This week we are blessed with liquid sunshine-rain! Because we didn't get the rain earlier in the growing season for our crops, we have had to run our irrigation pivots. Pivots are like a giant sprinkler for your fields, that rotate around the field from a specific point. They are hooked up to power and some type of water resource. The larger ones have wheels and automatically rotate around the field, either partially or fully.
This is a new pivot we started using this year, on a soybean field across from our house. It moves very slowly to get the right amount of water on the beans.
Farmers use various forms of technology every day. An irrigation pivot is a tool that we use to help ensure that we will have enough of a crop to feed our cows. Too little rain, and we could have a poor crop year. Because we grow the majority of our cow feed, the weather plays a very important role in the cows diet. With enough rain this week, we might not have to run the pivot for several days-that would be good!
There's plenty to do on a rainy day. There's always something that needs fixed, so the farm shop is usually a busy place on a day like today. We are working on our chopper. This is a machine that "chops" the crops for feed. We will be chopping hay, called "haylage", in about a week. Look back for pictures on that.
My husband and I sometimes need to spend more time in the office. We have a 1930's Sears and Roebuck house that we lived in when we first got married. We had 2 children in this one bedroom house-let's just say, it was full! In December of 1991, we moved to the main farm and my husband's parents moved into a new house. That next Spring, we brought our little house to the farm and made an office out of it. With a little remodeling, it works perfect!! And remember, farming is a business too, and just like any other business, office work is always there waiting for someone to do it! That's my main job at the farm, along with many others.
So a rainy day is a perfect day to catch up on all those little things you put off doing when the sun is shining.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Welcome to The Milk Can!
I am so excited to tell you all of the great things about being a dairy farmer in this blog. Every day, yes, 365 days a year, we are living the story of the American Farmer.
Dreaming the dream of owning our own land. Because, about 99% of all U.S. dairy farms are family-owned and operated, just like ours. And every day we are raising animals in a healthy environment to help feed the world.
Feed the world, you say? Yes, feed the world. Nearly 60,000 U.S. dairy farms provide milk, cheese, yogurt and other dairy products to the U.S. and other countries. U.S. dairy farms produce roughly 21 billion gallons of milk annually.
A cow will produce an average of 6.3 gallons of milk each day. That’s more than 2,300 gallons each year. Most milk only travels about 100 miles from the dairy to the grocery store to ensure farm-fresh quality. To be sure you get a safe product, milk and dairy foods undergo extensive quality and safety testing before they reach the grocery store. In fact, dairy foods are one of the most highly regulated foods you will consume.
Milking machines deliver milk directly from the cows to a refrigerated holding tank to preserve freshness and ensure safety. The milk is then quickly transported to processing plants for continued freshness and safety. And isn't it wonderful? There's nothing better than a good cold glass of milk.
So stay tuned in to "The Milk Can" and I will help to educate you and your family on the benefits of being a Michigan farmer, and share in the joy (and sometimes the sorrow) of being a dairy farmers wife.
Until next time,