August was hot this year. The Mesonet weather station at the farm measured 20 days in August that had no measurable rainfall, the humidity was at least 93%, and the average temperature for those days was 86 degrees! Thankfully we received adequate rainfall to compensate for the extreme heat. However, it has still been a good year for grazing cattle and for that I am thankful.
This past month we worked the replacement heifers that are on the grazing trial with USDA. The pregnancy check showed that after two rounds of AI and exposure to the cleanup bull, we had 28 of 32 heifers bred. We will be sharing much more data about this project after we crunch all the numbers and finalize the results.
The working facility in the paddocks (which USDA purchased several years ago) had a load cell malfunction under the chute. Chris McBurney, with McBurney’s Livestock Equipment, was able to come replace the load bars with a new model and get our chute functioning again so that we can collect accurate weights on the heifers. I want to thank Chris for his quick turnaround time for getting the new load bars installed and keeping us up and running.
Dr. Higgins has been at the farm recently putting some finishing touches on the pond liner water harvesting project. As you recall, the pond liner captures rainfall and diverts it into a 3,000 gallon collection tank. A solar panel and submersible pump then pumps the harvested water up into the pasture and into another 3,000 gallon tank, which gravity feeds into an 8 foot tire water tank. This system is functioning well and has allowed us to put a 14 acre pasture back into the summer grazing rotation. We also found a water leak at another location, so while our contractor, Art Snapp, was there we repaired the line.
Despite not being able to hire a summer intern, we are fortunate enough to have hired Chey Warner as our fall intern at the farm. Chey attended Morehead State for 3 ½ years and is now taking online classes to complete her Animal Science/Vet Tech degree. She lives in Frankfort and will be working with us at Eden Shale Farm throughout the fall semester.
The annual Open House Field Day will be October 9th at 10:00am and lunch will be provided. The tour is limited to 100 people, so if you have not RSVP’d please do so to reserve your spot today. To RSVP please call 859-278-0899 or email at email@example.com. We look forward to seeing you at the farm.
The labor shortage is a major problem effecting every facet of our lives right now, and Eden Shale is not exempt from it either. We only had one person apply for our summer internship position, and before he started was able to find a better opportunity making more money and doing work more closely related to his interest. I do not fault the kid, and I encouraged him to take the better opportunity. But it has left me with a lot of time in the tractor seat this summer.
This lack of help and abundance of rain this summer has meant that it has taken us longer to get the hay up than every before. I am ashamed to say that we put our last bale of first cutting in the barn on August 6th. The last 40 acres were fields that we had sprayed so we didn’t have mature weeds growing in them, but there was a lot of brown fescue stems. As always we will get the hay tested to see if we need to supplement the cows while they are eating it.
This hay was put into our self feeding hay feeders and the cows will eat it first once the stockpiled fescue runs out. This will be 30-45 days before they start calving and they can handle eating the lesser quality hay. As soon as they start calving, we will switch them over the better quality alfalfa/orchard grass mixed hay.
As we filled the self feeding barns we take all the strings off the bales so that there is nothing impeding the cows ability to clean up all the hay. The Large Bale Feeder under the hoop barn holds 32 round bales and the tobacco barn self feeder holds 18 bales. This hay will now be stored in the same location it will be fed at, eliminating the need to haul the hay to the cattle. This hay will service the mature cow herd and we should not have to use the tractor to move hay to these cows until the end of February. We have been using these self feeders for two years and really like the efficiency that they provide during the winter months.
In between rain showers and baling hay, we also put the shade balls on four of our tire water tanks. The shade balls allow the water to be shaded, reducing the water temperature and eliminating the growth of green algae. The balls float on the surface of the water and the cows can push them down and out of the way to get a drink.
If you would like to see some of the recent work at Eden Shale Farm be sure to RSVP to one of our fall field days. We will be hosting tours on September 15th and October 9th. Both tours will be exactly the same and will start at 10:00 am. A complimentary lunch will be included with both tours. Each day is limited to 100 producers so be sure to RSVP early to save your spot. To RSVP please call the office at 859-278-0899 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.