January 27, 2012

Farm Foto Friday

Calf 149 sporting his new EID tag - (the yellow 1)

Nebraska Sun Set

Feed wagon mixing a load of feed for the calves

Mark loading the feed wagon - He even stopped and let me take the picture!!

January 26, 2012

More Vaccinating

It seems like every time we turn around it is time to vaccinate more cattle at our place.  I have talked about the importance in developing a good immune system in the calves through giving 3 rounds of vaccine before they leave our farm.  We also vaccinate the cow to help prevent certain disease in both the cows and their un-born calves.  Our cows are now half way through the 3rd trimester of their pregnancy and for the heifers they are about 30 days away from being 1st time moms.  Over the past couple of weekends we gave our cows and bred heifers their pre-calving  vaccines.  We moved the cows to the last corn field before they come home to calve.  The great part about the last field is that it is only 2 miles away and they can walk those 2 miles!!  The bred heifers are definately showing signs that they are getting a little uncomfortable with being "very" pregnant.  We have started supplementing them with some distillers grain, and for a group of heifers that use to beat us to the bunk it sure does take them a long time waddle their way to the bunk now.  It won't be long and there will be new calves playing in the evenings as the sun sets at our place again.  
Saturday we bangs vaccinated about 80 head of heifers.  Brucellosis is a disease that use to be very prevelent in the US.  It causes cows to abort or go into preterm labor.  Due to an industry wide attempt Brucellosis has been nearly wiped out of most of the US.  In 2007 the US had almost eradicated the disease from the US cow herd with only 0.0001% of the cows being infected with Brucellosis.  The problem with 100% eradication is that wildlife such as bison and elk can transmit the disease to cattle.  According to the USDA the elk and bison living in the Greater Yellowstone Area are the last know focus of brucellosis eradiction, however the management of wildlife causes great challenges of complete elimination and increases the chance of brucellosis occuring in the US cow herd.  Breeding cattle shipped between states have to be bangs vaccinated prior to shipment.  Heifers must be vaccinated prior to their 1st birthday. 
The heifer in the right corner has her clip
tag that has shows she has been bangs
vaccinated, she has a tattoo in the same
ear with the same number as the clip tag

Aout of the 80 heifers we bangs vaccinated part of them are the keeping heifers for ourselves, part we are selling, and the remainder belong to the neighbor that we have been taking care of since November.  One of these days soon those heifers will be sold and our pens will be emptied out just in time for calving.  Even though we don't calve in the pens we do use some of them to water the cows, they have automatic water tanks with heaters so no ice to chop (unless a heater breaks).

January 23, 2012

Farm Foto Friday

Cows waiting patiently waiting their turn to be moved to the next field

Taking a quick look around as they walk off my trailer

Mark unloading another load of cows.

Slowing heading out to find their other friends

Cow have been moved to the last corn field away from home before they make the last move home in about 1 month.  The good thing is they are now only 2 miles away from the house and they can walk those last 2 miles.  They got all the vaccinations!!!  We are T-53 days before the old cows start calving!  Heifers are T-38 days, calving time and stress are just around the corner!   

January 13, 2012

Ag in the Class Room

Last fall I was working on getting involved with the Nebraska Ag in the Classroom program.  Agriculture in the Classroom (AITC) is a nation wide program that works on education children about agriculture and where their food and fiber comes from.  The program provides teachers with education and tool about agriculture so that they can provide a hands on learning experience for their students.  One of the programs that is available is the Pen Pal Program.  This program links a class of students to a real life farmer/rancher in the state.  The farmers/ranchers are to write to the classroom about how food is produced and moved from the farm to the table.  The classroom and the farmer/rancher are suppose to exchange 3 letters each throughout the school year (6 total letters) and the farmer/rancher can send pictures, video or samples  to help educate the students on what really goes on at the farm.  My opinion is that this is a great way to get our future customers knowledge and in touch with where their food comes from.  The last time I checked the milk and cheese were made from the milk the cow gave not the made by magic in the back of the grocery store.  Any time we have the opportunity to share our story - THE REAL STORY- we are 1 step closer to building a strong relationship with our customer a relationship in where they trust that we are taking good care of the resources that we have been given.
We were put on a waiting list this year and were put on the list for next school year as all the spots were already filled.  I got an email yesterday saying that there was a classroom that needed a farmer/rancher and we were asked if we were still willing to participate.  Of course I jumped at the invitation, and didn't have to be asked twice.  Today we found which class in the state that we will be sending letters to and that they didn't get their fall letter and the winter letter is due soon!  So I have a lot of writing and picture arranging to do to get 2 educational letter out in a short amount of time.  I needed another project about as much as I need another hole in my head but this is important and I am told you always find time in life to do the important things!!