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Thread: THE FW PONY CLUB Quilt-Along Week 6 Broken Heart & Boy's Playmate Photo Page

  1. #131
    Super Member oksewglad's Avatar
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    Drum roll........The answer is--a common term for rating a dairy cow on her body characteristics based on a set of standard criteria. Yeah well you could call it a beauty contest. But many of the characterisics are determined by sound reasons, i.e. good set of feet and legs (keeps the cow mobile so she can get to the feed bunk to eat to make milk) or proper udder attachments and teat placements (poor attachments and the udder "falls"--you gotta keep the milker on)
    Today an official from our breed association came and scored our milking cows today. Classification "scores" are broken up into Excellent (90+ pts), VeryGood (89-80), Desirable (79-70), Acceptable (69-60), and Poor (59 or less). Only cows that have calved 2x or more can be scored EX. We added 2 EX cows to the herd making a total of 6 in the herd, 28 VG, 24 D, and 1 A. Because the traits are inheritable we use the information to improve the physical characteristics of the herd and it is a marketing tool as well. Each animal has a special registration # showing DOB, dam, sire, and owner which can be traced back for generations.
    And what QE says about milk testing and milk pricing is true for us as well.

    ggal--yes a full time dairy; cows are milked here (110) and heifers at our son's. How interesting that you sold feed. Next to our veterinarian, our nutritionist is one of the important "tools" at our dairy!

    OBTW we also keep extensive health and reproduction information on every cow.

    End of Lesson II of DySci101
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    I donate quilts to the AAQI.

  2. #132
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    Hip Hip Hooray for the OKSGlad Guernsey Herd!!!!
    What an awesome day today for you folks ... I'm so PROUD of you!
    I too know the excitement of a good classification. And too, the disappointments.

    When we received our first Excellent cow, a few nights later we had an Excellent Party ... inviting our many dairy farm friends (and OK a few family too) to come and celebrate with a corn roast and summer party!! A lot of intended puns were part of the night ... and of course, the official dress of the night was B&W!! (at that time we were only Holstein, so no brown!) A few years later when we received our first Excellent for a Jersey ... yes, we had another party!

    A few extra notes from the Canadian perspective ... our classification system is very similar, as there are a lot of animals marketed cross-border (and around the world) for their genetics, our breed associations, genetic organizations and dairy events work very closely together. Also, semen and embryos are marketed cross borders. Our classification scoring system is slightly different Excellent (90-100), Very Good (85-89), Good Plus (80-84), Good (75-79), Fair (70-74) and Poor (under 69).

    An animal may be classified at one score, and can move upwards within the class to a higher score, and eventually onwards to the next level. However, she does need to have another calf before she can be "shown" again for those considerations. Even if she declines in appearance, she will never lose her status.

    As
    OKSGlad mentioned ... the traits are more than just the "beauty" of the cow but the likelihood that she can produce larger volumes of milk. Important too, is her "spring of rib" ... meaning that barrel like gut! Not that she is fat, but that she has the "capacity" to eat lots particularly a high forage (hays) diet, process it, maintain good body condition (here's where the earlier discussion crosses paths!). That good body condition is important as a "fat cow" (poor body condition) will be just that, fat and not produce those large volumes of milk that the dairy farmer is looking for, to make his income!

    Like
    OKSGlad, our farm was very reliant on a skilled Dairy Nutritionist. All our home grown feeds were sent to the lab for analysis and then rations were developed to ensure our cattle were fed well, and that it was done the most efficient and economicaly manner. Those records that GGal mentioned are used to determine the quantity and quality of feeds each of the cows received. Eg. a cow producing 70 lbs per day, does not need the same amount of feed as one producing 100 lbs; and one producing 5% Butterfat, needs a different ration/proportion than one only producing 3%. (again, part of the earlier discussions!)

    Dairy Farming has become very scientific ... no longer do you just toss some feed to the cow!



    GGal ... Yes, sometimes people seem to refuse to use the best info available to them. As you identified ... there are good producers, and some are not the best. Just the same as we see in most walks of life, right? There are some great herds in Indiana! We often sold cattle into your area .... also OKSGlad's ... actually to most States at some point, and many countries around the world.

    And now our dear friends ... you have heard more about Dairy Farming from OKSGlad and myself, than perhaps you ever wanted to read!
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  3. #133
    Super Member JeanieG's Avatar
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    Wow, I think that this information is very interesting. Thanks for the "cow" raising lessons!

  4. #134
    Super Member oksewglad's Avatar
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    You're welcome, Jeanie! But I think that we may have overwhelmed everyone at this point. Just goes to show how much is involved in everyday farming! My paper chase is endless with farm income and expense records, cow "genealogy" both current and past (I save info from cows no longer in the herd to use as marketing tools), advertising, milk production and herd health records. Thank goodness DS deals with all herd health--veterinarian comes 2x a month just for herd check ups. DDIL handles all heifer related records. Hoof trimmer comes every 2 months. Makes me tired just to think of it!
    Don't worry spider.
    I keep house
    casually.
    ---Basho
    I donate quilts to the AAQI.

  5. #135
    Super Member dublb's Avatar
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    I would've never guessed. Neat! My Aunt & Uncle had a dairy cow & her calf 25 or 30 yrs ago. They live half way between Midland & Odessa on 5 acres. About 10 yrs ago they leased a half section just north of their place & started with 3 cows. They had a neighbor who had moved & needed a place for his 2 cows & a bull. They did not milk these cows. Just sold some of the calves. They had about built it up to around 12 or 13 cows when the owners of the land sold it. My Uncle had to sell his cows in a month.
    Bev
    My initials are BB, so dublb is double B.

  6. #136
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeanieG View Post
    Wow, I think that this information is very interesting. Thanks for the "cow" raising lessons!
    And we could go on ........ and on!!
    But y'all wouldn't want us to!
    That might be pushing the limits


    Yup ... the paper chase ... I can't say I miss that part!
    And with time it has only gotten deeper and broader as to the paper trails.
    Though I did enjoy the genealogy part ... I maintained all those. And had the delight in selecting the names!
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  7. #137
    Super Member gardnergal970's Avatar
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    QuiltE...you must have had a top herd to sell around the world. I commend you. That must have meant that you showed a lot of animals to get the word out. I know for a couple of my producers, that was a very important part of their summer work on top of making hay. I loved to go to a good show and sit next to a top producer and hear his/her comments.

  8. #138
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    Thanks GGal ... For the better part any sales were the bottom or middle of our herd, but met the requirements that the buyers were looking for. We were striving to keep the better animals to continually upgrade the quality in our herd. Although, there were times that we let the higher dollars persuade us the sale was the best thing for us at the time. Of course, if we hadn't sold the animal, the next day she could break a leg or drop dead, so it was a little of weighing the odds/risks vs. what the $$ were! After the first couple of years (once the herd was established) we didn't buy any more Holsteins, and left it all up to the breeding program. We later added Jerseys, so had to start from scratch there, and did quite well with them. By the time we dispersed, we were 1/2 and 1/2 of the two breeds, and for the Holsteins, 75% of the animals went back to one cow family. So it showed how good that line of genetics were! It's still rewarding to see animals in other herds that trace to our breeding ... and yes, sometimes that hurts, wishing I was still actively in the industry. In lieu of this, I am quite involved in some dairy ag education programs and help a good friend at a couple of shows each year.

    We did do a fair amount of showing, at local shows, plus the Royal ... never showed at Madison, but did attend. Some of those we sold, were show winners!! Now that was fun to see .... and read about in your USA Holstein World!
    Last edited by QuiltE; 02-25-2012 at 05:02 AM.
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  9. #139
    Super Member QuiltingNinaSue's Avatar
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    Wow!! So much work and love in your dairy work; no small task to milk 110 cows night and morning or do you milk 3 times a day?

    Our "cow" operation was a small one, never more than 10-15 that I can recall. I think about five cows was the high number that we milked, usually about three. Some were for beef, some were for the milk. We milked by hand, with "kickers", chains on the hind legs to prevent the cow from kicking you while you milked the cow. That worked well until the cow stepped back on a cat, who snarled, growled and starting clawing the cow...the cow kicked out with both hind legs, and the next minute all the cows were out of the milking shed, and down over the hill. The milking bucket was upset of course, but we were not hurt, so all ended OK. So much for teaching the cats to drink directly with a stream of fresh milk from the cow's udder.

    Dh was raised with Black Angus cattle, some 400 head most of the time and was a "farm hand" not paid on his work with helping with that and 1500 arces of row crops his Father and Uncle did together. One summer he remembers just over 10,000 bales of hay they put up. (His Father did "custom work" which meant baled hay for others in addition to their own farm work. He never pulled out of the hay field until he was paid; 'cause if they did not pay, he took hay for payment.) Farm Life was and is a lot of work to get produce to the market. My hat is off to those who do provide a wonderful harvest (beef, milk, and by-products, garden produce, etc., ) for the rest of us to enjoy.

  10. #140
    Super Member oksewglad's Avatar
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    Thanks, QNinaSue--No 2x a day is enough for us. Currently have a new bull in AI that got his first "proof" in November. Very promising on the type with beautiful udders and medium in stature. Milk production proofs sound promising too. Some of his semen was exported to Guernsey and the UK, too. Everyone that has his daughters are pleased with them.
    Oh and cats darting under the cows still happens and then the milker sometimes gets kicked off in the excitement, but it goes up that hose instead so really "no crying over spilt milk"! We in the US/Can are truly blessed with the fantastic resources we are able to enjoy in our lives. Thanks for your appreciation of our gifts.
    Don't worry spider.
    I keep house
    casually.
    ---Basho
    I donate quilts to the AAQI.

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