Forage suitability groups: finally taking root?

C4-MR-2-Forage suitability 1by Tamara Scully

“There are very few states where Natural Resources Conservation Services staff have developed and completed all Forage Suitability Groups (FSGs) for their state,” Kevin Ogles, grazing specialist with NRCS said. “There are not any NRCS states in the Eastern U.S. that have completed them. However, recently most Eastern U.S. NRCS states have begun the process and will have them completed in a few years.” [Read more…]

Is the team approach right for your dairy?

C4-MR-1-Is the team 1by Sally Colby

While the ‘team’ concept might sound like something from a sports league, the term also applies to dairies that want to work together for everyone’s good.

Dairy profit teams have been used effectively on dairies of many sizes. Dairies that have formed teams have found that team approach help everyone who is associated with that farm: the veterinarian, lender, nutritionist, agronomist all work together effectively for better profit. [Read more…]

Flowing Spring Farm carves niche as quality Gelbvieh producer

CM-MR-3-Flowing Spring 3by Karl H. Kazaks
ATKINS, VA — Virginia does not have a Gelbvieh association breed sale. Larger breeders can have their own on-farm sales, like Knoll Crest or Little Windy Hills. Smaller breeders can submit cattle to test stations, sell off the farm, or consign to other sales.

Charlie Atkins of Flowing Spring Farm has raised Gelbvieh for over 25 years and has tried all of those methods. Lately, though, he’s decided to market his cattle through two main channels: selling off the farm and at Echo Ridge Angus’s annual fall sale (their Black Friday sale). [Read more…]

Close attention at calving time pays off

C4-MR-3-Close attention 1by Sally Colby

When there’s trouble during a calving, someone on the farm is usually willing and able to don an obstetric sleeve and help that cow safely deliver the calf. But the decision to assist a cow should be a part of careful observation skills and overall good cow sense. [Read more…]

Maness uses lanes and a mclanahan sand separator to reclaim clean bedding sand

CM-MR-3-Maness uses 1by Karl H. Kazaks

STATESVILLE, NC — There’s something about doubling your herd size that makes you reconsider how to manage and handle inputs.

That’s how Jeff Maness decided to take a new approach to reclaiming bedding sand on his dairy. He went from dredging sand from manure pits to using passive settling lanes and a 36-inch McLanahan sand-manure separator to catch the majority of his dairy’s sand before it reaches the pits.

By installing the sand catching system, M & M Dairy (a partnership between Maness and his wife Carolyn) has cut its sand use by 95 percent.

Five years ago, the dairy was buying about five tractor trailer loads of sand a week, when milking 800 cows.
“It was a huge expense,” Maness said. [Read more…]