Previous editions of Bovine Basics cover proper cattle terminology and breeds of cows (specifically those at our farm). Another thing we talk with our kids about a lot is what the cows eat, but I’ve covered that in previous posts. The last thing the boys are already learning is cow anatomy. We pay a lot of attention to our cows’ form. How their body is put together actually has a pretty big influence on their health, including their milk production.
When most people think of a cow, they probably picture that Chic-Fil-A Holstein. The irony is that while many Holsteins do enter the beef supply, they are not considered a beef breed. Cattle come in countless different breeds with two primary purposes. There are dairy breeds focusing on efficient milk production, beef breeds focusing on efficient beef production, and dual purpose breeds which feature characteristics of both beef and dairy breeds.
Society as a whole has decided to call all cattle/bovines cows, and that alone has made it harder for farmers to have conversations about what we do because it almost creates a language barrier. In order to talk to consumers, we also end up calling most of our animals cows, but it can be a struggle because when we’re here at home, or at an industry event, they’re definitely not all cows.
We’ve been feeding the milk cows a TMR for many years. Until last fall, it was fairly complex, including a specially formulated multi-ingredient commercial blend. Last summer we made a decision to simplify the ration to include only corn and corn silage we raise, alfalfa hay we were purchasing from a neighbor, dried distillers grains (DDGs) and soybean meal. Now market conditions have led us to add a little complexity.
About a month ago, David and I did something we’ve never done before. We took the day off and went to a cattle sale – and we actually bought something! … Continue reading Jersey Girls
Last Saturday as a calf took its first breath there were cheers and big smiles among a small crowd welcoming her to the world. A couple of women driving by … Continue reading Farmers are People
Holy cow! Can you believe that it’s already June?! Yeah, me neither. But I’m sure you know that June is dairy month! (I had to throw that in…check out these … Continue reading At least its not 2012
Last week we bred eight cows and six heifers. This is a pretty high number for our herd, but we’re breeding all heats in an effort to get ahead before … Continue reading In Synch: Breeding Cows using Synch Protocols
Today is National Ag Day, and this year’s theme is 365 sunrises and 7 billion mouths to feed. At our dairy we have about 100 Holstein cows to feed twice … Continue reading National Ag Day: 365 Sunrises and 100 Mouths to Feed
Two weeks ago, I pulled up to the barn before I headed out the driveway to work. I spotted number 1106 and couldn’t help but shed quite a few tears … Continue reading Tough Decisions