Im new here, figured Id give some background on myself.
The two issues I will be strongly adressing are dairy farming and diesel engines. I will also branch out to other forms of agriculture but not too much.
The reason I am only adressing these two topics is because I have strong knowledge in them and other topics I do not and I am short on time with a busy schedule.
Heres my background.
I live on a large dairy farm in wisconsin. We milk 800 Jersey Dairy Cows and raise 900 replacements. We also have 400 jersey steers.
Why the jersey steers?? Two things. The first thing most of you will apreciate. Curently Jersey bull calves are worth about 1-5 dollars at birth, so most are killed at birth. Some are bought and raised but jerseys do not yield half as much meat as a holstien.
However jersey beef has been going through some vigorous tests and has been found to be mor elean and healthier as well as more tender.
Our cows are raised in a freestall setup during lactation. Dry cows are on a lot in the winter and in the summer have the lot with acess to a TMR(Total mixed ration) and pasture. bred heifers are on pasture with access to TMR. Young heifers are spread across 5 of our farms and are fed a special grain mix and hay daily as well as bedded weekly or sooner.
Perhaps the nicest thing about our farm (besides the shop
) is our calf barn. We have well over $400,000 invested into housing just 208 calves. However due to the technologies we have implemented our mortality rate is at or below 1% at all times. The barn is a highly sophisticated setup and has drawn attention from farmers around the world. It features 4 individual sections each holding 52 calves. Each calf has its own pen divided with poly dividers, and a headlock up front for administering shot and such. Our reason for seperating them was biosecurity. One section is always left vacant for 1 month. Before it its left to sit, all of the calves are removed from it and transferred to another farm. Then the workers have a daunting task, sterilizing it. They start by pulling every single poly divider out and hauling all of the waste out. Then they individually steam clean each divider and every last inch of the section of the building. we also inject a sterilizing solution into the steam cleaner.
When the calve are in the barn to entire floor is sloped to control wetness of the bedding. The floors have in floor heating which is constantly keeping the floor at ideal temperature. There is a 12" ventilation fan that pushes outside air into the section during the winter months. When we built the shed we left a .5" gap between the wall and the ceiling to allow the air to exchange in winter months. The curtains are of their own breed. They are climate controlled and automatically raise and lower to keep the pens at 50 degrees. Calves are bedded every other day with crushed corn cobs to eliminate dust. They floors are rinsed and swept ever day as well.
In the mixing room we have a 100 gallon batch pastuerizer which is completely automatic and computer controlled to pastuerize milk and keep it warm for the next feeding. we only feed raw milk, no replacer as jerseys need a lot of milkfat. For washing bottles and pails we have a HObart industrial dishwasher.
Milking cows are milked in a small double 7 parlor. This parlor is considered by many to be seriously undersized, and at peak effieciency it still takes 10 hours to milk all 800 cows once.
In our freestall barn the cows lay on pasture mats which are cleaned and rebedded twice daily. We also have ally scrapers which clean the allies every 15 minutes. In the summer we have fans and misters running to keep them cool as well as plenty of ventilation. In the winter the top ridge is sealed and the curtains are closely monitored to keep the barn around 45 degrees which has been shown to be comfortable. We do not use all day lighting as it was not cost effective.
One of the very unique things about our farm is our cow management. We were one of the first farms to implement ID necklaces and Dairy Comp 305. Each one of these neclaces costs over 100 dollars(x950 cows= $95,000 in just necklaces) and relies vital information to us about each cow. Each time a cow enters the parlor it scans them and rememebers what order that cow came in. It then tells us everything we need to know about that cows milk and how much she gave and sends it to the computer. IUt also tracks heat activity and lets us know if the cow is in heat.
The Computer is like a computer at the doctors office. Everything we over needed to know about the cows family and treatments/diseases are in the system, this way mixups are minimized and rarely happen unless a cow looses its necklace.
We can also enter in which cows need to be treated and it will automatically sort them out as they exit the parlor.
We use artificial insemination on all of our cows and do i ourselves. 4 of us are AI certified including me. Using AI allows us to breed healty long living cows and reduce imbreeding. We do have a clean up bull for the occasional cow who wont settle.
All cows are fed a TMR. Whcih consists mostly of corn silage, haylage and ground corn. We also feed corn gluten, dry hay, soybean meal and a specially blended mineral/protien mix. But the biggest advantage for feedstuffs we have is sweet corn silage. Its high in energy and cows love it. We see a 2lb gain per cow, and the best part is that its free except for trucking.
Now on the issue of BST, yes we do use it. However what some dont understand is that not every single cow gets it. Only cows that are bred right and prove they can benefit from it. There are only a handful of cows fit to eat a high energy diet and actually use the BST.
As or our cropping we run 1100 acres and utilize crop rotations, and minimum tillage as well as GPS technologies with autosteer. We are also working on using more fuel effiecient equipment such as Fendt tractors and such. Our payloader is a great example. Its a Volvo L60E which sips 1.4 gallons of fuel per hour and its not a small loader. The Same size CATERPILLAR uses over 3 gallons per hour.
As for manure we can only store it for 7 days and then its time to haul out 100,000 gallons. We frequently test field to decide where and when to haul it.
On the topic of manure we also have what is called a compost barn. Its a new practice and has worked great. Cows are bedded every 2 weeks with a semi load of saw dust. Then twice a day we run across it with an 8' rototiller. Basically the cows are living on an active compost pile and they love it. Its warm and soft. All of our cows with foor ant leg issues get put in that barn to heal.
Now as for diesel, I am currently on my way to be an ASE certified Diesel Technician and am a diesel fanatic of anything diesel. I am really into high performance stuff and have tuned my personal duramax to 1085lb-ft of torque and 512hp. And the best thing about that tune is that it is smoke free.
There is plenty mor ei could share but this post is lenghty enough. I have a tendancy to mispell too so bear with me.
Any questions just ask.