Here is one of the ration recipe sheets we get from our dairy’s nutritionist that we use to feed our cows for their dietary needs. This single shows just five of our seven different rations for the many different groups of cows we have. We group cows based on several factors such as milk production, pregnancy, and age to make sure they receive the most nutritive feed possible and remain healthy. This sheet is similar to those found on dairies everywhere and is not unique to just our dairy and as you can see corn is just one of the many things cows eat.
On our farm we use eartags to give each animal an unique identifier that allows us to keep important health records for each animal. Here are a few pictures that show the tags up close.
The tags are applied in a similar fashion to earrings through a soft portion of the ear. Each tag is self contained and is clean and sterile.
The information of the tags includes our farm brand (starting at the very top of the biggest tag), next is the unique “840” number assigned to only this animal in the United States, followed by the unique number for our farm, in this case 2129. The small white tag has the same numbers and also id an EID tag that contains an RFID information. We currently do not utilize the RFID tag outside of visual use however are we will be implementing the electronic reading in the future to help with efficiency and to eliminate human error.
Here is a cow picture for Wordless Wednesday.
These cows were just moved into this pasture yesterday and are relaxing in the grass. With all the late rains we had here in the Central Valley and now the heat the grass is growing very quickly in the pasture. these cows need to get up and get to work eating it down!
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Today I’m doing maintenance work on one of the major pieces in our cow comfort system the soakers that help keep the cows cool during the summer.
Here is a picture of the cows enjoying the cool shower just like kids playing in the sprinkler do during the summer.
The soakers come turn on to soak the cows and then are off for a period of time to allow the water to evaporate and creating evaporative cooling. This type of cooling is the same cooling feeling you get right after getting out of a swimming pool on a hot day. We locate the soakers over the cows food so they are more comfortable while eating and their food intake stay’s up during hot days when they need the energy.
This controller uses the temperature at the cow level to adjust the on and off times so the optimum cooling of the cows is maintained.
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Many times we get asked the question “What do you do with all the poop from the cows?”.
Here is a look into what goes into providing the cows on our farm clean soft comfortable beds to lie in. The pictures are from start to finish and show how we take solid manure sterilize and dry it, with a process similar to composting, the finished product is essentially soil we then use for bedding. On our farm we use 95% of the solid manure from the cows as bedding as an effort to recycle all we can and leave a minimal environmental footprint.
Our dairy is located to the west of Yosemite National Park in California’s Central Valley and on extremely clear days we get a great view of Half Dome that you can see in this picture.
The cattle on our dairy farm eat diets that are made specifically for them by a ruminant nutritionist. Here on the dairy we mix together individual ingredients to make a ration that is then fed to the cattle. In addition we do have some pasture to supplement the rations.
The ingredients are:
Dried Distillers Grain – this is the grain left from brewing and distilling spirits and is a good source of fat and protein.
Almond Hulls – Outer protective skin when the Almond grows on the tree
Cotton Seed – the inner part of the cotton boll that is left after the cotton fiber is removed
Various silages – made from Corn Plants, and various small grain plants
Various minerals and vitamins
We also include steamed flaked corn, water and some concentrated energy additives to make the ration.
To learn more about technical information on cattle rations please visit the blog of my great friend Jeff Fowle he is currently doing a series of posts on cattle nutrition.
Wordless Wednesday is a blog concept where a picture is posted and words are not the focus of the posting. We have decided to join in on the WW fun and started last week with “Can I get a hand for an itch?”.
Do you have a picture you would like to see?
For this week and weeks to come please send in you requests for various piuctures from around the dairy and we will do our best to post them. If you have a request just leave a comment to this post.