Over the past four months I have been introduced to blogging. At first I was very hesitant about the whole idea. I felt like I didn’t have anything interesting to write about or I find anything interesting to read and comment on. Little did I know, that blogging is its own world. I have been challenged to research topics to write about and my blog allows me to voice my opinion. Not only have learned a lot about agriculture from reading other blogs but I have learned a lot writing my own blogs. I want educate people about agriculture and spark their interest in my passion. Blogging has allowed me to tell my story and challenged me to research information to give readers facts as well. I hope to be able to continue this blog in the future. I enjoy reading others blogs and keeping update on news in the agricultural world. Blogging has opened doors for me of following new and fascinating people over the past four months. Social media is the new form of networking and getting your name out there. I feel like this a great opportunity for me to keep following new people and learn about new topics within the world, not just related to agricultural. Especially with finishing school soon and looking to start a career, networking with new people and businesses is going to help benefit me for the future. It has opened doors for me and shed light to new trends and issues in the public relations world. Blogging has even challenged me to be creativity and learn new tricks and knowledge about topics. I have also been up to date on current social media news, reviews, and trends. I am really glad I have been introduced to the blogging world and been challenged to try new things and follow new people.
With corn being cut for this year, I was curious to see if there was a spike in this year’s corn harvest compared to last years. I was surprised just looking at the average rainfall for Missouri in 2013. Farmers in 2012 took a hard hit from the hot dry weather in Missouri and the lack of rain, many losing the harvest altogether or not yielding enough to make money. This past summer on the other hand in Missouri was about one of the best a farmer could ask for. Starting in the spring when planting began rain starting falling which caused farmers to replant and getting plating done until June; some farmers claimed the late start as one of their best years’. On average in Missouri we received six more inches of rain throughout the spring than normal, although sometimes the rain was not in the critical growing stages still helped. The rain didn’t stop there, throughout the summer it was still hot and normal through June and July, but come August in Missouri received three more inches on average than normal. This allowed farmers to cut in September giving the ground enough time to dry out. That last little bit of rain really boosted the corn for 2013. I never realized how important and how much rain affected the annual yield of crops. With that being said, of course I was curious to see what kind of yield farmers put up this year with the increase of rainfall for 2013. Irrigated fields obviously received a higher yield of 230-250 bushels per acre. According to the USDA report on November 4, eight-two percent of Missouri’s corn crop had been harvested. With harvest still underway in some areas in southwest Missouri due to the late planting, the average estimation looks to be about average or above average depending on the area, but around 150-170 bushels per acre of a non-irrigated field. The late harvest has also allowed more less moisture content in the corn which is less drying time and reduces cost for corn producers. Altogether it looks like 2013 of corn harvest has been a success for farmers.
I recently had to opportunity to set down and have a video Skype with Dairy Carrie from Wisconsin. I had never heard of her or what she did, but it was very fascinating. She grew up in the city and married a Wisconsin dairy farmer and has found herself to be a farmer now. It was interesting to listen to someone who has not come from a farm or agricultural background, to now being a well known blogger in the agricultural world. She not only taught me the importance of voicing your opinion about what you believe in, but taught me that blogging can make a difference. She who started her blog two years ago has 700,000 viewers today! Her main objective is to let her readers know she is average, with just 100 cows on 300 acres; she is an average dairy farmer. She explained that it is important to hit your target audience by telling her story. Viewers want to read a story that they can relate to and something from experience. I never thought of writing to engage comments for readers to read, not necessarily for the people making the comments. Also for blogging, she stated it was important to be part of the conversation but not controlling the element. Along with telling your story, I think it is very cool that Carrie didn’t come from an agricultural background so she knows where other people are coming who don’t understand as much either and can better explain things. She is so real with her stories, whether they are good or bad, it’s ok to be transparent because it’s your story and being real is never wrong. The last bit that I learned from Dairy Carrie is when it comes to writing your blog, write from your heart and be yourself. Becoming a will known blogger has opened up many doors for her, being known of Twitter, Facebook, blog world, AgChat Foundation, and speaks to various groups about the importance of public relations and telling your story.
There are many different opinions regarding the issue of equine joint injections. Some are against it and think its doing more harm than good. Others believe it’s completely safe and effective. I personally am undecided about the issue. I see both good and bad points as to whether people should inject their horse’s joints, coming from someone who has never done joint injections in a horse. If a horse does have problems within the joint and a vet can diagnose the lameness, I think the treatment of the condition is important to be taken care of. It is essential to give the horse better mobility, less pain, and reduce the swelling. As long as the treatment is done in a proper manner and whoever is administering the injection is well qualified for the procedure. Although injecting a horse’s joint can help a horse, it can also harm a horse. Sometimes when performing the injection it may not help the horse as desired. It can potentially cause infection and is something that will have to be repeatedly administrated that can be very costly. Joint injections can be very dangerous; the needle can get stuck in the horse, which can cause more serve damage to the horse. All in all I think that injecting a horse’s joint should be done very cautiously. I think that people should be aware of the outcome of the procedure. Having a well educated vet administrate the injection and do it, only if necessary is the safest way. Some get injections for prevention, but I believe the injections should only be used for critical injured horses and done properly. I also think if there are other ways to help strengthen horse’s joints, such as therapy, that it should be done before giving an injection.
Feeding beef cattle has slightly declined over the years. Although major of feedlots have fewer than thousand head, those operations market eighteen percent of cattle fed each year. Since cattle feeding is a high-risk business, the scale of economies favor larger operations. This then requires less land for cattle feeding operations than for a cow-calf operation. Successful operations come with the proper planning and preparation. It is also very essential to have a feeding management plan and proper health program for the facility. The facilities themselves should be well managed and taken care of, to keep clean and functioning. It is also important to have some type of shelter, a shed and wind blocks, but most importantly should be designed for the number of cattle being fed. Also it would be sufficient to make use of the manure or to at least have a runoff. When purchasing feeder cattle, the price tends to fluctuate every season of the year. Cattle in better shape usually assigned a higher grade and therefore sell for a higher price per pound. It is always good to stay up-to-date on market conditions when purchasing feeder. The greater the health usually comes with an increase in price, as where thinner cattle require higher medical treatment, lower resale value, and higher death-loss rates. Establishing a health program is very important when running a cattle operation. Purchasing preconditioned calves are a good investment for the cattle feeder. They should all be properly vaccinated, preferably before they are moved to the feedlot. It is also wise to control or reduce parasites, which can be treated with the correct health program established. Another important factor is nutrition. The ration of the fed should depend on the type of cattle and the desired market grade. Increasing forages in the diet of feedlot cattle will in return increase the cost of weight gain when grain prices are low. The fed should provide a balanced diet, and reach desired endpoints for the market.
My roommate has influenced this blog. A few weeks ago she started to read a book about Polyface farming by Joel Salatin. This of course sparked my interest because I have never heard of such thing. So I googled and read up on this “Polyface farming” as well as Joel Salatin. I must say, that I very interested to read his book, as I hope you are too. Joel is a 56 year old full-time farmer in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. He is a third generation sustainable farmer and he returned to the farm full-time in 1982 where he continued adding to his parents’ ideas. Joel earned a bachelor’s degree in English and he writes in magazines such as STOCKMAN GRASS FARMER, ACRES USA, and FOODSHED, making him a well known writer. Their farm services more than 5,000 families, 10 retail outlets, and 50 restaurants through on-farm sales and metropolitan buying clubs with salad bar beef, pastured poultry, eggmobile eggs, pigaerator pork, forage-based rabbits, pastured turkey and forestry products using relationship marketing. Their family has done everything they can to make their farm sustainable and eco friendly. They encourage others join them and teach others ways of farming to make it the most beneficial to the environment and for the animals. I think it’s so cool that they are able to make living and be successful doing so, but that’s not even what’s important to them. They are more concerned with producing the best products they can without being considered and industry. I think more people should be enlightened by Joel Salatin and his family. Anyone can do it, and he says you don’t have to have land; it can all start with simple things, such as a garden. I hope to have more to blog about once I have read the book and I encourage others to read it as well.
In my public relations class this past week I had to privilege of listening to Lynzee Glass, the managing editor of the Ozark Farm Neighbor Newspaper speak to us. She shared with us statics and struggles they are under gone with their Newspaper over the past few years. With fifty-eight thousands readers throughout their viewing area, they were looking into using social media to increase that number of readers. The forms of social media that the Ozark Farm Neighbor Newspaper are currently using are directly with their Newspaper and they have more actively started using Twitter and Facebook to help expand their name and capture more readers. The newspaper also wanted to a target younger audience and using social media is the greatest way to do so. With most of their readers being males between the ages of thirty-five and sixty-four, cow-calf operators managing an average 329 acres Ozark Farm Neighbor was looking to broaden their reader horizon. Therefore they looked to social media to help them. With Lynzee Glass’s help they have been able to join and be more active within the social media network gain a more diverse demographics of readers. It’s one thing to have social media, but one the struggles businesses face is using that social media to their advantage. Updating and posting pictures and likes is a must. Having the most update information and using the most popular technology out that targets the younger audience the Ozark Farm Neighbor Newspaper is looking for. Adding to their business they have gained more followers on Twitter and Facebook as well as more likes throughout their posts. With their paper only going out every two weeks, they are able to publish and post more current information. The paper still caters to the already established readers by still publishing their usual paper, they are only adding to the readers and expanding their name.