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.
To a farmer the long days of summer simply means that there is more daylight to get work done. Never is this more apparent than during the months of June and July, and I can assure you that we have been taking full advantage of the long days at Eden Shale.
June allowed us great hay making weather and we were able to get all of the first cutting baled without it getting rained on. We have also baled and wrapped the first cutting of our sorghum sudan grass. We have baled a total of 306 bales so far this year. We typically need about 425 bales to get us through a normal year, so we are setting in good shape at this point in the season.
Last month we purchased 24 cull cows that are grazing in the paddocks. They will be rotated through the paddocks for 60 days and then we will harvest them through Beef Solutions. We recently purchased 20 more cull cows that will be kept in the bull barn and bucket fed two different rations. The first group will be fed a standard 3-way commodity feed and the second group will be fed a custom mixed ration that Burkmann Nutrition put together for the trial. These cows will again be fed for 60 days and then harvested through Beef Solutions. These cattle will be harvested in August and early September and I will share the results once they have been processed.
On July 9th we started work on three new construction projects with Dr. Higgins. One project will be a new option for winter feeding and the other two will be water harvesting projects, one of which will eliminate the need for an unreliable pond to water the cattle. We are very excited to get this new infrastructure added to the farm and I invite you to come to our Open House field day on October 13th where we will be showcasing these three new projects.
July was also a busy month for having people at the farm. We hosted 9 different field day/tours that totaled 185 people from 30 different Kentucky Counties during the month of July. Most of the visitors were cattle producers from across the state, but we also hosted a group of High School Ag Teachers, and a group of inner city kids from Lexington.
I would like to thank everyone who visited Eden Shale Farm, as well as Dr. Higgins for his time in helping to give the tours. I also need to thank our farm manager Greg and our intern Ben for keeping the production of the farm running while I spent time hosting these groups. These are the folks that continue to make Eden Shale Farm a success. I hope that producers in Kentucky see a value in the work that we are doing and continue pushing us to provide new and innovative ideas for the beef industry. Because at the end of the day, that is the ultimate goal for Eden Shale Farm.