One of our hay fields is due to be rotated this year. It has been producing alfalfa-grass mix hay since 1998. Thirteen years of production is fairly substantial, especially considering that it was seriously damaged in flood of ’96.
It finally reached a point this year where the production fell below five ton per acre and it is inundated with undesirables; weeds that we are unable to spray to eliminate without also killing the alfalfa, the fescue or the orchard grass. Read more…
I previously had a post on my thoughts on the Farm Bill. Since then, I have put together some more thoughts on Federal programs, regulations and the deficit. For those who know me, I do not like to “beat around the bush” and so I plan on sharing a couple of posts in very frank and simple terms on issues that politicians have made very complicated. The House, Senate and President have wasted enough time talking and I am offering some straight forward recommendations in less than 2000 pages.
The Federal government spends more than it takes in and wastes much of what it does spend. If the Federal government does not balance the budget, reduce the deficit and onerous regulatory burden on business, our country is in serious trouble. All entitlements, programs and departments must be “put on the table” and either undergo serious reform or be eliminated, to truly reduce the debt, balance the budget and return our country to one that promotes initiative, business and private sector job growth.
1. Phase out all direct payments and subsidies for crops as well as credits for manufacturing and blending of ethanol over three years. Read more…
I recorded the Oprah show, Go Vegan For A Week, that aired last week with Michael Pollan as a guest and the topic being veganism. I finally had a bit of time to watch and digest what had been said. Because society is no longer connected to the food that they eat, shows such as this tend to make me a bit nervous. Call me paranoid, but when a major celebrity, a popular documentarian and an author are giving advice to a million plus people on “healthy” eating, I get skeptical. On issues pertaining to health and diet, consult a doctor and for information on agriculture, talk to a farmer or rancher. There were three primary “nuggets” that I thought were of significant importance, one of which I found myself in partial agreement with Michael Pollan and another with Oprah Winfrey.
First, I was impressed by the inclusion of the video from Lisa Ling’s visit to Cargill. While it may have been “shocking” to those not familiar with the beef industry, it represented how agriculture has changed by blending efficiency, quality and animal welfare. Cargill, as shown in the video, has implemented modern technology, handling methodology and designs by Temple Grandin that reduce stress on animals. What I really appreciated about this video was the fact that a major company was willing to allow cameras to enter one of their facilities to share their part of the agricultural story. Read more…
I have now written seven posts pertaining to feeds and the feeding of cattle, with the hope to explain with clarity two things: corn is not the only feed fed to cattle and grass finishing cattle is less efficient than grain finishing.
Do not take this the wrong way, please. I have nothing against grass finished cattle. In fact, I fully support the marketing of the product as a wonderful opportunity to offer consumers more choices. In fact, I raise some grass-fed to meet that specific market.
What I do take exception to is when some individuals make claims that are untrue and misleading.
Claim: Grass finished cattle take the same amount of time to reach their end point.
Grass is wonderful for growing cattle, but due to the low digestible energy (DE), when compared to grain, is not an efficient means to finish cattle. Grain finished cattle reach an endpoint around 13 – 15 months of age, while grass finished cattle reach an endpoint around 19 – 23 months. An animals breed, genetics and frame size also play a role in determining how quickly an animal will reach their endpoint. However, the biggest factor is the animals diet; high energy yields quicker gains and lower energy yields slower gains.
So far I have discussed what influences the nutrient requirements for animals and have provided some basic information regarding feed values for several popular feedstuffs. In this post, I will try to explain in simple terms, how a ration is formulated, after knowing what the requirements are.
When feeding concentrates, it is often necessary to blend two or more feeds together into a mixture that contains the required nutrients for the specific animal.
- Draw a square.
- Write the % crude protein for the final ration in the middle of the square.
- Write your grain, with its % crude protein on the upper left corner.
- Write your protein supplement, with its % crude protein on the lower left corner.
- Subtract the %CP of your grain, from the %CP of the ration and write on the lower right corner. This will tell you the parts of supplement necessary.
- Subtract the %CP of the ration, from the %CP of the supplement and write on the top right corner. This will tell you the parts of grain necessary.
- Add the two results together and use this as the denominator to determine the percentages of each on a Cwt basis