Crazy Moos

Moosworthy Information Straight from the Dairy!

Interesting Facts about California Agriculture

IMG_0408

**A California Wheat Field**

California is famous for so many things: technology, Apple computers, beaches, surfing, movies, Hollywood. What many people don’t realize is that California affects their daily lives in a much more important way. Note:some people may beg to differ since it’s almost impossible to live without Facebook, or their iPhone…

California is one of the most productive places in the world in terms of food production, yet many of the people in California are unaware of the immense productivity of California farms. Many people pass farms here in California while driving down the road, without realizing that California is actually the breadbasket of the world.

Just to prove how important California agriculture is to the United States, I pulled together some fun and interesting facts. Some of these facts may surprise you

  • California is the world’s 5th largest supplier of food, cotton fiber and other agricultural commodities.
  • California is the largest producer of food in the U.S. yet has less than 4% of the farms in the U.S.
  • The unique Mediterranean climate allows us to grow over 450+ different crops.
  • Some of these crops are exclusive to California: almonds, artichokes, dates, figs, kiwifruit, olives, persimmons, pomegranates, pistachios, prunes, raisins, clovers, and walnuts
  • California is the largest exporter of almonds in the world
  • California is the number 1 dairy state in the U.S.
  • California produces over 86% of all the lemons consumed in the United States.
  • California is the 4th largest wine producer in the world and produces over 90% of the wine in the U.S.
  • 70 to 80% of all ripe olives are grown in California
  • California accounts for 94% of the processed tomatoes in the U.S.
  • California is the nation’s leading producer of strawberries, averaging 1.4 billion pounds of strawberries or 83% of the country’s total fresh and frozen strawberry production.
  • The value of the California strawberry crop is approximately $700 million with related employment of more than 48,000 people.
  • California produces 25% of the nation’s onions and 43% of the nation’s green onions.

The pictures in this posting were taken by me this month. You can see how much variety there is in farming just in these few pictures.

IMG_0438

**Beef cows grazing in Northern California**

IMG_0437

**A Rice Field **

IMG_0435

**An Olive Orchard**

IMG_0439

**Sunflowers**

IMG_0441

Filed under: Dairy, Farming, , , , , , , , , , ,

Growing Food for Cows

DSC01443

Its harvest time here on the dairy. We’ve been busy cutting the oats and rye grass that we grow during the winter months here in California. I guess that’s one of the great advantages of being in California. The growing season is long enough so we can grow 2 or even 3 crops per year instead of just one. Back east many farmers can only grow one crop before the winter snow covers the ground. Here in California, the sunshine state, we can really make the most of the land that we have.

I think that’s one of the many goals dairymen have: to maximize the resources we have. Many people wonder why all cows are not on pasture, and housed in barns. It’s probably for the simple reason that grazing cows requires a lot of land for pasture. If all our cows needed to be grazed, it would take thousands of acres of pasture land to grow enough food for the cows. Cows eat a lot!

The modern way of dairying is probably more environmentally friendly too because we are producing more food with less land. Instead of growing pasture grass, we grow feeds that grow thicker and grow much taller. For example, in the summer we will be growing corn which grows upwards of 6 feet, here in California. The entire cornstalk can be eaten by the cows so you can produce a lot of food with very little land.

I think everyone would graze cows on pasture if they could, but there just isn’t enough land to do it. By maximizing our land to grow as much food as possible, we are conserving land so it can be used to grow other crops for other food we need.

I took some pictures around the dairy where we grow the food for the cows. From the pictures, you should be able to see the process of how we make the food for the cows

DSC01441

** The Field, about to be cut**

From the picture above, you can get a better idea of how much food can be grown. The oats provide much more food than a pasture can provide. Once the oats are grown, they are cut and piled into very neat rows. Also surprisingly there is still a great deal of wildlife around the dairy noting the picture below. Jack the Jack Rabbit seemed to be following us.

DSC01437

**Jack the Jack rabbit was following us**

DSC01450

** The Field after its been cut**

DSC01444

** Cutting the field **

DSC01445

** The machine cuts the oats and puts it into rows**

When the oats are ready to be cut, we use the machine shown in the picture above to cut them. After its been cut and piled into rows, another machine process the oats further cutting it into smaller pieces, and then shoots it into the trucks. Cutting the feed into small pieces really helps make the feed more digestible for the cows. Basically this means that more food is actually digested and used by the cow to make milk, instead of simply passing through the cow’s digestive system unused. 

DSC01429

** The chopper then cuts it further into smaller pieces **

DSC01432

** and loads it into the trucks**

DSC01455

** The not-so-bright camera person**

DSC01457

** This tractor packs the pile to eliminate oxygen that could cause spoilage**

The feed is then piled into a large pile and packed tightly by a tractor that pushes the cut feed into the pile. The packing tractor is essential because it eliminates oxygen from the pile. If the oxygen remains in the pile, spoilage will occur. So the oxygen is eliminated, and bacteria are added to start the fermentation process which then preserves the food for years. The silage pile shown below will be all gone by next year though. As I mentioned before, cows eat a lot!

DSC01462

** The truck unloading**

After we finish cutting the oats, we will be planting the corn so stay tuned.

Filed under: Farm, , , , , , , ,

Easter, and the California State Show

208224_1961885045097_1181940682_2357121_5681602_n

**Cottonball our new bunny rabbit**

Easter has arrived at last, another reminder that spring has arrived! Cottonball was a friendly addition and helped us celebrate the holiday.

This past week, my family has been busy showing some of our animals at the California State Dairy Show. The show was very intense, but our animals did pretty well in the contest. One of our Red and White Holsteins won her class!

215805_1979013033286_1181940682_2376125_320013_n

**Cali chillaxing at the show**

All the cows arrive to the fairgrounds early in the week so they can recover from their journey to the show and get familiar with their new surroundings. By allowing arriving early and resting from the journey, the cows look their best by show time! The California State dairy show is the largest dairy show in California where the best of the best come and compete.

Cali, our red and white heifer, was just one of the heifers we showed at the show. She is a pretty calm heifer and was quite happy to be attending the show. She is just a natural beauty queen! 

**Cali entertaining herself**

Cali was pretty calm the entire show, and loved all the attention. Life at the show was easy for her. Clean bedding, a cool barn, and food delivered straight to her. Definitely a life of luxury.

**My brother showing Cali**

My brother got to show a few of the heifers in the show ring. The above picture shows Cali in the ring competing against other Holstein cows from all around California. Cali is pretty serious in the show ring.

**My sister showing Cali**

My sister also got to show Cali off in the show ring. Look how alert Cali is in the ring. She puts on a pretty exciting show.

**Picture time after winning her class**

Cali ended up winning her class at the show. The winners got to take their pictures which is a special honor! In the picture above the photographers are setting Cali up so she can look her best in the picture.

photo

**The prize**

After all the hard work of showing, this is a pretty satisfying reward! Cali is officially one of the top Red and White Holsteins in California

Filed under: County Fair, Dairy, Dairy Pets, , , , , , , , ,

California Sunshine: High on Vitamin D

DSC01254

**California Foothills**

Some people believe that California is the land of eternal sunshine. Unfortunately this isn’t always the case; the winter in California is unbelievably harsh. The temperature drops into the low 30s and sometimes even hits freezing point!

If you’ve been in the California valley during the winter, you know about the valley fog. During the winter months, it’s often cold and foggy. The fog is somewhat of a nuisance; it keeps the sun from drying things out, keeps the temperatures low, and makes driving very difficult. Weeks go by without the sun ever coming out; instead the drab cold fog just lingers around and hangs out.

 tule_fog

**Driving is a Blast in the Fog!**

california_tulefog_sm

**The California Fog just Hanging Out in the Valley**

This past December it rained heavily here in California, and we got a lot of water noting it seemed like it rained every day. The snowpack in the mountains has also been great this year. Meteorologists have noted we are ahead of schedule for the amount of water, and snow we got this year. This is great news for farmers in the California valley. We depend on the snowpack in the mountains for water to irrigate crops in the summer. This past year many farmers didn’t get enough water for their crops, not only because there was less precipitation last year, but because of economic terrorism. Many farmers should be happy this year about the amount of rain and snow we’ve gotten this year.

The past January, we haven’t gotten much rain, but the fog has rolled in and has been hanging around. The fog is irritating so we were very happy to see some sunshine finally at the end of the month. I’ve taken a break from writing, but I think this sunshine motivated me to start writing again. I’m probably high on vitamin D right now. The sun is shining, and the almonds will soon be blossoming. Spring is right around the corner, and will be here before you know it. Personally, I can’t wait!

IMG_0552

** View of our Farmland, Sunshine at Last!**

Filed under: Random, , , , , , , , , ,

A New Home: Christmas Comes Early for our Baby Calves

Christmas has come early for our baby calves. For awhile now, our family has been working on building some new structures on our new ranch to raise the baby calves more comfortably. We had grown out of our old facilities and needed a new place to raise the baby calves. We finally finished building the new facilities so we spent all last week moving heifers to the new ranch. It’s been pretty exciting!

DSC01341

**The Unloading Chute, the calves walk down the chute from the Trailer to their New Home**

The new barns are state of the art, and I think the heifers will be quite comfortable in their new home. Depending on the weather conditions, the sides of the barns can roll up and down. In the summer the sides will be raised up to promote airflow through the barn, while in much of the winter the sides will be lowered down to protect against wind and rain. In Northern California where the ranch is located, the wind can blow very hard, so the rolling sides will definitely protect the young cows against the hash elements of winter.

Inside the barns, the calves have a large area to run and play in. I’ll admit its pretty fun watching the heifers run to and fro inside the barns.

 

**My sister Watching the Calves Play**

In the barns, the heifers have free access to food and water. Water is freely available in the many water troughs that are located throughout the barn. When they drink out of the troughs, the water valve opens according to the water level in order to re-fill the trough. These water troughs are cleaned periodically to ensure a clean water supply for the calves. Food is also freely available. The heifers are fed corn silage along with a blend of other food stuffs. Corn silage is corn (the entire corn stalks) that have been chopped into fine pieces and fermented. Fermenting the corn silage is basically food preservation, and allows us to have feed available for the heifers year-round. The heifers really love eating the corn silage, and it’s always surprising to see how efficient they are at sorting their food to find the corn kernels.

DSC01326

**The Calves Eating in their new Home**

Northern California is a very scenic area in California, especially in the winter with the dark stormy skies and puffy clouds. On our drive through NorCal, we took some pretty cool pictures, enjoy.

DSC01350

** Farmland and Power Lines**

DSC01348

**The Coastal Mountain Range and Stormy Skies**

**Rice Fields in Northern California**

Filed under: Calves, Dairy, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Categories

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 13 other followers

Moo Entries

March 2017
S M T W T F S
« Nov    
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031  

Crazy Moos

About Crazy Moos

Welcome to the Crazy Moos blog! Crazy Moos is a play on words, basically trying to create a fun environment (crazy) for dairy news (moos). The overall goal of this blog is to communicate “moosworthy information” (newsworthy information) about the dairy industry and important happening on the dairy farm. Hopefully this blog will help people learn about various aspects of the dairy industry and what happens on the dairy farm. Visit regularly for new blog postings!

About Me

I am a 3rd generation dairyman in California, and our dairy farm really is a reflection of the American dream. My grandfather came to America from Europe after World War II in search of greater opportunities, and a safer place to raise a family. He came to America with hardly anything except his exceptional appreciation for hard work. My grandpa after a few years was able to start his own dairy farm and start producing high quality, nutritious milk. In the 70’s, he moved the operation to a more remote area (our current location), and started growing the herd.

Today, I am actively taking part in the farms daily responsibilities. I’m well qualified to be in the dairy industry, and consider myself pretty knowledgeable about the dairy industry having just graduating college with a degrees in dairy science, and dairy processing.

Many people today believe that the dairy industry has been taken over by large corporate farms, but a recent study done shows that most dairies are family owned. In fact, 99% of dairy farms in California are family owned and operated. My whole family is involved on the dairy. My sisters are caretakers of the baby calves, and we guys take care of the cows. There are eight kids in our family, so the dairy is definitely a family affair!

Milk is one of the world’s most nutritious natural products. So many people today are forgetting that milk is filled with many different nutrients, all combined to work in synergy together to maximize the body’s absorption of these nutrients. It’s the perfect blend of nutrients, in nature’s most natural product.

Milk, it’s a natural product, that’s naturally good for you!

**All Pictures, unless specified otherwise, Copyright © 2011 Crazy Moos. All Rights Reserved**