Got Baby Calves On The Way?

Got Baby Calves On The Way_

Happy Monday Farmers! Today we’re going to switch gears for a little bit and we’re going to talk to the cow/calf guys.  We’re going to share a little bit about how to make your life better. If you’re getting ready to calve this is perfect for you.  We all know spring calving can be stressful. Sometimes the weather is not conductive to we want. From freezing temps to cold damp rain it’s almost invariably something happens. So what can we do to improve overall calf health? On our farm, we feed every animal fast track fast track, a live powdered microbial product that we mix in their daily feed. It’s a maintenance dose of about an ounce per head per day.  We do that regularly, because anytime we can improve the health of the digestive tract, we do. It causes us to have less trouble and improved overall health.

For calves specifically, what we want to do is give it a good source of energy from the minute it’s up and moving. When that calf hits the ground, we give it a dose of jumpstart gel. Jumpstart is like jumper cables for the newborn calf’s digestive track. Getting their stomach on the right start from the beginning saves a lot of head aches down the road. Each calf is born with a sterile stomach and the question is do the good bacteria get in there and start reproducing or do the bad bacteria get a head start and create problems?

Getting a calf's stomach on the right start from the beginning saves a lot of problems & head aches down the road..png

For example if a new baby calf is in the mud and gets his tongue in the mud there’s a good chance he’ll get a little manure and all of a sudden he’s got a belly ache and we have a problem. Our goal is to make sure that the good bacteria wins the race. And so we give him a dose of the jump start gel. By doing that, the calf becomes more aggressive when eating and his appetite improves.  That makes rate of gain better. Want an added bonus? Less of a scours.  We hardly EVER have a scours problem in new born calves or bottle calves and that’s because our calves only have good bacteria in their stomachs.

So, here’s the deal, regardless of if you have 2 cows or 2,000 cows Fastrack is a way to make your life easier and make your farm better and more profitable. If you’d be open to trying Fastrack on your farm or in getting more information and seeing how it can help your calving comment here or text Karen at 641-919-5570.

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Cut Down Your Drying Time for Hay

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We are COUNTING THE DAYS until we can start mowing hay!  It’s like therapy you don’t have to pay for if you ask me.  So today, we’re going to talk about how can we shorten the time between when we cut hay and bale it.  As an added bonus we’ll also touch on how we can produce a better quality forage.

We mow with a John Deere moco on our farm.  In the process of putting up hay, some years are exceedingly challenging, from a drying time standpoint. Plus for us time is always of the essence.  Therefor, it becomes really important to have as short a window between cutting and baling. The other thing we focus on is leaf retention; because leaf retention is where we get a lot of the protein and a lot of the feed value. Our main goal is to maintain as much forage as we can, leaving nothing behind in the field; and yet, keeping it in a way that it will stay good throughout the winter.

What we’re doing is as we’re cutting, we’re spraying Pro-Serve at the rate of a gallon per 100 ton of forage. Now, we also use Wex to speed up the drying as well which goes on at the rate of one quart for every 25 gallon of water. Our applicator tank is set up with a 12-volt pump. There’s a switch with a pressure gauge and a control toggle in the cab so we can control how much Proserve & Wex we’re putting on. The low-volume electric pump works great. We have four nozzles strung across the moco.  They’re evenly spaced on our 14 foot cutter bar.

This is INCREDIBLY easy to do and costs less than $2.00 per ton at factory-direct pricing, so it’s very inexpensive.  We’re very pleased with the results we see year in and year out. The best part about using this system is we typically cut our drying time by at least one full day. Where other people may mow on Tuesday and not be able to bale until Thursday or Friday; we start mowing on a Tuesday morning and bale Wednesday afternoon. As we come in and we do that, if there’s a rain coming, we can get by on a shorter window, which has saved us a lot of headaches.

Another benefit of this is we typically bale somewhere in the 18% moisture range. Baling at 18% moisture allows us to hang on to a whole bunch of leaf.  If we can keep those leaves on the bale, we end up with more tonnage. We also end up with more protein. We’ll end up with more feed value.

I hope that you find this information beneficial and as always feel free to message us on Facebook, or give Rod a call at 641-919-1206.