Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Please listen to this great video from another advocate for agriculture.
Shame on YOU PETA~! For picking on hard working dairy farmers :(
Monday, September 28, 2009
Also great news from the farm, our bull calf streak (7 bulls in a row) has been broken! Today we successfully delivered a set of twin heifers!!!! So cute, Kasota and Kimble are a lot of fun to feed twice a day and play with =)
Off to bed, so I can road trip tomorrow!!!
Saturday, September 26, 2009
A little night time action at the farm. This video was taken on September 7th, 2009 (Day 1). We finished opening the fields and wanted to get a head start on the long and hectic week ahead. The key to making good silage is to make it quickly as possible at a consistent moisture. Consistent moisture helps to make quality forage which feeds our cows who make safe, wholesome, nutritious milk for you the consumer =) Please enjoy our little video of night time silage chopping at Orange Patch Dairy!
Friday, September 25, 2009
Thursday, September 24, 2009
I visited the local bar for the party, but ended up having an awesome conversation with the area farmers about their crops, the harvest, and their livestock. On Sunday I had the privilege of attending their church bazaar. Dinner was an AMAZINGLY delicious meal of chicken, real potatoes, Polish sausage, and haluski. Dessert was the best darn piece of pie I have had in a long time. Here you could see the values of a rural community. The value of hard work to put on a great event for a good cause. The value of community and social connections with your neighbors. The value of family and friends. The value of agriculture. Agriculture is a bond that binds all in rural communities in Minnesota. Here in Sobieski most were from farms and some work in other agriculture related jobs. It was truly awesome to wittiness people working together for a good cause, laughing and working hard.
Coming soon....the videos from corn silage season!!!
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Saturday, September 12, 2009
So instead of finishing chopping, we will be taking the weekend off to go to a cousin's wedding near Rochester MN. We are super excited to see family that we haven't seen in months! We are also excited to sleep in...since we will be spending the night, and we have some great friends hired to milk while we are away. We only hope that everything goes well for those whom we leave behind with our cows....I had a speech with the girls to make sure that they don't cause any trouble for us =) See ya on Monday!
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Monday, September 7, 2009
Dairy farming is a hard labor filled job, but ask any dairy farmer and they would tell you how much they love their jobs. It's a dairy farmer's passion and drive for what they do that helps them through tough years like this year. It is their love of their job, cows, and nature that helps to get them through each day and forces them to wake up each morning only to repeat it over again. Right now we aren't getting paid to milk cows, but in fact we are paying an admission fee to go to work each day. How would you feel if your boss was standing at the door each morning collecting a fee to enter and do your job? It wouldn't feel too good, but for a dairy farmer, there are so many other "gifts" of the job to make it worth while. I wake up each morning looking forward to the next baby calf, the next gain in milk production, a pretty sunrise, fresh cut hay, the next new surprise. It's honestly fun to know that even if the the daily tasks are the same, the days are still filled with a variety of surprises, some better than others. My father, who also dairy farms, often stated "Well I am at least doing this for exercise"...referencing milking cows during low milk prices. I have been doing dairy farming for exercise for a few months now, but I am still not complaining. So as you enjoy your Labor Day, honoring that we all have the ability to work, please think about the people responsible for the food on your table....the farmers, the employees, the processors....they all work hard to ensure that you have safe, wholesome foods for you and your families. It a labor of love....so please make sure that we are not working in vain and enjoy all the great dairy products, meats, vegetables and fruits that you can.
Happy Labor Day!
Saturday, September 5, 2009
And that's where the investigation starts. Jonathan and I knew immediately that these 3 sick cows meant that something was wrong, and we knew that the only thing that we changed in the past week was the new alfalfa hay that we purchased to feed the cows and heifers. We remembered that in the past we had hay that had mold in it and made the cows sick, very sick, and we caught the mold when it was too late. I am glad to report that we learned from our previous mistakes and immediately stopped feeding that purchased hay to the cows and found some different hay from a neighbor to feed. Almost immediately the cows that were sick got better and the Somatic Cell Count that was rising, came down. These signs told us that it was in fact the hay, so we had it tested for mold. Our local feed representative came out to the farm and pulled cores from the bales and sent them to a lab for testing. After culturing the hay samples for mold we received the results that we expected....the hay was positive for mold, a mold that is very dangerous for cows....Aspergillus. Aspergillus is known to produce a mycotoxin that hinders immune systems, causes internal hemorrhaging, and other bad things.
So you ask yourself, how did the hay get moldy? Well, it's quite easy, alfalfa is cut, dried and baled, but this pile of hay was cut and not allowed to dry to a low enough moisture level to be baled. It was baled, which compressed the wet alfalfa next to each other and allowed an environment perfect for mold to grow. The mold is very small, almost unseen to the human eye, but we did notice it's signature white fuzz on a couple bales after the fact. Thankfully we removed the hay from the cows diets before it could make more of them sick. The importance of HIGH QUALITY feed for cows cannot be stressed enough. The better quality the feed for cows, the better the cows' overall health and production. We work tirelessly to make high quality haylage and corn silage for our cows at Orange Patch Dairy, and we try to buy clean dry hay. The hay grower that we purchased this hay from was not aware that his hay was moldy-and frankly it did look very green and dry, inside the bales it was a different story. After calling our grower, he will move the hay back home to be destroyed and he will refund us the money that we paid.
As a result the cows at Orange Patch Dairy are doing MUCH better, happy healthy, and producing!!!! Yet another example of how dairy farmers continue to look out for the best for their cows....Happy cows are producing cows!