Monday, April 23, 2012

Thankful for the rain

I think almost everyone welcomed the rain that we got over the weekend.  This is one of the driest spring I can remember and was starting to get concerned about potential of a drought before we even got any crops in the ground.  We seeded about 50 acres of hay almost a month ago that still hasn't come up yet because there simply wasn't enough moisture for the seeds to germinate.  Fortunately we had almost 2.5" of rain that came down nice and easy and soaked into the thirsty soil. 

 It could not have come at a better time.  We are planing on starting to plant corn next week.  The rain will provide much needed moisture to get the corn to germinate and get off to a hardy start.  It also gave the hay that  we mowed over Easter a healthy drink.  You could see how much it grew over night after it rained.  We also just finished the hay shed last week and were able to move most of our equipment inside out of the weather.


Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter Hay

The unseasonably warm weather has pushed thing ahead 2 to 3 weeks ahead of schedule.  Most years we chop hay for the cows the last week in April and won't start making dry hay until the middle of May.  When we chop the hay we bring in a machine that chops the hay up like a supper sized food processor you would use in you kitchen.  The picture below shows us chopping directly into dump trucks that will haul the silage back to the trench.

 We then store it in a trench and cover it with plastic so it can go through anaerobic fermentation that keeps it from spoiling. The picture below shows use pushing the silage from the truck into the trench and packing it down to get all the air out to keep it from spoiling.
When we are done we put a big piece of plastic over to seal it up and weigh it down with old tires to make sure the plastic stays on tight.  3-6 Months later we will start feeding the transformed silage to the cows.  By turning hay and corn into silage we are able to store them much longer then if we made dry hay.  Think of it like turning cucumbers into pickles.  Another plus the cows love the way it tastes.

Monday, April 2, 2012

What have you heard about " Pink Slim"?

Since there has been so much hype in the media over pink slime I thought it would be a good time to talk about it on here.  Sounds pretty disgusting doesn't it?   With a name like pink slime, visions of half rotten mystery meat stuck to a plastic wrapper that has been hiding  in the back of your refrigerator for weeks comes to mind.

Pink slime actually is not pink or a slime.  It is the nickname that has been given to lean finely textured beef (LFTB). During the processing of beef, fat trimmings are collected and remaining meat that otherwise would have gone to waste is mechanically separated.  By doing so more lean is able to be harvested that otherwise would not be economical to recover if done by hand. After being separated it (LFTB) is treated with  ammonium hydroxide gas or citric acid to kill E. coli, salmonella, and other bacteria that could potentially be present.  After going through the whole process LFTB is just as safe if not safer than any other cut of meat you would pick up at the grocery store.

Lean finely textured beef or Pink Slime as known in the media is found through out the food chain.  It is approved through the FDA who governs the all food  and drugs that are sold in the United States.  It is found in many low cost beef products such as filler for hamburger, ground beef, chicken nuggets as well some other products.
Nebraska Farm Bureau president, Steve Nelson responded on Thursday to the USDA's decision to disclose to public schools what products have "pink slime" in them.  Nelson feels the USDA has ignored the science behind the product.  He stresses that the product is a safe wholesome product with no health implications.  

Keep in mind that you can't believe everything you hear in the news (or on Facebook).  We all know that the media has been known to stretch truth in order to sell a story. So before you jump on the bandwagon with the next big media story take few minutes and do some of your own research so that you understand the big picture and not just one side of the story so that you can make an informed decision for yourself.