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Adair County Farmer's Market now open

  • Market will be open Tuesdays and Friday from 6 to 10 a.m.
  • Some dairy notions are like old wives tales

The Adair County Farmers Market is now open at the Adair County Cooperative Extension Service parking lot. It will be open every Tuesday and Friday from 6:00 a.m. until 10:00 a.m. Vendors will be providing various fruits and vegetables.

Dairy Old Wives tales

Old wives' tales typically involve something that could be true, but more than likely are stories passed along from generation to generation. In some instances, the tales take on validity and are assumed to be true. Such is the case with some dairy sayings that should be corrected.

The first is that restricting bred heifers' and dry cows' feed will result in smaller calves and thus fewer calving problems.

Actually, an underfed heifer or cow will use her own energy and protein reserves to support her unborn calf. The calf will grow to the same size as if the heifer or cow was properly fed. Underfed heifers may have more calving trouble because they are smaller. Because older cows use body stores of fat and protein, these resources will not be available to support milk production after calving and the cows may not milk as well the next lactation.

The second one is that calves fed milk or milk replacements do not need free-choice water.

Free-choice water, along with high-quality calf starter, helps convert a calf from a simple-stomached animal to one with a functional rumen that can utilize forages and grains. Milk, or water added to milk, will not provide any water for bacteria to grow in the calf's rumen. A calf must receive clean, fresh free-choice water separately from milk.

Third, it is desirable to breed heifers at an older age so they are full grown when they enter the milking herd.

The sooner heifers enter the milking herd, the more quickly they become income generators rather than income users. Properly grown heifers that calve at 24 to 26 months of age will produce more milk over their lifetime.

Finally, trace mineral blocks provide heifers and dry cows with adequate levels of minerals.

Two problems exist when feeding trace mineral blocks to cattle. First, cattle may not consume enough to the block to receive needed minerals. Second, the blocks may contain trace mineral sources that are unavailable to the heifer or dry cow. (Copper oxide is an example.) As a result, the animal does not receive enough of each trace mineral necessary for growth and to establish a good immune system to fight off disease challenges such as mastitis or make sure vaccines work.

To solve the problem, include the proper amount of a good quality, "loose" mineral in the grain mix fed to heifers and dry cows.
David Herbst is Adair County Extension Agent for Agriculture
For more information on these topics contact the Adair County Cooperative Extension Service by calling 384-2317; or visit the office located at 409 Fairground St., in Columbia. Educational programs of the Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability, or national origin.

This story was posted on 2005-06-14 15:01:25
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