Calving Season

I feel like my teachers all know calving season is here. Through readings and discussion along with background knowledge I have furthered my knowledge of calving. In both my Animal Science and Veterinarian Science classes we have gone over what you are supposed to look for in a new born calf over the past week. With the double dipping of class objectives I have learned it and reinforced it.

I knew there was the rule of thumb that calves have to suck for the first time in the first 24 hours, but I never really knew why. I never really thought about it much because that’s what grandpa said so it had to be right. But being in college and pushing my mind to learn why has taught me that the stomach in more porous in the first 24 hours allowing the immunoglobulin from the mother to enter that baby’s body.  This allows that calf to receive antibodies that the mother has already built up; boosting the immune system of the calf immensely. These passages in the stomach close up after 24 hours to ensure that the calf will not past something it shouldn’t.

But as most farmers know you are not always going to get this luck to where the calf will suck. Then there is another option if the cow that just had the calf will not claim it. You can use a different cow to take it on as its own baby. My vet teacher always uses the example of using his dairy cow as the “fake mother”. He says this as worked for years on his own personal farm, and he recommends that every farmer has one dairy cow for the supplement mother.

But most of farmers to not have this option on their operation. So there is still yet another option for you farmers that have a mother problem. This is a risky one but it is better than the final solution according to both of my teachers. You should contact a dairy farmer because they usually freeze the colostrum from their cows. This is a risky one because you have the chance of bringing in other disease that were not there before. The one we talked about most was Johnes. This is a whole other topic for a different day, but it is a very interesting disease that you should look into if you don’t know much about it.

But then if none of these solutions have worked and you are in a real bind then your best bet is to use the store bought powder. Both of my teachers said this should be that last on the list, but when you need a fix it is always there.

Let me know what your thoughts on colostrum and newborns are!

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Spring Break

Well spring break has officially started; and I am ready for the break! Well the break from school at least. I will be going home to work on the farm, instead of heading to the south like most of my fellow college friends. It is a busy time on the family farm, but I have also made plan to head north for two days to see all the fraternity brothers I left at Northwest Missouri State when I transferred this past semester.

On the farm; calving season has formally started. One of the twenty “breed” cows has popped out the first baby.  Everything went well even though we had nearly 20 inches of snow on the ground.  The first calf is a heifer.  The calf got the colostrum in the first twenty-four hours on its’ own making our job as farmers easy. As for the rest of break I will just be feeding and fixing fence on the back 40 acres. Pretty easy stuff if everything goes as planned.

Now, for the fun part of my spring break! I will be making the two and a half hour trek north to reunite with all the brothers I left for academics. Yes college is for scholastics but I had some great times with the men of Delta Chi. It broke my heart to leave that great fraternity after only a year and a half of being a member.  However, I am more than excited to spend a couple of days and nights at “The House”. These guys will probably heckle me about the transfer but in the end I will most likely make some more unforgettable memories!

Mixer with Delta Chi & Tri Sigma

Well, that about sums up my spring break. I am thrilled to spend time with my family and my brothers at Delta Chi. It should make for a busy and entertaining week, but also a week free of school work … besides this.

Control is Everything

John Deere is setting the pace on new and updated agriculture management solutions.  There are many great new and/or improved technologies they have produced. John Deere Section Control is one of the technologies chosen by the company to improve for this year. Active Implement Guidance; and Satellite Module are another two advancements that go hand and hand to improve the John Deere brand and their farming equipment; as well as, the machine sync technology. These new technologies will change farming for the better.

The section control is a huge improvement for farmers; this will allow them to get the most out of their acreages. It saves the farmers from wasting seed and fertilizer by giving precise measurements of what supplies it will take to cover their land.  This is good because both seed and fertilizer products are increasing in price. The technology is available for sprayers, planters, and other specific equipment and runs off of active implement guidance, which maximizes the effectiveness of section control.  The active implement guidance is run off of GPS signals, which will allow the machinery to work at the most effective level. The sync technology will be great for the farmer that does multiple fields of harvesting because it will cut down on the spillage and stress of the drivers. The sync will also help reduce the usage of fuel and wait time.

These new technologies are increasing the effectiveness for farmers and the equipment that they use to produce the product of our toil. These technologies in the long run will have an abundant return for the farmers who buy in to the products. The new equipment will save them on the raw materials they have to purchase; while maximizing the use of their land and the return on the crops.   In the end this is a leap forward in the eyes of row crop farmers.

Weaning the Herd

They say you learn something new every day; and, if you listen to what people say I believe this to be true.  For example in my veterinarian science class, this is a discussion based class. We came across a topic that is relative to my home operation of beef cattle.  It was on the basis of a newer type of weaning calves. A nose guard that restricts calves from sucking on the udder of their mother, but does not inhibit them from eating grass, hay, or drinking water.

This is a great invention because the weaning process in the past has been very stressful for the farmer. The farmer has to worry about getting the herd up and then separating the cows from the calves. This may sound easy; however, the mothers do not like to leave their baby calves. Then once the farmer has separated the mothers and baby calves they like to test the fences of the corral that you have dividing them.  This new process of weaning would eliminate the separation process.

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The old way of weaning is not only hard on the farmer; but, it is also hard on the herd as well. The cows would be poor eaters for the first part of weaning, because they would want to stand by the fence instead of being out and grazing in the pasture like they should. Then the calves would be on the other side and be doing relatively the same thing. They would bawl for their mothers to come help them even though the separation is inevitable.

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I have only found two cons for this new process of weaning. The first one being that you have to get the cows up twice. You have to get them up the first time to insert the nose guard into the calves’ nose and the second time to remove the guards. The other con which is probably the biggest factor for most farmers is this new method requires you buy the nose guards. This is the biggest because most farmers won’t want to spend more money; they typically like to have a more conservative approach.

As you can see this new way of weaning calves has many pros and not many cons. There are always hybrids of this process too, because you can do it the old way by separation. Then if you have a calf that is still sucking, you can put one of these guards on to keep them from being able to suck. This was just a new and interesting idea that I heard about this past week.

Let me know if you have any tips or feedback on this process of weaning!

http://www.tsln.com/community/wyoming/2714627-111/calves-flaps-nose-cows

School is Cool

Over the past few weeks in my class, public relations in agriculture, we have had three guest speakers come in to give us more information on social media and its effects on business. The first speaker was a lady from Monsanto Seed Company, she spoke to us about a few strategies and how we can improve our social networking skills. The second was a Missouri State Agriculture Communications major graduate that is now working for Ozarks Farm & Neighbor magazine. She explained some business strategies they are now using in her market. Lastly, the third speaker was a student from the same class last year; she has taken what she learned and applied it to her work place, here in Springfield. I will be going over five main aspects from these speakers that have really impacted my thoughts on social media and networking and how it affects business.

The first aspect that really caught my eye was from our Ozark Farm & Neighbor speaker. She brought about the fact that you need to post regularly to keep your name in front of people; you want your name or the company’s name to appear on people’s minifeed.  She came in to this magazine and the Facebook for the company had been lagging on this aspect. She talked about how after they have been keeping up with posting, the number of followers they have acquired has gone up.

The second thing that caught my attention was the Monsanto speaker brought up, “Twitter Dock”. This is an application that I had not heard about. It seems like a great idea for businesses because it allows you to schedule post for times of the day that social media gets the most traffic. Sounds like a great marketing tool to me!

The third speaker from our class brought up the fact that you need to interact with your followers and not just be all about “me”.  This is so the followers stay interested even when there isn’t a promotion.  Also, this will keep the followers coming back to your page just to see what you are saying for the day.

Fourth; all the speakers brought up, you need pictures! This was huge because it will draw in people to look at the picture, ‘because it is worth a thousand words’, and then they will read the caption. Having pictures is a strategy that will bring in more of an audience because people are more likely to share a photo; when they share, all of their friends will see the picture as well; this leads to getting your name out and obtaining more of a following.

Fifth and final, Social media can be a game changer for businesses! This is a testimony from the third speaker; she took the knowledge she gained from this class and helped to double the income of the business she worked for. She claims it is not all the social media, but I’m sure it has to have a little something to do with the boost.

These were just five of the highlights from the three great speakers we have had. I’m sure there will be many great speakers to come.  With them I hope I will gain a greater knowledge of social media and networking and the positive effects it can have on business.

Do you have any tips for networking or using social media?

Making a Statement

Over the past few years farmers and agriculture, in general have had much scrutiny from environmentalists, nutrition as well as, animal welfare activists, bio-fuels critics and congressional budget-cutters.  But Chrysler Group LLC’s Dodge Ram tried to put a different view of the “farmer” in the eyes of America during a two minute Super Bowl commercial.

This was a commercial that displayed a plethora of still shots taken on farms across America. These pictures came from the present and past. They showed the “farmer”: plowing, combining, feeding, selling produce, praying, and sitting down with his family for supper. These were not just the older framers either; it showed younger generations on the farm.

They added the famous speech from Paul Harvey, ‘So God Made a Farmer’ as a voice over. Paul Harvey was a big radio name in agriculture and was a favorite of agvocators everywhere. He first gave this speech at the Future Farmers of America 1978 convention. This was a voice over that gave a more friendly look at the “farmer”. It portrayed the “farmer” as a gentle yet strong individual. This voice over also shows them as an individual that care for their career and are compassionate for what they do.

This video made many farmers happy at the way they were portrayed on national television. As compared to being attacked by other groups. This video was accepted so well that it went viral. It collected over 4 million views on youtube. But some farmers disliked the ending of the commercial because it had a dodge truck sitting in front of a confinement facility.  Overall I feel that it did justice to putting the true “farmer” back in the American eye.

Chrysler Group LLC’s Dodge Ram stepped up in portraying the framer this year not only by displaying this commercial to 108.4 million television viewers. They have also agreed to donate up to a million dollars to the FFA. They are donating based on the number of shares the commercial receives on social media.  SO GET OUT THERE AND SHARE IT!

Share it: http://www.ramtrucks.com/en/keepplowing/

Resources

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2013/02/04/chrysler-farmer-ad-resonates/1891603/

http://nation.foxnews.com/paul-harvey/2013/02/04/full-audio-and-text-paul-harveys-original-so-god-made-farmer-speech