Dairy Excel: Things to remember as the rain falls


Planning – (verb) the ongoing process of developing the farm business’ mission, goals and detailed tactics to clearly focus activities toward the most productive and rewarding ends. Planning includes problem solving and decision making.

OK, so most of us planned to have all the corn planted and the first cutting hay made and possibly the second cutting well under way by June 12.

According to this week’s weather forecast, it is not very likely that much more field work happened between the time this column was written and the time you are reading it.

That leaves the collective dairy and field crop industry in northeast Ohio with a lot of seed still in the machinery shed, spray in the tank and first cutting hay that hasn’t felt a cutter bar.

If, by chance, the weather man was wrong, and I’ll hope he was, this would be a good time to go on to the next article.

Looking ahead. Planning at this point focuses around making the best of a poor situation, being ready to mitigate the effects of delayed planting and harvest at the first opportunity.

A next step is to decide when it is time to change crops, planting strategies or careers.

Assuming you have already taken advantage of the frequent opportunities to do routine and extra repairs and maintenance on planting and forage harvesting equipment, you have never been so ready to jump into the fields as soon as conditions are right.

Emphasize safety. School is out and extra help is available. Use only responsible youth who will do the job right. Train them to safely work around machinery, equipment and livestock.

Remember that kids are not miniature adults. Even the adolescent males who drink a gallon of milk for a snack do not have the experience and judgment to make right decisions around farm machinery just because they are big.

Experience and your careful training and mentoring develop those attributes. Contact your local Farm Bureau and ask for their fact sheet about age- and maturity-appropriate jobs for youth.

Good news. Heifer hay abounds, both in the field and out. We’re happy to have it. There is still the better part of the summer to make good, dairy quality hay.

With cooler temperatures accompanying the rain, heat stress has not yet kicked in this summer. Use these “cool and wet” opportunities to make sure fans are up and running because it will eventually get hot.

What to plant? To plant or to trade in your seed corn? For you crop types, visit your local dairyman before trading for shorter day-length seed corn.

Chances are, they will be in the market for silage corn in the fall. With corn planting across the country going well, you may get a better return growing corn for silage rather than as a cash grain crop.

Don’t get too antsy to change cropping plans. At this point, corn for silage is still the best forage crop for dairy cows.

While potential yields are declining, corn for silage still has alternative forages beat for both yield and quality of feed.

Take a cruise. If all else fails, take up a community collection to send you on that Alaskan cruise you wanted to take.

The selling point? As soon as you leave, the weather will break and they can get their crops in while you plan your next move on deck in a lounge chair watching great scenery go by.

(The author is the northeast Ohio district dairy specialist with OSU Extension. Send comments or questions in care of Farm and Dairy, P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460.)


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