This is the first year I’ve been in South Dakota during November. (Last year at this time, I was studying for an Animal Science test with my sister, eating breakfast at places like Panera, and counting down the days ’til graduation!)
For some reason, I thought things here would calm down after harvest. And, they definitely have. But – the pressure is still on. Now, we’ve moved into winter preparation mode. The next step is to hustle, hustle to get the fields “worked” or cultivated to prepare them for planting next spring. In South Dakota this is turning out to be a race against the weather. Soon the ground will freeze and fall field work season will be over. We’ll see how the weather cooperates this weekend.
We spent part of Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday fencing off a corn field and bean field for our Red Angus heifers. Now that it has gotten colder (didn’t get above 32 on Monday & Tuesday) the heifers were eating more hay. We were glad to turn them out onto the new stalks where they have plenty of “free feed.” Music to my ears!
Everywhere I drive in Kingsbury County the scenes are similar – there are beautiful cows everywhere out on corn stalks. They graze on the corn that the combines missed. Everyone has hauled their cows home from summer pasture and now they are on corn stalks. I usually enjoy helping with this job, but I missed it last week while I was visiting my family in Missouri.
There’s only one part of having cows on corn stalks that isn’t very glamourous. Hauling water. Some of the fields don’t have a water line & waterer (too expensive for use just a few weeks out of the year).
So, John or Ron haul water to the field in the trusty, ol’ red truck. As a general “rule of thumb” cows drink 1-2 gallons (depending on the weather & if they are lactating or not) of water per 100 pounds of their body weight. Here’s the math:
- 1100 pound cow/100 = 11 x 1 or 2 gal = 11-22 gallons of water/cow/day
Depending on the size of a herd, this really adds up:
- 17 gal/head x 100 head = 1,700 gallons of water hauled/day.
- 17 gal/head x 200 head = 3,400 gallons of water hauled/day.
In real life, it’s not measured out in exact number of gallons. The practical application is “about two trips a day with ol’ red.” And, between watering times, the hose is almost always running to fill the tank back up so they can...haul…more…water.
Thanks for taking time out of your day to read!
To view other Farmin’ Friday posts & see what’s going on at a different time of year…click here!