Q and A: training a heifer to milk, powdery mildew, and ordering seeds — 6 Comments

  1. I have also used the rope around the middle of the cow and right before the back legs usually right after they have first freshened and they are sore and full of edema. But I use the rope so that I can put on the back hobbles. My girl is wonderful but I don’t take a chance and always put the hobbles on especially during fly season. She is also in a stanchion that has her confined on all sides and a board is placed behind her. At times, if she is kicky I will milk from behind. Especially those short back tits, that are hard to find, depending on how she is standing. I feel safer milking from behind because on the left side is part of the stall wall and I can safely fall behind the wall if she ever got crazy. Which thankfully she never has. I would love to milk share with the calf but I keep hearing the issues with the cow not wanting to share with you and the lack of cream and chicken out.

  2. Powdery mildew – I find that the best control is based on assuming that my plants are going to get it, and treating for it before the symptoms show up. The treatment should be re-applied frequently (every 3 to 7 days) depending on rainfall frequency, temperature and wind, because spores multiply very quickly. The other good control is to grow varieties that are not susceptible to it. Powdery mildew spores don’t need a water film to germinate but they do appreciate high humidity. Part of the treatment is not handling the leaves or walking through the plants, or letting your animals walk there, especially on a high humidity day. The spores blow on the wind and are almost certainly on the plants, whether you see symptoms or not. Anything brushing against the leaves will spread the spores. If you’ve had powdery mildew and not completely removed the plant litter you’ll almost certainly get it again as the spores overwinter. You can try a fungicide or sulfur spray before you set our plants as a preventive. As long as the plants have good air circulation and sun, some people feel that washing the leaves with water may help prevent infection because it washes the spores off. I’ve used the diluted milk and baking soda treatments and they did work, but have found that I get better and more certain control with a fungicide like Serenade. It is expensive, so buy a large bottle and dilute it yourself. But once plants show symptoms powdery mildew can’t be cured, only controlled.

  3. I spent twenty years milking cows for a living so here is a couple of ideas on the kicking hieffer. Use a nose lead. The device has two balls that go in the nostrils and is attached to a rope. It won’t hurt her at all. Stretch her head out and tie it off. Keeps her mind on something else and you usually only have to do it a couple of times. The other method is to take a piece of rope with a loop in the end around the cow in front of her hind legs and udder. Slip the end through the loop, pull tight and tie with a slip knot. This works like the anti kick device Jackie desncribed. I personally do not like hobbles.

  4. I loved your story about the Rodeo Queen. In addition to your Western series, I’ll bet you could write a humorist book on farm life too.

  5. I liked how you got the cow to mind, sticking to your guns no matter what the cow did. If more people reared children that way, we would have better behaved children.

  6. I’ve never milked a cow, but when I got a dairy goat some years ago, she decided she would be a “milk stand dancer.” Her breeder told me to just dump the bucket of milk on her head the next time she acted up. She became a perfect lady after that. I was in awe at how well it worked!