Everyday our day starts with feeding the cattle and pigs at home and feeding and caring for all the sows up at the sow farm. After we feed we will check the newborn baby pigs and process any pigs born (or farrowed ) the day before. Next it is time to breed sows. We artificially inseminate (AI) the sows which are in heat. I will explain some of these tasks as I keep this diary.
This morning Andy and Doug loaded cattle to go to the packers. Most of our cattle here are “backgrounded”. When we buy new calves here they are just weaned off the cow. We bring them to our farm and get them started on hay and then they will start eating a feed ration of hay, silage and DDGs (dried distillers grain. This is a bi-product of ethanol.) The feed ration is mixed in a big mixer cart and then fed to the calves. We work closely with a feed nutritionist, making sure the calves are getting all the vitamins and minerals in their feed that they need to keep them healthy. The calves weigh 400-450 pounds when we buy them. We then sell them weighing about 750 pounds to other farmers to finish out. We have them about 3 months. David, Dan and I fed and took care of sows. We scraped farrowing pens and processed baby pigs. And then we bred sows. (My diary for week 1 covered the process of how we breed our sows.) We worked on installing new cattle waterers. The new waterer will not freeze in the winter. The cattle have clean fresh water at all times.David started cleaning up the combine so we can put it away for the winter.Time for evening chores. A lot of sows having pigs this afternoon.
Cattle and sows are taken care. We hung up sow cards for sows that are due to farrow and hung their heat lamp over the heat mat in each farrowing pen. The heat mat temperature is 85 degrees. We hang the lamp over the mat when the pigs are being born for extra warmth. After the pigs are born we can turn the lamps off, but the mats will stay on until the pigs are weaned.We had to grind and unload feed today.Doug is hauling cattle manure. David and Dan started spraying fields today with weedkiller for next spring. This will help so the weeds will not grow before we get everything planted.
Morning chores are done. I worked on entering farrowing card information in the computer and also sows breeding dates for the last couple days were entered. We worked on hauling more cattle manure, spraying and finished cleaning the combine.We then worked on evening chores.
We fed the cattle and fed and checked sows and baby pigs.The vet came again this morning to castrate pigs. We also look over records from our sow program to see if there are any problems we need to work on.We finished hauling cattle manure. The boys are still spraying. This nice fall weather is letting us get a lot of field work done that we usually don’t get to do. Time for evening chores.
All the animals are fed this morning. This is weaning day again. David, Dan & Julie, and Andy are weaning pigs. Doug & Lindsay & baby Jozie are processing baby pigs. They process pigs everyday. They dock the pig’s tail, (because as the pigs get older they like to chew on each other’s tails), clip needle teeth so the mama sow will let them nurse and give the piglet an iron shot.I checked sows and scraped and limed farrowing pens.When they are done loading pigs, Andy and I haul the pigs to the farmer who will nursery and finish them. The rest of the family is breeding sows and moving weaned sows out of farrowing rooms so they can be cleaned for the next group of sows due to farrow. We then feed and take care of everything for the evening chores.
Friday- November 12
Morning feeding is done and sows taken care of.We have to pen up sows due to farrow out of gestation barn into the clean farrowing rooms. Boys washed more farrowing pens.
We had to grind more feed again. The sows eat a lot of feed. When she is nursing her litter, as the pigs are growing, she can eat over 20 pounds of feed a day. Their feed consists of corn, soybean meal and a sow premix. The sow premix has all the vitamins and minerals needed in their diet to keep the sow and their babies healthy and growing. They also did more spraying in fieldsAnd then we did the chores for the evening.
Saturday- November 13
We fed the cattle and sows this morning. I checked the sows and the baby pigs. We also processed baby pigs and bred sows.
Andy vaccinated sows. He has to do this every couple weeks to make sure our sow herd stays healthy. This also helps the baby pigs to be healthy when they are born. We work closely with our vet on our vaccination program. He helps us do blood tests on our sows every 3 or 4 months to make sure everything is staying healthy.
We work hard here on our farms to keep our animals comfortable and healthy. That is the one thing we do everyday of the week here.
We fed and took care of everything for the evening.
Andy and Rita (Gerber) Beiser along with their three sons, David, Dan and wife Julia, Doug and wife Lindsay and grandaughter Jozie, farm in Butler and Preble Counties. We manage approximately 2,000 acres. The crops we grow include corn, soybeans, wheat and hay. We have lived our entire lives in Butler County and both of us come from farm families. Our sons are 5th generation farmers on the Beiser side of the family. Our family also has a Breed to Wean sow operation. The sow herd consists of 1,500 sows. We also background 600-700 head of calves a year. Rita will be keeping a diary for the month of November.