The Northeast U.S. Wilts

July 8, 2010 07:00 PM

Cousins from suburban Florida came north to our farm last week to escape their summer sizzle and walked right into a record-breaking, tropical heat wave. What’s up with that?

Which is probably what our 400 milking cows have been wondering as the oppressive heat continues day after night after day here in central New York State. It could all crash and burn tomorrow, but surprisingly, intakes are decent, milk production is holding better than expected, and we’ve made the best haul of dry, fragrant baled hay in years, maybe decades!

Spring 2010 fieldwork started two weeks early and has held that pace for almost two full months. In fact, we saw our first corn tassels on July 5—two weeks earlier than usual. Only corn on the most gravely soil is showing any sign of stress.

Milk output is averaging 84-85 lbs./cow 3x, down from 88 lbs. a month ago, but up from 81 lbs. in the interval between. Why? Good forage, supplemental yeast, all the bicarb they can eat, pro-active fly control, more comfortable stalls, better ventilation in some of the newer barns, and an improved floor plan & facility orientation so fewer cows are baked as they lie in the outside rows.

We’re ready now—send rain!

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