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Tiled mangers and feed strips

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  • #16
    I doubt if ronnie checks in here very often as its his busy season. He made huge profits over summer, crops are all harvested cows are all bred back. he's down to counting his money. I and my wife drove past his abode a few days ago. I couldn't tell if the armoured truck was there to show democrat candidates how a true liberal lives or if ron was making his yearly tithe to the liberal cause

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    • #17
      OH - still keep a close eye on things going on around here on Agweb. Don't feel to chatty when I keep thinking it was farmers who helped vote the selfish knob we have for President no matter how much intelligent people said it was a bad mistake..But I can't just let the patients run the asylum and not keep an eye on 'em ! ha.

      That wasn't a Brinks truck out front. It was a Barrs truck - as in the local rendering plant. Had some bad luck in the latter part of summer. Had one springing heifer with calving troubles out in pasture. It was backwards and I couldn't get the hind leg pulled up. Called the vet and ended up the calf was dead a long time -to the point of being mummified. It is rare but it can happen. The vet was able to pull the back feet up but the calf was "frozen" in the fetal position and caused nerve damage in the mother. She never was able to get up. This all happened during a stretch of 90ish degree weather which made everything for her just so much worse.

      A couple of weeks (?) later we were busy pouring cement during the day and at chore time I saw the oldest cow on the farm Autumn (9 years old) was laying in the pasture and beginning to calve. After chores on an already long day I was taking the milk cows back to the pasture and saw Autumn was still lying in the same spot and still no calf . A large cow like her should have had that calf in half an hour. I ducked the lane wire and walked to her. She had 1 back leg out and looked to be stressed. I tried pushing the calf in but couldn't get it far enough in to have room to get the other foot. Called the vet. He got the calf out -large dead heifer. Unfortunately Autumn also had a pinched nerve and although we were able to walk her up to the barn the next morning she was only one fall from the "fur farm". Well , the next afternoon when the cows were grazing a 2 acre paddock with a dry creek bed running through it I found her laying across a tractor rut made of dry mud in the dry creek bed. Raised her up with a hip lift but couldn't back out the stream banks. Too steep. Ended up dragging her out and tried lifting her with the hip lift. No luck. Cancelled my Date Night , shot Autumn and dragged her onto the farm yard so the fur farm could pick her up Saturday morning.

      Weeelllll- rendering plants DON"T pick up on weekends and the weather was , you guessed it 90ish. Stunk the whole place up by Monday morning. I went to the pasture on Saturday to get her dead heifer calf so they could pick take it along. Found the calf had its rib cage opened up and all the organs missing. That was done by a group of bald eagles that have made the farm home some years ago. Seems they like the free lunches that are dead cows and calves that are put in the back 40 from time to time. Anyway , I took what was left of the calf and put it in the yard by mom with the eagle damage facing down hoping it would be loaded on the truck before they saw the damage and missing parts.

      The renderer took the bloated stinking cow and the $40 but NOT the calf. I walked up to the calf to see why they left it and ............it was already being devoured by maggots. I guess I figured I was lucky- if this were a holiday weekend with one extra day I would have ended up with another 1600 pounds of rotten maggoty mess stinking to high heaven ! Oh , yeah , a couple hundred feet from freeway ! And in case anyone cares that WILL get you a visit from the State Troopers (been there done that).

      Was that all ? No there's more. A year ago last spring we were so lucky (how lucky were you ?) I was so lucky I had a run of heifer calves of 80% near the start of our seasonal calving window. We had such a big and rare group of heifers we ended up short of room with our 17 calf hutches. I thought of buying more hutches at $350 apiece , selling heifer calves OR doubling up calves in the hutches. In a couple of weeks we could wean and move the oldest calves and spread out the doubled up calves. Since having 80% heifer calves for a long stretch of the calving season was statistically NOT going to happen again in my life time AND calf prices were fairly low AND my wife figured we could end up with the opposite next year we went with doubling up and keeping the extra heifers.

      What could possibly go wrong you ask ? Well I'll tell you. When you put two baby Holsteins together they suck up their milk then suck on each other. Even when they finally get separated they remember that sucking habit. After they were weaned and put into group housing those calves went back to sucking the herd mates.I did get plastic nose weaning things on them as I found them but who knows how much damage got done ? Won't know for sure till NEXT spring when they calve. For those who don't know heifers sucking can damage teat canals or open teats up and let mastitis causing bacteria in. That causes a lot of udder damage and 3 teaters and therefore culling. Is that all ? NO. When those heifers born a year ago last spring were brought into the follow-up grazing group for breeding (behind milk cows) they were mixed with springing heifers and dry cows. Some of the younger (dumber) springers let those yearlings suck and caused 4 to be culled. That was an expensive surprise. At least the beef price was pretty good.

      This kind of stuff is par for the course around here. Still satisfied with the year over all. Got all the feed storage refilled with feed even better than last year. Won't know about the breeding situation till we do our " fall round-up" as I call it. Coincidentally it is to be done tomorrow morning. The whole herd will be ultra sound pregnancy checked. Some held a spot on the team because grazed grass with lower amounts of cheap grain still covers cash costs and gives me $5 a day. Many of those don't get a stall when brought in for stored feed and more expensive grain ration. Those stalls will be lent to springing heifers that will at least promise to pay me back WITH INTEREST. Whether or not they each keep their promise - we'll see.

      At least I'm not like an old friend of my Dad who used to say " I always hope my neighbor has MORE luck then me ! If 1 cow dies for me - I hope 2 die for him!" haha (get it - more BAD luck)
      Last edited by RON11; 09-27-2018, 01:12 AM.

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      • #18
        Last winter I talked about some barn improvement projects we were planning for this summer. To remind everyone , I have a 72 tie stall barn , pipeline milking and upright silos for feed storage. Basically the most modern , technologically up to date labor efficient barn there is - IF you were farming in the 1950's , 60's or 70's ! haha. I really love working in my set-up and would NOT prefer any other.

        Well , my Pasture Mat Mattresses all of a sudden wore out last year. Perfect condition for a dozen years. Saw 1 hole 2 years ago. Now nearly every stall has holes dug through by the front feet. Until they suddenly went bad they were perfect. Comfortable for cows. Easy to clean and NO maintenance for me. Love them. Now they really must be replaced. Called the guys who had put them in but they said they don't like to install them any more. To costly to install. They like the thick rubber layered things. I hate rubber because cows push bedding and crap under them and they are a pain to maintain.

        Next I e-mailed the Pasture Mat mattress company and they gave me the name of 2 dealers some distance away. Had 1 come out to measure and give estimate. If you remember he said "Stalls won't last life of new mattresses so need to be replaced FIRST. Some of the stall platforms would be damaged replacing stalls and cant be fixed after mattresses were installed. AND if you were replacing stalls you need to knockout fronts and mangers so you should put in tiled mangers while you're at it." ESTIMATE - $33,000 BUT the actual bill would be "Time and Material". Basically you keep your checkbook open and they will take whatever they want as long as they want. Judging by what wasn't even listed on the estimate that would be $40,000 MINIMUM and probably more.

        I was only going to spend out of cash flow and that was before the TRUMP PENALTY FOR STUPID PEOPLE on farmers (tariffs). That ended up taking $24,000 per year out of the checkbook and I'm not even one of his stupid people. He says he loves stupid people. Why do stupid people love him ?? Anyway , I was thinking during milking cows that I like my stalls and I like my plastic manger liners. The only thing bad about the tie stalls was that some filler pipes were rusting off at the concrete .Filler pipes are the pipes that "fill in" the pipe arches . Between the pipe arches are where cows put their heads but the pipe arches need filler pipes to keep cow heads out of arches.The center pipe is used to hold a drinking cup 1 between every 2 cows. One other thing that I wanted with my stalls was a higher curb to hold more feed fed with motorized feed car without spilling over the curb.

        The plan I came up with was to raise the curb. That would give me the curb I wanted AND would encase the rusted off and weakened stall bottoms in cement . To make sure the new cap on top of the curb would not break off in chunks if a cow hit a rusted off pipe or pushed the cement cap while lunging to get up I did some things to make it undestructible. I ran a re-bar in front of and behind the stalls. Wired them to the stalls 1 1/2 inches up from existing curb. I bought bagged pre-mix that was crack resistant and had fiber in it. Thirdly I had more fiber added as we mixed it. I chose for us to mix it so we could do one side first then other side next. We could keep water going to pasture tanks from other end of barn that way.

        Did 25 stalls each in 2 separate pours. 1 brother ran mixer , I wheel borrowed and shoveled into forms , daughter (now in college) ran the vibrator , and Chuck Sekorski troweled and edged. The forms were 2x8 and 2x10's with blocks screwed across the top every 2 feet and pins drilled into the side of curb to hold the bottoms tight. We ended up with a very nice finished job. I think it's perfect !

        I did need to put in all new drinking cup pipes right away because we moved all the drinking cups 1 stall over so drinking cups would be mounted on new fresh pipe. The old ones were rusted thin and would probably have crushed in instead of keeping cups tight. Had the pipes cut to our measurement at the local small town hardware hank (Athens). Decent price on pipe with free cut and thread to our measurements. Only 3 recuts, Turned out perfect.

        Today I paid for the Pasture Mat brand mattresses. Previous quotes last winter were $10,000 not counting shipping from Green - Bay area. After I finished the stall curbs I was ready for the next step. Called the head office in Canada for Pasture Mat Co.. Asked for cheapest way to get their product. They put me through to US company rep in US. He said they reorganized the whole dealership network. He said all the dealers pay the same price AND that there was no longer any distributors. He said - "There is no longer half a warehouse full someplace where dealers go to get product. They place their order directly with the company and the co. arranges delivery. That's it." He said my closest dealer was Ellenbeckers in Athens Wis. That was only 7 miles away. Today I went to Ellenbeckers to inspect last weeks delivery and wrote a check fo $8,100 for ALL 72 STALLS. Not the 50 I planned last winter ! Now I can drive up there with a trailer of a flat hay rack and they'll load me and take mostly 7 miles of back roads home. Much better ! Should start installing next week when Chuck gets back from vacation.

        KH if you happen to be driving by during the day feel free to check out the remodeled stall curbs and when we get some mattresses in , those too .You can see my headlocks (grazing season only) which I don't see anywhere else but turns my tie stall barn into a parlor - sort of (no tying or untying of cattle).
        During chores is probably not too good because I am doing chores alone and so cows are getting scared of strangers again. Youngest daughter left for UW Madison in August.

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        • #19
          Don't plan on much work tomorrow so I'm going to do a bit more writing. The revamping the stalls so they'll last at least as long as I do costed about $2,500. $1,000 for Chuck the general contractor. $1000 for new water pipe and fittings. $300 for bagged cement mix .$100 for re-bar. $100 for odds and ends. Obviously that is a cash flow project.

          Was running ahead through spring and summer. Calving season went smooth. Cows milked really well. Grass was cheap as it always is . Trump tax on stupid people slowed things down a bit. Had enough ahead to pay for baling 50 bales of dry third crop and bale and wrap 150 bales for baleage ($2000). Gave 15 acres to brother which he made 15 tons of third crop baleage for himself. Hired custom manure haulers to empty pit 1 mile away to my grass hay fields. Half that distance is on the freeway. (Since we still have at grade access it is technically a thoroughfare). Manure hauling averages a little over $5000 per year plus the 300 gallons of diesel they take. Paid $8100 for the mattresses today. Have $3000 left in checkbook AND tomorrow , oops I mean today is PAYDAY !! I'm doing alright.

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          • #20
            Ron, Sounds like you had an interesting year. As I expected!. Your calving problems reminds me of my years as a deliverance provider. [movie reference] except I often times wound up on the wrong end. Our cows were always in stalls. so their body conditioning was suspect. So more trouble getting up if even any hint of milk fever.

            Calves sucking is a very common problem on all farms with calves fed in group pens. But i've fed calves from hutches which were compulsive suckers. Using robot feeders makes the problems worse. the calves are fed multiple times during the day. But they quickly learn its feeding time. Since only one or two calves can eat at a time and everybody is lined up they suck on their pen mates. Nothing seems to stop that habit, Those little plastic sucker stoppers are like wrapping porn in a brown paper wrapper and thinks its going to stop horny guy from looking!

            I can't give a detailed run down on my expenses and successes as a crop farmer/ day laborer. But I will say that I sold too little too late and now i will sell too much for too little. Trumps trade policies have not been a great success for farmers. Other businesses may gain in the long run but farmers are screwed for a long time. Dairy will see lower input prices for their operations. But soo far bean meal has not gone down. Oh wait That's not on the tariff list. so dairy guys getting shafted also.

            I'll send you a PM and see your new improvements. I always enjoy talking farming. Way more fun than arguing about what our one vote accomplished or didn't

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            • #21
              Ron , Back to your comment in the first paragraph in your post no. 17
              I got news for you , It was NOT just the ag sector that gave Trump the win . Remember , Trump had to first win the primaries against a whole slew of Republican contenders , which he did .
              And quite honestly , I do believe the dems could have won the election , but all of you " INTELLEGENT " people picked who ??? Oh Ya , Hillary . So really , it was all you dems who handed the election to the Donald .
              I meet a lot of people doing what we do now and I am truly amazed at the large number of very smart , successful , business people who voted Trump and strongly support his trade and tariff policy even if it means some hardship to get even , fair , trade again . Its quite possible that what you think is " INTELLEGENCE " is really nothing more than " IGNORANT ARROGANCE " .

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              • #22
                Dan dan Dan, Shame on you for calling Ron's thoughts ignorant arrogance

                Very likely you're telling the truth. But the words truth and liberal are an oxymoron and should never be used in the same sentence so Ron will never understand his short comings.

                But he is a pretty good farmer. He still is a ****y tugger and us?????

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