The preservation and restoration of old barns

CN-MR-1-The preservation 1by George Looby, DVM

One of the many delights of traveling the back roads of the northeastern states is the sight of the many old barns that dot the countryside. Each one is a testimony to the families who built and worked in them for decades, each unique in its own way but all filling the basic need for livestock shelter and the storage of fodder. For those children fortunate enough to have grown up familiar with such structures, memories of jumping in the hay mow is long remembered and the scent of new mown June hay lingers for a lifetime. Perhaps less nostalgic are the memories of mowing away that same hay on a sweltering June afternoon, a 5 ft. tall, 10 year old frame wrestling with a 6 ft. pitch fork handle, hoping that the arrival of the next load from the track high up on the ridgepole might be delayed for just a few minutes. That seldom happened. [Read more…]

Balancing nutrition for grazing dairy herds

by Tamara Scully

When it comes to milk production, dry matter intake is key. Learning to balance the quality and availability of pasture forages with the protein and energy needed in the dairy cow diet is one of the challenges when grazing. Many variables occur when grazing that affect the nutritional quality of the pasture forages. Managing a grazing program can be rewarding, but challenging, for dairy producers.

“No matter if a cow is grazing or totally confined, her milk production will be largely based on the total amount of dry matter consumed,” Mike Thresher, dairy specialist with Morrison’s Custom Feeds said. “The more a cow can consume, the more that gets turned into milk production.” [Read more…]

Selecting traits that work at White Clover Sheep Farm

CW-MR-2-White clover sheep1by Sally Colby

After visiting a sheep farm as a youngster, Ulf Kintzel decided he wanted to become a shepherd. He spent school vacations working on that farm, and eventually did an apprenticeship in Germany to become a shepherd.

“There was something appealing to me about sheep,” said Kintzel, who moved to the United States in 1995 after graduating with a degree in agricultural engineering. “I was never intrigued the same way by cattle, goats or other livestock.” [Read more…]

A new era of regulation

CM-MR-2-A new era 1by Steve Wagner
At the 45th Cattle Feeder’s Day held at Lancaster, PA’s Farm and Home Center on Jan. 28, Penn State Extension Veterinarian Dr. Dave Wolfgang fielded questions at the end of his presentation on wise use of antibiotics. In his talk, he referenced what he called a new era of regulation. Because some farmers see regulation as the enemy or as over-regulation or even regulatory over-reach, Wolfgang went on the record as saying that exacting records keeping can only protect the farmer. [Read more…]

Cold an extra challenge as Kegley Farms adopts new Lely robotic milking system

CM-MR-3-Cold 2by Karl H. Kazaks

PULASKI, VA — “We knew it was going to be a transition,” said Bill Kegley. “The cold weather has made it that much more of a challenge.”

On Oct. 22, Kegley Farms opened a new milking barn with four Lely Astronaut milkers. Since then, the farm — like much of eastern part of the nation — has experienced a number of unusually cold days, with air temperatures dropping on several occasions to below zero. [Read more…]