combine driving down road

Fall harvest safety

Along with shorter days and cooler temperatures comes the fall harvest.  Everyone on the farm knows this means there is a lot of work to be done in a short amount of time.  The unusually wet fall has led to impatience to get out in the fields and get harvest done. One of the first […]

White Park beef calf with anti-nursing tag inserted in the nose.

Low-stress weaning part 2

Weaning is the process of acclimating a mammal to eating food other than milk and removing dependency on the mother.  In nature this process occurs gradually, over time.  After hitting the peak of lactation, the milk supply from the mother will slowly decrease.  At the same time the milk supply decrease is occurring, the social […]

White Park beef cows and crossbred calves on pasture.

Low-stress weaning part 1

With the changing of seasons comes a change in farmer schedules.  In a few weeks many beef farmers will begin weaning calves off of the cows on pasture.  This is a stressful time for both the cow and calf.  “Traditional” weaning calls for an abrupt separation of the cow and calf.  This results in the […]

Close up of a head of cabbage that has just been picked on other freshly picked cabbages.

Succession Planting & Cold-Hardy Vegetables

In Wisconsin we often don’t think about being able to get multiple crops of vegetables out of the same space in one year.  With some careful planning you can grow a spring crop and a fall crop of cold-hardy vegetables. Spring vegetables like peas, lettuce, radishes, spinach, etc. at some point will start to look […]

white bowl filled with different colored eggs on a wooden counter

Poultry Layer Lighting

The leaves are starting to change color.  Soon the leaves will be starting to fall.  As a poultry owner, one of the things that you don’t want to fall is your egg production. Many of us in rural areas are keeping chickens or other poultry these days.  The excitement of different breeds and feather colors […]

Jersey cattle eating silage in a headlock freestall barn.

Quality silage

Quality feed is very important for production of milk on a farm.  Cows are fed a total mixed ration (TMR) that is balanced according to the nutritional needs of the animal.  Energy in the diet is especially important for dairy cattle for daily production of milk, support of digestive health, and for effective utilization of […]

Relative humidity (%) is on the vertical axis, while temperature is on the horizontal axis. Plotted together, these two variables show heat index. This chart is broken down into 4 categories of increasing concern: caution (light yellow), extreme caution (yellow), danger (orange), and extreme danger (red).

Be Heat Smart

When you are focused on “getting the job done”, your health, or the health of your helpers can suffer if you aren’t careful.  Many of you probably check the weather in the morning before starting your day.  You are probably looking to see if there is rain in the forecast and how warm it is supposed to get for the day.  That’s a great start.  One more thing you should add to your list of weather-related items to check for the day is the heat index.  The heat index is a measure that combines relative humidity (or dew point) and air temperature to approximate what the air temperature actually “feels like”.  The heat index is also what is used to help determine when it is “safe” to haul livestock.

Garlic mustard seedling on brown soil background.

Garlic Mustard, A Threat to the Wooded Areas of Wisconsin

Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) is an introduced species in North America that was originally brought here by settlers from Europe.  Part of the reason that the settlers brought the plant here was for use in cooking due to the garlic-like scent/flavor that the name implies.  One of the issues with garlic mustard is that none of the insects and diseases that would naturally control the population of plants are present in North America. 

Black baldie cow on green pasture background. Body areas to look for fat are numbered: 1-backbone, 2-ribs, 3-tailhead, as well as hooks & pins, 4-brisket, 5-flanks.

Body Condition Scoring in Spring

There are several points in the year that are a good time to re-evaluate beef cattle body condition scores.  Ideally, body condition is evaluated on a monthly basis as it is a road map to ensuring your cattle have the nutrition they need. Beef cattle are generally evaluated on a nine point scoring system.  The major areas of evaluation for fat cover include the spine, ribs, hook & pin bones, brisket fill, and presence of tailhead fat. 

Picture of a messy desk.

Moving Recordkeeping Towards Financial Management

This is the time of year that many farmers dread: the culmination of a year of receipts, tax season!  You painstakingly keep track of purchases, livestock sold, crop sold, depreciation on equipment, etc. All of this hard work and effort cumulates into the famed schedule F (and other forms) to complete your taxes.  Whew!  Another season under the belt. Wait, don’t stop there.