Update on my Milking Devons

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by Haggis, Dec 1, 2004.

  1. Haggis

    Haggis MacCurmudgeon

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    The vet came this morning and finished his evaluation of my little herd of cattle.
    We had already butchered the 2 1/2 year old bull as he suggested, so that much is done.

    The 4 older Milking Devon cows are most likely carriers of the virus I mentioned in the other thread so they have to go to market for slaughter. We will butcher one of them for the family so our losses won't be as dramatic. We have already made arrangements to send them to the sale barn next Tuesday; at a great loss of course

    My 8 year old Jersey bred to the young bull but did not catch the virus and is now 5 months along.

    My 7 year old Jersey did not breed to our bull but was bought as bred. I told the vet she was due the first wek of January, he said she may drop her calf sooner.

    The 2 1/2 year old Milking Devon is about three months into a pregnancy but shows no sign of the virus.

    The two youngest Milking Devons, each about 1 1/2 years old, are still open and show no sign of the virus.

    The situation is better than it could have been. I ask about why some of the cows had the virus but others did not, and the vet said it was a matter of timing and luck, but to AI my herd for now on just in case and to stop anything from coming into our herd.

    At this point we need to learn where to buy Jersey semen, and what is needed to store it. The Milking Devon semen is available on the breed web site.

    As our Milking Devon herd is for the most part gone, we are in the market for a few Milking Shorthorn calves. We may have a line on some through a gracious offer from a friend in the Show Me state.

    Now I see why so many farmers say that if they won the lottery they would just keep on farming until the money ran out.

    We were lucky. The young bull is worth 2 or 3 times more butchered than we paid for Him. The cow we will butcher will also be worth 2 or 3 times more as beef than her live weight; especially when compared to the retail prices for beef.

    The 3 young heifers can be saved and should have a long useful life.

    The one bull calf born in the spring came with the cow at no extra cost, as I bought the cows as bred and he was born before we could move the cattle. We will cut him in a few days for next years beef. He already weighs well over 500 pounds.

    In the end we will have to sell 3 cows at a loss, but will have gained the retail beef price on the butchered cow and bull, and we're up one nice steer.

    Many disappointments this year, but on the money end close to breakng even; if I don't count shipping, hay, grain, and countless hours of work.

    God I love this stuff; hard blows and all.

    Thanks to all who have shown an interest and ofered advise during our troubles.
     
  2. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Haggis, You are a true farmer. They will tell you they had a great year because the banker hasn't shut them off yet, and just wait till next year.
    If you can't do that, you shouldn't try farming.
     

  3. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

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    :haha:

    Amen, dude!

    Glad you were able to salvage something out of this mess, and have a few nice calves on the way!

    I believe Select Sires (www.selectsires.com) has Jersey semen.

    Good luck!
     
  4. dosthouhavemilk

    dosthouhavemilk Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Select Sires definitely sells Jersey semen (7J is the normal code for them)

    Genex sells Jersey Semen (Couldn't locate a website quickly) (1J is normal beginning code for them)

    The above two are the main ones we use and also where we got our Norwegian Red semen (Genex) for our expansion.

    We got a catalogue from another company Taurus but have not used them before. They have some polled Jerseys sires in their list. (76J for these guys)

    That way if you look through the bull summary papers from AJCA, you can have a clue as to where to buy semen from.

    There are others but these are the ones around our area.

    Glad to hear you did not lose them all and that some are pregnant even!
     
  5. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

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    One of the great benefits of farming is that huge loss on your tax return!

    Don't make the same mistake twice, learn as much as you can as fast as you can and always have plan b, plan c and plan Z!

    Jena
     
  6. Haggis

    Haggis MacCurmudgeon

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    It seems as though I'm always falling back on "Cunning Plan B."

    This was/is a good lesson for me and should serve me well in the future. Herself is still giving me "THE LOOK," with just a smidgen of "I told you so," thrown in for come-up-ence.

    I just remind her that there are some really costly habits folks can get into like Bass fishing, Casino hopping, and the stock market.

    Sometimes, when the spirit moves me, I make furniture. There is always the buying of more lumber than one needs, the culling for the best pieces, and eventually a finished product. Grieviously, a lot of expensive lumber ends up on the workshop floor while cutting out the best looking and strongest pieces.

    Buying cattle can be the same; buy a small herd, cull through them, make a bit on some, lose a shirt or two on some others, but the goal is to slowly build a quality farm herd. Now if I just had one more lifetime to really get a solid herd started.

    Thanks for all of the good tips folks.
     
  7. Tom McLaughlin

    Tom McLaughlin Tom

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  8. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

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    It does take a lifetime to build a herd! Or a fortune to purchase one.

    Don't buy, then cull....cull them in your mind before you ever buy them! I wanted South Devons. I visited several reputable farms looking for stock. I didn't buy a single cow. They were healthy and well-represented, I'm sure, but they just weren't what I was looking for.

    I finally found south devons that looked like south devons at a nearby farm. I bought two pairs, bred back, for what I thought was a very good price for registered cows ($1900 for the two of them). They were older, but exactly what I was looking for, each with a heifer calf. Those two heifers are grown now, one just calved yesterday, the other is close (january calves doncha know).

    When you go look at cows, tell yourself not to settle for less than what you want. Take all precautions to be sure you are getting what you pay for. Any reputable cattle breeder will honor your request for preg checks, etc even if they don't offer them. I don't offer them when I sell mixed cows, but if you ask, I'll do it! If you aren't confident about how to pick cows, take someone with you, or take lots of pics and show them to us!

    Jena
     
  9. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    I am constantly upgrading my beef herd through good breeding practices. I started with commercial heifers and a few older cows and a good bull. Each year I remove some of the lesser cows and keep my best heifers as replacements. I made the most significant change ever just this past month when I cycled both of my herd bulls out and purchased two performance tested bulls as replacements. It is amazing how much a person can improve the herd through bull selection.
     
  10. BeeFree

    BeeFree Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Haggis ,
    It is good to know not all was lost. Also, look at the experience you gained.

    I would like to thank you for telling us about this. I had never heard of this in cattle. I was telling DH about it, we are going to research it some. If it happens to us maybe we can recognize it.

    Like I have said before, cattle is taking a gamble. Other people go to casinos, we just buy cattle.
     
  11. evermoor

    evermoor Well-Known Member

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    Haggis, Sorry for your losses. My dad always said his "free" education wasthe most expansive one he's paid for. As for the AI part To store the Boys you need a nitrogen tank and have it filled with liquid nitrogen around every 30 days, most of the actual supplies to do the deed can be purchased online, mail order, or service rep for a Ai company. Since you have a small herd and semen is generally sold by the cane, ten straws of semen per can, one straw per service/cycle, 6this is hard to justify. However most AI companies have technicians that will come out in the freezing cold and breed ole bessy for a nominal fee. MOst have websites that can get you to your area rep. The best in the Midwest are CRI, Select sires,ABS, Accelerated, and Semex. Also check the breed websites for links (usjersey.com jerseycanada.com milkingshorthorn.com) Another idea is to talk to an area dairy farmer. Most dairies use AI, and might be willing to breed your cow and store the semen in his tank. Minnesota has one of the largest milking shorthorn population so let me know if your need some references to reputable breeders. They have some real good one up there.