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.
Rarely in Kentucky do we get better weather windows to make hay than we did this past month. To start the month of June at Eden Shale we had eight consecutive days with no rain. We then had half an inch, followed by another 6 days of dry weather. During that time period I don’t think there was a hay field anywhere in Kentucky that wasn’t baled!
So far, the hay has turned out better than expected in both quantity and quality. Our wheat that we wrapped made 66 bales this year, where as it usually makes around 40. The first cutting also made slightly more than usual but we did apply a little more fertilizer this spring. One thing I did notice was the hay was not overly mature as you would expect in June. The long slow start to the growing season put the grass far enough behind that it was not fully mature when we cut it. The mower hardly had any seeds on it at all. As always, we will get the hay analyzed to know exactly what we have, but my first impression is that it is better than in years past.
During the hay making frenzy our tractors from H&R Agri Power hit the maximum hours allowed. I called them up and requested two more and they had them delivered the next week. I would like to thank H&R Agri Power for their continued support of Eden Shale by allowing us access to quality tractors. We truly appreciate it.
This summer we are conducting a demonstration with cull cows. We currently have 24 cull cows that were purchased from the stockyards that are grazing in the paddocks. They are broken into groups of 4 head and are grazing different treatments. Two groups are in Chaparral treated paddocks, two groups are in clover renovated paddocks, and two are in the control paddocks. The cows are being weighted and body condition scored after each rotation through their 3 paddock assignment for 60 days, at which point they will be harvested through the Beef Solutions program. We also have 20 head in the barn that are broken into 4 groups and are being fed two different rations. They too are being weighed and will be harvested for Beef Solutions. Stay tuned for the results of this demonstration.
In other activity, we have three big construction projects getting ready to kick off with Dr. Higgins. These are some new and innovative techniques for winter feeding and water harvesting. Holding true to the purpose of Eden Shale, these new projects are completely different than anything we have done at the farm to date, and you are going to want to come see them in the fall at our Open House Field Day. Stay tuned for more information about these projects and others that will be featured at the Open House Field Day on October 13th.