the fire department. (They didn't have far to go!) Other side was a beauty shop. Only little water & smoke damage. Lady who was the beautician said at 69 it is probably time to retire.


Bernie

Thumbnail by CountryGardens
Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

Well, coon in the trap this morning.
I hope that is the only one. Now to find where they are getting in.
23 this morning, but stiff south wind is making it cold.

Waddy, KY

Our decent weather is coming up. Supposed to be clear all this week and be in the 50-60's. Now if it will just dry out enough to plow....

Got rid of 18 steers Saturday. Fellow bought them straight off the farm. Unfortunately he didn't want anything over 700 pounds or anything under 500. A few of them were real porkers, heavier than we expected so we ended up having to keep 9 steers back. They'll go to the yard seperately I suppose.

Good job on the catch Bernie! I hope you gave it a good "permenant" home! LOL! I'd keep that trap set for a while though.

I've got several flats of cabbage and broccoli up and growing. Still haven't heard from the insurance company about replacing the greenhouse so I went out and bought one of those little walk in, zip up jobs. I figure it will probably hold around 20 flats and I can put a little electric heater in it for night. Guess I'll look forward to having a real greenhouse next year.

Janet

Poolville, TX

Good job catching the coon- one got into my chickens about 6 months ago. Not pretty...

So much to do today...ugh

Hempstead, TX(Zone 8a)

March has blown in with a fury - actually the stiff winds began in February. Red buds are budding, daffodils are coming up, and my bahia pasture has about three inches on it. The weather is supposed to be pretty friendly with the exception of the winds thru tomorrow.

Another little bull calf on the ground. He is about the size of my little lab Boogie. Shiney black and a beautiful little head. Two more to go and then that is that until next year. My little herd will probably never go beyond a dozen or so - I just wanted something small, and I wanted to learn about cattle. My grandfather was a dairyman but not to the size and extent that I read about here.

I don't have a green thumb so I have no flats of anything - I enjoy reading about y'alls gardens and produce. Would love to see some pics of past gardens if you guys have any to share.

Thank you Kathleen for the inspirational first entry of the Month of March.

Going to go and feed the stock. . . DH will grill pork chops and maybe a sweet potato for dinner.

southeast, NE

Good afternoon all - beautiful day out today.

I was late to work this a.m. DH went out to do the morning chores and came back in and said Kay was just starting to calve. He waited another hour and decided to go ahead and pull her calf. I went out and help hold the puller. She probably would have easily had the bull calf on her own but about the time we would have all left for work, she would have problems. So far out of 17 calves, we only had 4 heifers.

Better get back to work - you all take care!

none of ur business, OK(Zone 5b)

nice catch Bernie. I guess the racoon doesn't think so .LOL
2 degrees here this morning and warmed up to 28 ! sunny and no wind. That is a good day in OH . LOL
got our basment ready to start seeds.
I m still wondering how i m going to get the plastic on the GH. Its a little hoop house with cattle panels. IT does the job :) but holding down the plastic and trying to staple it at the same time is a job to say the least Yikes.
i usually go around our woods and cut poison ivy and then use a Round up on them to help control it, if there is such a thing. THen i bring my ax and chop grapevines by the truck load. Wish i could find a way to sell them things and make some cash.
I would think those grapevine tree's on people porches would be a good idea but can't find how to make them ?
take care
best wishes
sue

southeast, NE

Forgot to add in my earlier post that supposedly bottle calves are selling for $500 in central Nebraska!!!! Down this way, they were selling for $300. Isn't that crazeeee!
DH thinks people are buying to put on cows that lost calves.

Maybe we should head out to dairy country and bring back to Nebraska!


Baker City, OR(Zone 5b)

Something strange is going on with my neighbor's flock of sheep. Two ewes, almost full term pregnant, were found dead last week, no predator damage, no obvious sickness. Then another ewe went into labor, and when it was obvious that she wasn't able to deliver on her own, the neighbor tried to pull her lambs. They were HUGE, but dead, and the ewe was infected, so he called the vet and the vet couldn't get them out either. The ewe was euthanized, and blood and tissue samples will be tested to see what is happening and if it can be stopped. The only new animal added to the flock in the past year was a ram, all the ewes are homegrown from years and years back. Nobody else closer than a mile away has sheep.

Today the neighbor asked if I could check the flock this evening since a ewe had been pushing and straining earlier today, and then later when he had gone back to check on her , she was laying down, looking comfortable. Tonight he had to be at a meeting, I checked, and found nothing. The lambs aren't due for a few more days. This is definitely a bad start to lambing season.

Poolville, TX

Taynors- I watched a couple youtube videos to put my plastic over the hoops. This one was helpful-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6bWeYCV53A


Hopefully I will finish painting the new chicken coop today. My girls are so cramped in the tractors. I bought kitty litter boxes to use as nest boxes instead of building them. This should be much easier to clean and they will have a harder time removing the hay. Poopy eggs are yuck! :)

Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

NJ, Stan says if they don't mind Holsteins, you could probably make some bucks - bring a trailer along and we'll set you up with a dealer, and introduce you to a lovely border collie pup, just as a side benefit!

Mary, that's awful about the sheep. We had a die off the year we built the new barn - lost 11 cows, fully a quarter of the herd that year. The vet called it 'new cement fever' - it was a nasty bacteria that got in through a scrape on the hock and went into the heart. Makes you sick to watch perfectly healthy animals go down so fast.

Melissa, you're welcome - enjoy the daffs for me, ours are probably a bit more than a month off, although the snow drops are budded out under the snow we had a couple of days ago. The weather prophesiers are talking 40s starting tomorrow and into next week, so we may get some flowers soon.

It's a bright sunny morning, but still cold enough that the 'diamonds' are showing in the snow. Stan's going to haul some cement pieces that one of the neighbors gave him for the lane ways. He wants to get them up here and in the lane before it thaws. I'm still trying to catch up.

Waddy, KY

Never good when something dies and you don't know why. We've carted many an animal to the diagnostic lab in Lexington just because we didn't know why it died.

Our county is just a bit upset. Federal laws are requiring that before an animal can be rendered it must have the brain and spinal nerve tissues removed before processing. That is causing the local "dead animal wagon" as we always called it down here to close up shop. Now they're scared that farmers are just going to leave whatever's dead lying just where it died. Which could happen. Most farmers don't have the ability to dig holes big enough to bury a 1000 lb. cow so I can see them dragging the carcass to the back 20 and leaving it there for the buzzards. There's all these rules in place to try to keep the watersheds safe. I just wonder though how they manage to come to grips with all the dead dogs, deer and other animals along the sides of the roads that never get picked up....

It's supposed to start warming up around here. I can feel a play in the dirt day coming on. It's getting close to potato planting time around here. I'd better get them bought and cut up. Hopefully this weekend...

southeast, NE

Kathleen - I would love to have a good excuse to come visit you! Several years ago we had a calf die and we bought a holstein calf at the local sale barn. The heifer accepted the calf as her own. It was kind of funny to see the black and white calf in with the rest of our mostly black cows. We ended up butchering him.

Kydaylilylady - I haven't heard about that rule. We had two dead cows picked up last month. It's always something! How much do you have to pay (or do you have to pay) to have a dead cow picked up.

MaryE - we went through something like that several years ago. We ended up having the lambs posted and I believe it was diagnosed as toxemia. A friend of ours lost 1/3 of his lamb crop one year. He is a veterinarian and he believed it was a new strain of C&D. He ended up consulting with Kansas State Veterinarian College and having a customized vaccine made up.

Lois

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

Got rid of a cow yesterday......hope they don't tank her but I'm not overly optimistic. Had hardware. We shall see. Sent another one along with her that I'm hoping made it to the place where this guy takes slow ones and can walk off the trailer. Had her head stuck where it shouldn't have been out in the barnyard and slipped and fell, spraddle-legged. SU got her drug around the barn and into the pen, and I put hobbles on her. She probably would have been ok (or as ok as she could have been under the circumstances) but when we were gone last week our other son that was helping let her out with the others instead of putting her back in the pen. Still had the hobbles on but couldn't get up. They got her back in the pen, but downward spiral since. She could get up in the pen, good manure pack in there. We put the hobbles back on for her to get in the trailer yesterday, she went right out of the pen and took the step up into the trailer. We can only hope she walked out on her own, or that will be 2 in the tank, I suppose. I sure take issue with all this Mad Cow crap..........I mean, why can't anybody pick up a downer like this one might have been? Obviously not a brain thing, it's a bad leg thing. But, oh........no..............can't eat something with a bad leg, it *might* have madCow. Can you all say "mad owner"???? Bureaucracy has no brains. Ok, that is my rant for now. Gotta go finish steaming my asparagus. LOL

Poolville, TX

The guy across the street had 20 of his cows die from black leg- and he left them in the pasture where they dropped. It smelled nasty! for a 1/2 mile-ugh!

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

I don't know what the rules are around here, but I do know we have very healthy buzzards. Gives the place a rather Tibetan feel....
LOL Jay

none of ur business, OK(Zone 5b)

Jdranch thanks for the link, great info. I was thinking of doing that this year with some of my beds. I think his way is alot better than mine. LOL
thanks again :)
You know i never thought of what to do with a dead cow ? good thing i lurk in here. Not that i have any cows yet but we will . Yes Anna i know "wretched cows " LOL
jdranch that does sound stinky yikes.
Question if i may
the farmer who is leasing our 8 acres for hay . He is doing alfalfa to feed his cows (angus) . I guess he feeds grain and alfalfa (straight ) he commented on the alfalfa goes right through the cows ?
He hasn't made up his mind on what kind to grow and might add some clover with his alfalfa .
So my question is
Would he be better off using Timothy hay (very common here) legumes and broad leaf . IF the alfala goes right through them ? and wouldn't that be healtheir than just straight alfalfa ? and he does pasture his herd too in spring and early summer. ?
thanks
sue


Baker City, OR(Zone 5b)

He should ask the county extension agent and his vet for feed recomendations. But I can tell you this, my neighbors with beef cattle do not feed straight alfalfa, they feed grass hay along with it, and no grain unless it is naturally occuring in something like oat hay. Beef cattle only need about 10% protein until the last trimester of pregnancy. The protein content of hay varies widely with type of hay and how it was cured.

Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

Mary has hit the nail on the head - the reason the alfalfa is going through the cows is that the protein is too high. He needs to balance it with some grasses. Actually, cows can survive very nicely with no alfalfa at all - our poor cows probably wouldn't know alfalfa hay if it bit them. It won't grow on our heavy clay ground and our feed tests in the 15 to 20% protein range without

Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

What kind of hay do you grow ?
Around here alfalfa is the norm for dairy cows. Only problem growing it here is getting it put up without rain.
Lots of it is put in the silo now as haylage. Long hay still works best to keep cows from getting twisted stomachs.
Nicer weather this week, but no farming going on yet. At least 3 weeks before anyone gets excited about digging dirt.
Bernie

Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

The dryer fields get a mix of clover, timothy and orchard grass. the wetter fields get clover, timothy, orchard grass and reed canary grass. Stan puts almost all of first cutting in the silo, bales some for dry cows. Second cutting is mostly baled, with some going in the silo, third and fourth cutting depend on the weather and if there's any room left in the silos. He uses oats as a cover crop on the new seeding and that usually goes in the silo, but this year he mowed it when it finally got dry enough to get on the fields and baled it up as bedding. The seed shattered out and he moved the regrowth in October and had it round baled and wrapped as baleage. The heifers outside have been feasting on that all winter.

It's a gorgeous morning here and headed up into the 40s. We are looking at quite warm weather through to next Wednesday. Oh, warm here in March is the 40s and 50s, LOW 50s.

I walked out in the big field behind the painted shed last evening and there were turkey tracks all over the field. They had been investigating the manure that Stan spread last fall for corn kernels that sometimes pass through the cows. It was cold, around 20, but there was no breeze to speak of. The tracks were very fresh, made wonder when they were out there. We have fairly large flocks of wild turkey in this area now. Never saw them when I was a kid.

This message was edited Mar 5, 2009 7:27 AM

none of ur business, OK(Zone 5b)

Ok thanks for the info. I was wondering why he was only using alfalfa too and feeding with grain. Very expensive ?
For me to give him hay advice would be hard. Since i don't have cows LOL or have ever grown hay . :)
Most of the farmers use the mix kinda like what Kathleen uses. THe ones that i have talked too.
thanks for all the advice ,

Waddy, KY

As a kid growing up on a dairy good quality hay was pretty important. We didn't call it hay unless is was a good alfalfa or red clover mix. We NEVER cut pastures and fed them. It was just unheard of because it wasn't considered good enough. It was such a shock when I married a beef farmer and the first year I was married I so put my foot in my mouth when I came in and made the comment about the hay not even being good dry cow hay. Then I made the mistake of coming in and commenting that an old cow had freshened but it sure didn't look like she'd made up much of a bag. My FIL about died because he'd just come in a few minutes before saying she looked like she was going to have a good one and plenty of milk. She did for a beef cow but I was used to looking at udders the size of half bushel baskets and in my book she just wasn't cutting it!

It's supposed to warm up these next few days. I wish I had ground worked cause I'd plant peas if it was. I'd love to get my potatoes in the ground next week but we'll just have to see how much it rains.

Cows with hardware can be a problem around here. A few years ago we had the remains of a tornado about 100 miles west of us dumped all over the fields. Cancelled checks, metal, insulation. You name it it fell from the sky. Since then our problems with hardware have gone up some. It's got to the point if a cow starts looking sickly she immediately gets a couple magnets.

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

There are some farmers around here that routinely give a magnet to every heifer that freshens. We have not done so, as we rarely have a hardware case.

Have to laugh on the good hay comments. Our nutritionist said that the hay silage we were feeding to the bred heifers and dry cows was WAAAAY too good quality, then he said "Ivan, y ou need some crap hay. Is it possible for you to even MAKE some crap hay???" Well, he let the last alfalfa field go for at least 2 weeks after we finished chopping all the other stuff and it STILL tested over 20% protein. Our vet has remarked that our heifer ration looks, smells, and tests better than what alot of their clients have for their milking cows. One thing about Spousal Unit, he CAN made good hay. We chop and bag it all. Nigh onto impossible to get GOOD dry baled hay around here.

One of our previous "nutritionists" (and I use that term loosely) said of his inability to balance the dairy ration......."well, your feed is pretty wet". And it IS wet, but............
I told the vet that and the vet's comment was "You feed the wettest feed of ANY of our clients; you have been feeding this for years and you have ALWAYS made it work. Wet feed shouldn't even be an issue here". Our current nutritionist really is on the ball. SU said that this guy has probably forgotten more about feeding cows that all the other ones we have had ever knew. I think he's right. Some day I will elaborate on the last guy that about put us under.

Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

Anna, nutritionist must be the same across the country! Our biggest problem has always been getting them to recognize that pasture has feed value and needs to be plugged into the system. We are presently pretty much without, although the guy from the mill did come up and check the minerals we've been using and we switched them out. The last nutritionist we actually paid for the job looked at Stan's income per cow and said he really didn't see as he could help us any. He thought Stan pretty much had it figured out.

Yeah, Stan's hay for all of there's no alfalfa always tests high - he's rather manic about getting it in at the optimal moment. Makes for a long summer - he's always mowing something.

Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

I think it's still there, but 20 years ago I was reading about a big dairy farm in far northern MN, that grew Quackgrass for hay. They have low swampy ground & peat to top it off. Only thing that will grow well there. They said the secret is mowing early & often. Before it heads out. Cows are made to eat roughage, I guess they don't care what flavor it is, LOL!

southeast, NE

Interesting about hay comments. Around here we couldn't afford to feed a high alfalfa content mixtures as it is expensive to grow and it is worth so much because farmers plowed up alfalfa fields to plant high dollar corn(?)!

We mix some alfalfa/brome mixture in with our silage. This year we also added chopped corn stalks. Not sure if I passed this on - we are also adding an ethanol making byproduct. They call it corn syrup but it looks like loose yellow baby poop. It was shipped to us hot and we mix it in with our corn stalk/ground hay/silage mixture and the cows love it.

none of ur business, OK(Zone 5b)

Wow i didn't know there was so much info on hay :) you learn so much here.
Thank you all for sharing all your stories.
I love to read Country Woman and they have an sement with Embarrising Moments . Some are just a riot.
Im sure i will be doing some of them. LOL

Baker City, OR(Zone 5b)

Last night was my first official lamb check, didn't find any. The weather had been bad earlier in the day and evening, so it was good that the mommies kept the babies. There have been no more major problems with the ewes, but one ewe did have a vaginal prolapse and is in the barn with a plastic retainer in place. She can lamb without having it removed if the lamb comes out under it. Prolapse is a genetic problem, so she will not be kept, nor her female lambs.

We have had some nice days and some with snow coming sideways. A couple of days just had cold wind that defies all attempts to keep it out of my bones.

Taynors, we have just barely scratched the surface on the subject of hay. It varies widely from area to area, so finding sources of local information is best, and that fellow should be talking to a few farmers who have made a living feeding beef cattle, not others who are new to it. There is a lot to be said about the wisdom of asking questions when new at something, being smart enough to know when you don't know. He probably could have fed a lot more cattle for the same amount of money. If he is raising his own hay, he could sell some of that alfalfa and buy grass hay, and not feed grain except for finishing.

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

Rain here since last night. What was supposed to be a torrential downpour all day yesterday turned out to be just annoying. Today, however, is a vastly different story. My sewer drain was backed up, so had to drag out the sump pump.......back cellar is full but I can't deal with it right now....I'll save it for later. Much later......like, when I go out to chore. LOL Rain has stopped for now. Could have rained a little harder when the cows were out this morning, alot of them need a good rain to get some of that barn grub off of them. And old, dead winter hair. Guess it's only in the mid 40's, but it's still better than freezing.

none of ur business, OK(Zone 5b)

Mary no he doesn't ask me for advice ,sorry if i misguided that . :) I ask him all kinds of questions and things come up in conversation . I just thought it interesting he did all alfalfa ? and feed grain . I just remember hearing other farmers use different grasses ect.
So i was just curious .
yes i think he should talk to the extension office but i think he has been doing it this way for so long well change is hard for some . I am always there at the extension office asking questions too LOL

Baker City, OR(Zone 5b)

No, taynors, I didn't think he was asking you. Yeah, I know, some people have their minds closed and wish to keep new ideas out. It's a pity when there is so much good information out there, much of it free for the asking.

none of ur business, OK(Zone 5b)

ok i just wanted to make sure :) sometimes i type faster than i can speak LOL
big rain here today
muddy !! sure hope my GH is still holding up

Poolville, TX

I am tired :( Last week was crazy and it hasn't stopped. I need to tap the brakes.

Rain and cold are coming our way. Yay for the rain but not for the cold. I'll wait to put my potatoes in the ground.

I picked up my 2 pigs to finish out today. They are so small. That will change soon enough though.

I bought a yearling beefmaster to kept my cow company and to finish out. That thing is wild! I couldn't get him in the trailer. I am thinking company can be overrated and I'll have enough pork.

I think it is sad that we can buy food in the grocery store for less money than we can raise it. How is that possible?

God Bless!

Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

JD, you have achieved farmer status! JFK said it best::"I know of no other business where they buy everything retail, sell everything wholesale and pay the freight both ways." That's a paraphrase, but it's pretty close. There is the farm crisis in a nutshell - what good business person would put up with those circumstances?

The weather here is acting just like March - warm and rainy one day, cold with mixed precipitation the next, and windy all the time. Stan is at his brother's fixing the silo unloader and cleaning barn. We'll eat when he gets home.

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

Just burns my keister no end that WE, the dairy producers, are assessed "X" amount from the milk check for promotion. Now, I ask y ou, do the steel mills pay for car advertising??? Hmmmmm??????? I'd better not get started on all that or I will be excommunicated from this thread.

Hempstead, TX(Zone 8a)

Waiting for the cooler weather and rain. Please please we need rain. The wind continues to howl an send all sorts of things into the air that have given me one heck of a sinus headache. Basically, I am miserable with it. It came on with a vengence out of nowhere.

Very interesting conversation above about hay. I am still trying to get a handle on growing good coastal and jiggs. Those are the two big ones down here. Folks with horses want "horse quality" (that can be defined as many things), and those with cattle want a high protein hay, but they will settle for bahia or Texas grasses if there is nothing else around. B/c of our drought, there may be no conversation about hay this season.

My litter of Golden pups are now 4 days old, and I am four days with little sleep. This old girl cannot go on much further without sleep. I have been sleeping in a recliner close to the birthing box. It gets old pretty fast. But in another 10 days or so, there will be some relief.

Still waiting for my last two cows to calve. I suspect they are waiting on the cold and wet to deliver. Fine with me as long as they are healthy.

Well, I need to let the horses out and clean their stalls. That should be good for the sinuses!

none of ur business, OK(Zone 5b)

Wow MelissahL you got your hands full with pups and calves . :) hope your sinuses feel better.
Jdranch LOL to funny "company over rated " Yes it is crazy when it cost more to raise your own food . But just think, you won't get your beef recalled . I still think its better tasting . Grocery store meat taste isn't so great.

not much here
just have to rebuild GH. :(

Baker City, OR(Zone 5b)

We had bright sunshine all day, 36 for a high temperature, and only light winds. Not too bad unless we're standing still or in the shade.

The live lambs have started coming now, a set of triplets yesterday and a single today. No more sick or dead ewes but we still don't have the lab reports back to tell what caused 4 ewe deaths and all those sets of lambs to be lost. I say sets of lambs because they usually have twins. I go to check for newborns at 1am every night but so far none have been out there for me to bring to the barn. That should change soon.

I read on another thread that AnnaZ had a very exciting start to her day, but I will let her tell you about it since it is her story. So, now you might have to prod her a bit to get her to tell you about it. I will say this much, it is something you definitely don't want to have happen at your house.

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