Monday, April 7, 2014

Top 5 Superpowers A Farmer Would Like To Have

Feeding the world one day at a time might sound like a great super power, but deep down inside every farmer would like to be able to do a little more to get the job done right. Here are the top five super powers that a farmer would like to have.
  1. Weather. The ability to control the weather would be a power that any farmer would want. Too hot for your cows, or too darn cold for you and your cows? Too dry or too wet for your crops to grow? The ability to manipulate the weather like Storm can do would be a farmer's dream.                                               

  2. Super Speed. If you had super speed like the Flash, think of how many farm chores you could accomplish in one day? The average farmer gets 584 less hours of sleep a year than most people, so getting more done in less time could actually get him/her the rest they need. Plus, with super speed you could outrun possible manure splatters, which is always nice.                                                                            
  3. In a world where people demand sustainability and want farmers to be even better stewards of natural resources, what better represents going green than the emerald ring of the Green Lantern? How do you plow a field with a net zero carbon impact? Using the green ring from Oa, you could do any type of manual labor without using any fuel or having any emissions.                                                             
  4. Telepathy and telekinesis. Professor Charles Xaiver could possible be the next best thing to a veterinarian. Imagine being able to read a cow's mind and communicate with her to find out how she feels and how to give her medical help? Not only could you convince animals to do certain things, like not jump that fence, but if they were injured you could easily lift and move them to safety.                     
  6. Super Strength. There are so many ways that farmers could use a little extra muscle. Flat tire on a tractor? No problem because with super strength you can just lift it up and change it. One of the best uses ever comes from the original farm boy turned super hero, Clark Kent, when in his pre-Superman days on Smallville he pushed fence posts in the ground as easy as you might put candles in a birthday cake.

What super power do you think a farmer needs? What super power would you want to help you get your job done?  

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Take A Walk On A Calf's Side

This calf had outgrown her stall today
She needed to move to a bigger place to play
When we passed the silo
All she did was go go go
And said, "Hey, Farmer, take a walk on a calf's side."
She said, "Hey, farmer, take a walk on a calf's side."
Doo do doo do doo do do doo...

baby calf milk
Moving Baby Calf With Milk

When our calves get to be about two months old we move them, usually with a bucket of milk, from our calf barn where they were housed in individual stalls. They have been slowly weaned from milk for the last ten days or so. Now they will be in a large pen with six to eight calves that are approximately the same size. I have no idea what they might be singing next!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Why We Need Spider-Man Milk Cartons

What's wrong with this picture? Well, for starters you would probably say that a grown man is holding a kid's juice drink. Then you might add that the grown man is a dairy farmer and he's holding a juice drink instead of milk. Why? Because his little boy likes Spider-Man.

How should dairy products improve their marketing? One definite way is to take advice from my son. When he goes into a convenience store he sees things first at his eye level. In the drink coolers what is at his eye level? Juice. Lots of juice boxes with cool packages with superheroes or princesses. There are also "kool-aid" type drinks with easy no spill lids. Where are the single serve chocolate milk bottles at? They are in mostly very plain packaging and shelved at the very top where little kids will look last.

Single serve chocolate milk here goes for around $1.50 give or take. The Spider-man juice drink is priced around $2.00. I'd say that's good money being made on juice packaging. The juice people are advertising to their target audience by placing their product low on the shelf just like kid friendly cereal makers place their product low in the grocery store. Single serve chocolate milk is placed high on the shelf like grandpa's high fiber cereal is at the grocery store.

If my son saw a superhero emblazoned milk carton, or something else kid friendly, on the bottom shelf next to the cool juice containers maybe he would pause to consider which one he wanted. Maybe other kids would, too. Realtors say location, location, location sells a house, but maybe it could also sell more milk.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Wanted Cow: Milking Or Dry

Most of the time the cows are on a good schedule. They come in from the pasture, eat, drink, get milked, eat again, and go back out. Twice daily and all. But there are exceptions.

Saturday was a different day. I opened the gate to let the cows come in to eat. I watched them walk in from the pasture.


Then it happened. One cow slipped in the feed way which panicked another cow and another and....

That's right, dominoes. They all took off toward the milk barn and looked left, right, and left again to see if they could see what was out to get them. In order to calm them down I turned on the silage conveyors to remind them they were here to eat. It worked. Slowly, very slowly, they walked back to the feed way and began eating.

Then I saw my friend in the field, Whitey, who did not come in. And she had seen the huge commotion and was currently holding her head high in the air, sniffing and looking around. So, like the Good Shepherd in the parable, I left the cows that were now eating to go fetch the "lost" one in the field. Of course, that's where the comparison ends.

Whitey was so scared that she refused to come in from the field. I got her to come to the lane once and that was as close as I could get her. Perhaps if I were on horseback, no, perhaps if I had a team of mounted cowboys we could've brought her in, but I didn't. So I left her in the field.

The same way you have to learn there are some battles you can't win with a three year old, there are also some battles you can't win with a cow. She eventually came in and ate after all the cows had been milked. We got her the next morning and she was fine and calm, as were the rest of the cows.

Some days are crazy, even on a dairy farm.