New Farrowing Record / Tough Times

July 21, 2012

Sow 62-3 farrowed 19 live piglets and one small dead one for a total of 20.  This is the new record for our farm.

It’s too many.  She only has 14 teats, and the piglets are smaller than I like.  I won’t keep any of her offspring for breeding, as I would much rather have 10 to 12 larger piglets born per litter.  But it’s still nice to note a record.

I went to an informational meeting on how crops are being affected by the drought, and how we can use the stressed crops.  The University of Wisconsin Agriculture agents lead the meeting.  It was well attended with many interested farmers.  The meeting was a little depressing, but my troubles were put into perspective as I drove home.

When I drove to the meeting I noticed a line of people on the sidewalk near the Catholic Church.  I wasn’t sure why they were lining up.  When I drove home, the line was huge and leading to a semi trailer which read something like “Catholic Mission” on the side.  The people were lined up to get food.

Able Died

July 19, 2012

My white herd boar, Able, was dead this morning.  He’s the one pictured breeding, above.

I don’t know for sure why he died, but it was probably heat related.  It reached 100 degrees here yesterday.  I had a sprinkler going for him and the sows, but there was a sow in heat.  I think he probably tried to breed and just got himself to worked up and was unable to cool down.  Once hogs get over-stressed in this kind of heat, it’s trouble.

The only good news is I kept a son of his this spring.  He’s looking pretty good.  He’s the white spotted one in the photo below.  I’m thinking of naming him Domino.

The 2012 Drought Continues

July 15, 2012

The great drought of 2012 continues.  It was the only thing people talked about during the 156th Lafayette County Fair this week.

Summertime Drought

June 25, 2012

We’re in the midst of a summertime drought.  The second cutting of hay is considerably smaller than the first cutting.  The first field in my cutting schedule is seven acres.  Its yield decreased from 25 round bales of hay for first cutting to 3 and one third bales for second cutting.  Second cutting is always smaller than first, but this is abnormally so.

The permanent pasture my steers and hogs use is drying up fast.  My backup plan is to graze hay fields.  So I put a temporary electric fence in and started grazing a hay field, pictured below.

Summertime droughts are not uncommon here.  Rarely do we have crop failures, though.  So irrigation for crops is not used.  An exception is my partners, Carrie and Eric.  They rely so heavily on their pastures for chickens, sheep, and dairy cows, they’ve decided to put in a pasture irrigation system called K-line.  I’m interested to see how it works for them.

Warmest March Ever

March 25, 2012

Daffodils above and a Plum tree below.  The winter without a winter is followed by the warmest March ever.  Everything is at least a month ahead of normal.

Autumn for Square-Foot Saturday

October 21, 2011

We had a short, yet brilliant, season of fall colors.

I’m going to give Square-Foot Saturdays a rest, checking in occasionally if anything changes.  We are expecting a hard frost tonight, so the growing season is pretty much over.

First Snow

December 7, 2010

The first snow is met with enthusiasm by children, snow-plow drivers, and snowmobilers.

The beauty of snow on the farm is tempered by the extra work.

As soon as it stops falling, we push it, pile it, and shape it to our will.