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Area farmer says baby calves need protection


Fri, May 17th, 2013
Posted in All Agriculture

Calves are comfortable, dry, and protected in this simple shelter. Mud and slop is just outside of the structure, but the calves remain high, dry and healthy. This picture was taken after 12 inches of wet May snow. Photo by Dan Serfling

By Karen Reisner

Mother Nature was rough on everything this last couple of months with her cold, rainy, and windy weather tantrums topped off by a heavy, wet May snow. Many beef cow-calf operations have suffered unusually heavy calf losses driven in large part by that weather.

Dan Serfling, Carimona Township, has his prescription for preventing calf losses like this in the future. He believes shelters built to protect calves from the elements would have saved calves. Loosing the calf is like loosing your crop. He says you can’t afford to keep the cow another year without a calf.

Serfling farms about 320 acres and has 60 beef cows. He saved twenty heifers from last year for breeding with the intention of increasing the herd size. He has also raised hogs, but has sold the last of them and is out of that business. His farm site is dotted with hoop sheds.

His cows started calving the first part of April. He insists cows can handle bad weather, but baby calves can’t.

Serfling has shed space to put his cows in when they have their calf. He keeps them in a cemented cow yard a day or two making sure the calf is nursing and has a good start before kicking them out. During that time calves can use what he calls port-a-huts (metal huts for sows) for shelter. They are big enough for three to four calves per hut. He maintains that you have to keep an eye on the herd so you don’t loose calves. Calves can’t be left in the mud or wet snow. He insists that calves left out in the open in weather like we have had this spring will “die.” Serfling made it clear that he didn’t believe that you can just turn your beef cows out in a pasture and forget about them.

After a few days the cow with her calf is turned into a small pasture where the calves can use shelters. Serfling sells hoop sheds which he uses and adapts for all kinds of purposes on his farm including hay and machinery storage.

He suggests the shelters be 9 foot by 28 foot, adding you don’t want them any bigger. The calves can get in, but not the cows. Calves can stay nice and dry. One end and one side of the shelter are solid, the other end has a gate and the one side has boards across about half way up to allow the calves access, but not the cows.

The shelters are bedded with corn stalks and he suggests it is best to put straw on top of the stalks. The gate allows for easy bedding and .....
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64

Farm Safety Day Camp VII

By Jerrold Tesmer

Fri, May 10th, 2013
Posted in All Agriculture

By Jerrold Tesmer, Extension Educator for Fillmore/Houston Counties The seventh joint Fillmore/Houston County fourth grade Farm Safety Day Camp is being held on Tuesday, May 14th at the Mabel Steam Engine Grounds. The event has 455 students registe ..... 
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Names and Bling for the Owlets

Fri, May 10th, 2013
Posted in Rushford Agriculture

By Karla Bloem Houston, Minn. -- The three owlets hatched in March as part of the International Owl Center’s Great Horned Owl breeding project now have names as well as bands. As a condition of the state and federal permits required for the pro ..... 
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Beef Brings $Billions

Fri, May 3rd, 2013
Posted in All Agriculture

From Minnesota Department of Agriculture We’ve all heard the catchy slogan “Beef, it’s what’s for dinner! Well, May is Beef Month in Minnesota and if you’d ask “Where’s the Beef?” we’d say it’s right here in our state. In fact, ..... 
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Beef that’s close to home

Fri, May 3rd, 2013
Posted in All Agriculture

By Jason Sethre In Fillmore County, there are quite a few beef farmers and quite a few beef eaters. Whether steaks, burgers or roasts in a crock pot, local residents like their beef. But, how much of the locally raised beef circulates within Fil ..... 
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Fillmore County is home to MSA Queen

By Mitchell Walbridge

Fri, May 3rd, 2013
Posted in All Agriculture

By Mitchell Walbridge Royal titles of queen and princess are not just limited to the monarchies of the world as Fillmore County is considered home for 20 year-old Minnesota Simmental Association Queen Katie Ristau. But not everyone can be queen, as ..... 
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Recycling 101

By LaVerne C. Paulson

Fri, May 3rd, 2013
Posted in All Agriculture

By LaVerne C. Paulson Recycling Education Coordinator Used motor oil and used oil filters should be recycled. Recycling them will not only help save resources and energy, but will also protect the environment. I might also add that it is illegal ..... 
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New Board of Animal Health rules address needs of today

Fri, May 3rd, 2013
Posted in All Agriculture

ST. PAUL, MN - The Minnesota Board of Animal Health today announced that its new rules are now in effect. The Board has been working with livestock groups to adopt rules that allow the Board to control diseases and are sensible for Minnesota farmers ..... 
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Youth Tractor Safety Classes Offered

Wed, May 1st, 2013
Posted in All Agriculture

The twenty-fourth joint annual youth tractor safety training is being planned for Tuesday, June 4 through Friday, June 7. The training sessions begin at 8:30 a.m. and will end at 2:30 p.m. each day. Brad Harguth, Caledonia High School Ag Instructor ..... 
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