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Patz Blog

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We appreciate staying connected to our customers and business partners. From new product introductions to leading industry advice to help improve your operation, we’ll share the latest right here.

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Watch out for those kids!

8-10-17 goats

Goats are delightfully social and versatile creatures that can produce a variety of items. One doe can milk up to 90 quarts every month providing milk and cheese. Wethers, or castrated male goats, can give anywhere from 25-40 lbs. of meat. Other breeds are bred for their wool/hair or hides and some are kept as pets.

Goats love to climb and jump. This means their fencing and housing needs to be “goat-proofed” in order to keep goats where they need to be. Housing should be built so goats are not able to get up to the roof, where they can then jump over a nearby fence or injure themselves. Goat housing should be an area where the animals can stay dry and out of the wind, with sufficient bedding in colder temperatures to keep them warm.

Fences should be at least 5 feet high, and braced from the outside. Since goats can chew through most anything, some people find electrifying the top row of fencing deters goats. Others use wooden fencing, chain-link fence, or a combination of different types of fence in order to keep goats where they need to be. There is even specialty goat fencing if you don’t mind an investment.

Goats are known to eat just about anything. It would be easy to think they would be low maintenance to feed. This is partially true. Goats can be let out to eat grass or forage in the woods. However, it is important to rotate where the goats graze so the plants are eaten evenly and so the goats have a wider variety of food types. No matter what goats eat, they will still require hay to munch on. Any goat that is milking or pregnant should also be supplemented with some specialized goat food with extra nutrients.

Sources:

Acrcuri, Lauren. “How to Raise Goats on Your Small Farm.” The Spruce

Wallace, Janet. “Raising Goats for Fun and Profit.” Grit

Say “Cheese!” for Dental Health

8-3-17 dental

While National Smile Week may be for humans to celebrate, it is a good reminder to check livestock teeth as well. If cattle have poor teeth, they may have issues eating. If they don’t eat properly, cattle will lack the nutrition needed to calve properly and produce milk.

Cows do not have top front teeth (incisors). Instead, have a hard gum area, called a dental pad, which is able to assist with eating. Similar to humans, calves start with baby teeth, which they start losing after a year. Over the next few years, cattle will have 32 permanent teeth grow in. These permanent teeth can be used to help determine age of an animal.

When an animal starts getting older and all their teeth have grown in and been in place, it is harder to gauge age by the teeth anymore. Dental health is, however, still a good indicator of animal health. Depending on wear and general appearance, an animal’s longevity and health can be determined. When a cow starts losing teeth, they are called “Broke-mouthed”. Short and solid teeth means the animal still has all of their teeth, but they are very worn down. Smooth-mouth cattle means the animal has no teeth at all, or the teeth are so worn they are no longer effective with the eating process.

Sources:

“Cattle Must Have Sound Teeth.” NSW Agriculture

O’Brien, Dr. Anna. “Dental Care for Cows, Goats, and the Surprisingly Vicious Llama.” PetMD

Wells, Ph.D., Robert. “Teeth Condition Can Reveal Cow Age, Aid Culling Decisions.” Noble Research Institute

Top Tips for Silage Safety

7-27-17 silage

Safety is a top priority here at the Patz Corporation. We want to ensure that our customers and dealers use proper safety techniques to keep safe.

Silage storage areas are one of several hazardous places on the farm. Silage is the cut up feed ingredients used to feed cattle. It is stored on the farm in a few different ways, silo towers, bunkers, silage bags, and piles.

Today’s blog will focus on silage piles and bunkers, seeing as they can be stacked very high and are not completely contained. A silage bunker is contained with walls usually on 3 sides. Silage piles are not contained. Both of these silage storage types are started with material that is flattened and then layered as the silage gets higher and wider. The pile is built vertically, and flattened down often to keep materials packed tightly.

Never build a silage area higher than what your machinery is capable of reaching. Do not approach the face of the silage unless you are in a vehicle. If you are not, stand 3 times the height of the pile away from the wall, so if there is a down rush of silage, you are far enough away that it won’t reach you. When collecting samples, have someone in a machine unload a section of silage for you a safe distance from the large pile. If standing on top of the silage, remain at least 3 feet from the edge, so if it does fall, you are not taken with it.

Work using the “buddy” system. If something unfortunate does occur, having a person close could prevent or lessen an accident. Be aware of toxic fumes that can sometimes occur with silage piles. If you see orange or brown gases, those are especially toxic – do not approach the silage until they have had time to fully dissipate.

Lastly, never let children around silage areas. Put up signs and have everyone on the farm reinforce this rule.

 

Sources:

“Preventing Silage-Related Injuries and Fatalities Among Farm Workers.” Virginia Tech Dairy Science

Radke, Amanda. “6 Silage Safety Guidelines to Remember.” Beef Magazine