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.
The past 30 days have been wet. Slopping around in Muck Boots to do the chores is getting old this time of year when we should be dry. Just like you, I’m afraid it is going to bea long winter with a lot of mud.
We have been fortunate though with a lot of grass this year. We have not had to start feeding hay to any of the cows, and we recently turned our replacement heifers into a fresh 20 acres of grass that should last them well into the new year. In my opinion the easiest way to reduce the hay feeding bill is to postpone feeding it utilizing stockpiled fescue.
Our 61 steers are still eating and gaining nicely, and they have decided that a farmer with a feed bucket is their best friend. We plan to sell these steers on the internet sale at the KCA convention in Owensboro. That sale will occur in the tradeshow at 4:30 pm on Jan 18th. These steers have EID tags in their ears and will be participating in the Texas Traceability Pilot Program. For more info on this program, refer to Becky Thompson’s article last month opposite of the Eden Shale Farm page in Cow Country News.
This past month we had some fencing projects completed by David Cartinhour Fencing. Some of Dr. Higgins projects needed some minor fencing and gates hung which they swiftly completed. We also had numerous locations that needed reworked and repaired. The Cartinhour crew spent 4 days at the farm and completed more projects than Greg and I could have done in a month. I would like to thank David Cartinhour and his team for helping us out and working us into their busy schedule.
Another opportunity we had this past month was to host tours for both Ohio State University and the University of Tennessee. Both schools sent leaders from their research farms to come take a look at the winter feeding infrastructure that Dr. Higgins has designed and installed at the farm. Both schools have plans to implement various designs on their research farms this winter. I appreciate both schools taking the time to visit Eden Shale to learn about efficiency in winter feeding. I would also like to thank Dr. Higgins for all his efforts in allowing us the opportunity to cause other universities to want to mimic what we are doing. That is a true testament to the carful thought and practical design of the projects he implements.
Lastly, I want to let you know that we will be hosting a Winter Feeding Field Day sometime toward the end of March. We do not have a date set yet, but be looking for that in next month’s article in Cow Country News.