Excitement, anticipation and emotions are building as what many people believe to be the best week of the year approaches. People from around the world and cows from across North America have started making their way towards Madison, WI for World Dairy Expo. We will be following a string from Western Canada as their trip kicked off dark and early Wednesday morning (the term “bright and early” doesn’t really apply to the show-cow crowd). We have also been following the happenings at Budjon Farms since early September. And recently started following the Arethusa truck coming from Hartford, CT thanks to Shannon Dwyer!
Arethusa Crew – Friday, Sep. 28, Evening report
We left Maryland this afternoon and our next stop is Madison! We should get in about 3:00 a.m. and are currently just crossing into Ohio. The crew in Madison is busy getting everything ready before we arrive. Last time we stopped I crawled up the truck to check on the Jeresey’s who are riding on top, they were all snuggled in and chewing their cud, looking very comfortable. They are all tied facing the drivers side of the truck, but they can lay down if they want in a nice deep pack.
Loading out from Boonsboro
Budjon – Sep 25, 2012
Inventory for the week
- 6000# of grain
- 1200# energy mix
- 1200# protein pellets
- 18 big bales of straw to bed initial bedding
- 200 small squares of straw for rest of week
- 380 bags of shavings
A LOT OF HAY!!!!!!!!!
Western Canadian Crew – Friday, Sep. 28, Morning report
WE MADE IT!!!! After a long night of driving across Minnesota and Wisconsin, we pulled onto John Nolen Drive at 7:45 this morning. Time to get busy with setting up and settling in. Thanks for following!
Arethusa Crew – Thursday Sep. 28, 2012 Morning report
Chores went well this morning, but it rained last night so we had to fight some serious mud when bringing the cows in. The weather is nice now and will hopefully stay that way! The cows are enjoying the relaxing time here in Maryland. We’ll stay busy getting ready for the final leg of the journey until we take off at about 2:00 p.m.
Arethusa Crew – Thursday, Sep. 27, 2012 Evening report
We arrived in Boonsboro in good time! We finished up chores about 8:00 EDT, everything went very smoothly! The cows were anxious to get off the truck! As soon as we unloaded we filled Ernie’s barn and began to milk and feed. Since I have been with the cows the last few years, we have a pretty good system for working in the barn and switching cows in and out. Everyone was turned out into a nice spacious pasture in front of the barn, a beautiful site- the calm before the storm. Max and I will take turns checking on the girls throughout the night. We have a really nice group of Jersey’s on, Vivid, our four-year-old is with us and it’s been really special watching her develop over the last few years. Also in tow we have Velour, a big black Jr. 3-year-old that was Reserve Grand at the Big E. We will spend the morning getting the semi ready and some other little things and leave here tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. It is nice to just relax with the cows here at this beautiful farm!
Western Canadian Crew – Thursday, Sep. 27, 2012 Evening report
We got through the border in what was the easiest crossing we’ve ever had! They searched the pick-up truck and asked questions like where we came from, where we were heading, what the oxytocin needles are for. They also looked through the liner and then sent us on our way. We are excited now, once we get through the border it feels like EXPO time! We don’t have a Missy or Camomile on this year, but we do have some new stars including RockyMountain Winter’s full sister along with family members from Missy and Lyster Beauty. We stopped in Fargo, ND to chore at the North Dakota State University campus farm.
Trucker, Jim Young checks things out
Lee Simanton gets ready to feed
Lars Iverson of Olds, AB unloads
Markus Hehli gets the milking done
Dr. Sarah Wagner, vet and professor at NDSU with PGA Damion Lizzie
The NDSU Judging team squeezed in a practice class during the visit
We’ll only stop for fuel and caffeine between here and Madison and hope to get their early tomorrow morning!
Budjon – Sep. 22, 2012
Time to Start Clipping!
On top of the efforts to prepare for our rather large string at Expo….we still need to maintain focus on a few important items on our agenda at home. We have scheduled a special classification for Wednesday, September 26th. WHY do we need more on plate at this point ? But think about it….we now have guys here at the farm (Iowa native Kyle Demmer and well-known Austrialian fitter Matt Templeton) that are hired for this week to clip, wash and help Tom with the extras that need to get done. One of those items is getting all the cows and hefiers on the farm clipped. So the question is…are they going to be clipping off the show cows this close to the show? Yes they are! Some of the cows that we are doing a special for are the ones that will be showing in two weeks, so we can not have them “furry”. Granted they are not clipping them “show ready” but they will be ready for the classifier on Wednesday. Secondly, we wanted the rest of the herd and hefiers sheds clipped off for our tours on Monday and Tuesday the week of Expo. Finally…when we have the help…we take full advantage of their talents.
Terry Lee is our go-to hoof trimmer for our show cows and has been for several years. Tom & Terry get along very well and enjoy catching up, talking about the animals and enjoying a few Miller High Lifes when the day is done. Terry came and trimmed one day last week, and he will be back Monday and Tuesday of this week. Hoof trimming may be the underlying technique that people sometimes forget about. We trim religiously 2-3 times a month when we are rolling heavy during show season. Terry knows what he wants to do with the cows/heifers so we let him make the call on scheduling. He is the type of trimmer who choses not to completely correct a foot in one session. He will only take them so-far and then work on them again in two-three weeks. We feel this is a great way to trim because you do not get the severe soreness at one time. In addition to that, he prefers a “box-method” where the animals are standing and slightly sedated…we feel this is safer and less evasive, especially being so close to a major show. The other benefit is he is our “other set of eyes”. When he is done trimming, him & Tom walk thru the barn and look at all the cows, every time he is here. They talk about how the cows look, wether it is their weight, amount of rib, etc…. and this is very important to Tom & I because some times you can cut off your nose to spite your face. In other words…he is never afraid to tell us what he thinks. He doesn’t see the cows every day like we do, and because of that, he may see something we may be missing. We certainly welcome his opinion and appreciate all that he does for our program. People don’t realize, its guys like Terry who are just as much a part of our program and our crew as any full time person at the farm or on our crew at the shows. He may not be in the “Limelight” but he is there! And he is a big part of it! Thanks Terry!
Arethusa Crew – Thursday, Sep. 27, 2012 Morning report
We left Arethusa this morning at 9:00 a.m. Our set up crew (Katie Kearns, Rod Rankin, Kyle Aves, Jeff Jarl, Katie DeBruin and Terri Packard) took off yesterday morning and will have everything ready for us when we arrive in Madison. We are now heading to Boonsboro, MD to Erine Kueffner’s farm, it’s a great spot for the cows to rest and for us to chore, before we load up for the final stretch tomorrow. It should take us about seven hours to get down to MD (about 400 miles), and then another 1,000 miles to Madison. That leg of the trip shoud take about 14 hours if all goes well.
We have 19 milk cows on Richard Kepler’s pot, but we also sent over a dozen heifers ahead yesterday with Lynn Neer, Richard Caverly and Bev Donovan. Also traveling with the cows is Max Montplaisir from Quebec. 19 cows is a lot to take on the road, but we are excited to get to Madison and see how they do in the show and have some great help to make it all happen! The excitement makes the work a little easier.
Richard Kepler – known to the Arethusa crew as “The World’s Greatest Trucker!”
Western Canadian Crew – Thursday, Sep. 27, 2012 Morning report
Chores went really well again this morning. Everything is in order thus far and cows (and crew) had a good rest. Now comes the big push, we won’t stop to do more than chore until we reach Madison. We pulled out of the farm shortly after 4:00 this morning and of course restocked our Tim Horton’s supply. We are now having a quick stop at a truck stop for breakfast in Whitewood, SK…won’t be long until we cross into Manitoba and enter the central time zone. The weather has really been great, about 5 degrees this morning (41 F). We hope to reach the border between 1 and 2 p.m. and are hoping for a quick stop there. No way to tell how long we’ll be there, it’s taken up to six hours before.
Budjon – Sep 17, 2012
The topic of discussion at dinner last night was…how the heck are these all going to fit in our center aisle in Row 3? Currently on our list of “just” milk cows (not heifers and not Junior show animals that can leave on Tuesday after the show) we have 40 milk cows. And with the amount of space we are allotted in that aisle…there is no way we are going to fit everything that we have committed to.
So the next question is…now what do we do? Do we have a seperate heifer/Junior Show string in the Hay Shed? Do we have a seperate Budjon-Vail jersey string?
We feel strongly that we will not turn away Expo clients that have been with us and are good friends. We want everyone we work with to enjoy the Expo Experience just like we do. People such as the Crave & Culbertson families have been in our string for years, we have built a winning relationship with them and refuse to tell them no. In addition, we will not move the Gen Com cows and their tack to another area either.
We have 16 people on our ‘day’ crew for the show and two wonderful young ladies at night. Its not that we don’t have good enough help because we are truly blessed with some of the most talented people in this business. The problem is…who goes where?
This is going to be a challenge for us, unlike any other year. We have no problem moving our jerseys to the Hay Shed if it means keeping our customers happy and leaving their animals in the center aisle.
Western Canadian Crew – Wednesday, Sep. 26, 2012 Evening report
We arrived at Struwicks safely around 5:00 p.m. They are gracious enough to open their barn to us for our first night on the road. We unloaded the cattle and the first order of business is watering and feeding. We then milked in their barn, which is much easier than milking on the side of the trailer as we may do on another stop. Some cows stay in the tie stalls, but they also have a pack barn we can use. Next is the glamorous job of cleaning out the liner and re-bedding to it’s ready to hit the trail in the morning. The whole process took us about two hours. The cows are traveling really well so far! Now it’s time to find some supper and then get a little sleep. We’ll be up at 2:30 to chore again and be back on the road by 4:00 a.m. so we can reach our border appointment in time. We’ll try to send some photos for our next post.
Western Canadian Crew – Wednesday , Sep. 26, 2012 Mid-Day report
The weather has been perfect for the drive thus far! We are making really good time and have covered a lot of ground in the last 8 hours. We just passed the spot where the semi got a flat tire last year, and we’re not talking about a trailer tire- a big driving tire blew and we were lucky to get a replacement. Thankfully there have been no troubles yet. We drive through a lot of small towns, not much to look at out here but geese and deer. There are plenty of small towns with friendly little restaurants where we can stop for a quick bite, and now that we’re closer to Regina we’ve found a good radio station… considering the long trip we like to keep a wide variety of music playing- everyone gets to listen to their favorites at one time or another. The cows seem to be comfortable, we keep them tied up for the trip but they have access to hay at all times. Won’t be long before we reach our choring destination.
Budjon – Sep 15, 2012
The week of World Dairy Expo sets the tone for our genetic marketing and Budjon Boarding business for the entire year. First impressions are what can make or break us, especially on a dairy farm the specializes in the care of other peoples animals. It is imperative that we show prospective new clients, current customers or other types of visitors that we take our work very seriously and want them to have an enjoyable visit to the little town of Lomira. A lot of our current boarding clients made the decision to house their cattle at Budjon sheerly because of our location and that we are a “hub” for tours this week and throughout the year. On any given week, 52 weeks a year, we can host from one to three tours, big and small….every single one of them just as important as the next.
As Expo approaches, emails and phone calls start to pour in from all over the country wanting to schedule a tour at the farm. It is extremely humbling that visitors want to come see the facilities and the cows. But this is no small feat to pull off….Budjon-style. Again, we want things to be in tip-top shape for our guests, therefore there is an additional amount of labor involved with bringing the farm up to code. Granted we pride ourselves on keeping things clean on a daily basis, but not like what we want for this week. It forces us to a whole new level of “clean”. Every animal on the farm is clipped and washed, the entire inside of the barn is washed, all 14 boxstalls rebedded with new packs, weeds sprayed, landscaping updated with new colorful fall mums, and we are even going to take on a special classification the week prior this year. Phew! Sounds like a lot…but the amount of money that we will have invested in labor and supplies is minor compared to the business we are hoping to create and continue.
We have taken the approach, and this will be the second year of this, that we just can not host tours all week long at the farm. We use to do this when Tom’s parents made the decision to stay at the farm until Friday and host every one of them. But since the passing of Tom’s Mom last year, and Tom’s Dad wanting to sit back, relax and enjoy watching the cows on the colored shavings (starting on Wednesday with the jersey cows), we have made a family decision to host tours on Sunday – Tuesday and then after the week is over. We respect John’s wishes to enjoy the show, and he deserves to do that. We certainly will not turn away people who don’t mind viewing the farm “pro-bono” or any current boarding clients that want to see their animals or stop for a visit…with the understanding that none of the Cull Family will be there. We welcome any one to stop, but they just may not have the luxury of having a guided tour like we are used to giving.
Western Canadian Crew – Wednesday, Sep. 26, 2012 AM
We left Morsan Farms in Ponoka, AB at 5:30 a.m… which means we got up at 3:00 and met there at 4:00 a.m. Let the early mornings begin! After loading the ten cows, four heifers and equipment, we stocked up on Tim Horton’s and hit the road in good time. The convoy consists of the semi and pot containg the precious cargo (cattle) driven by long-time trucker Jim, and a pick-up truck with additional equipment and more importantly, chore help. We will stop near Regina, SK at Struwicks and chore at their farm. We usually spend the night there and head out early to hit the border in Pembina, MB in good time tomorrow morning and head down I-29 through North Dakota, Minnesota and onto WISCONSIN! We are currently almost to Saskatchewan and are already out of radio stations.
The tack is on the liner, and so is a bunch of hay. We will buy our bedding when we get to Madison and will also buy some more hay when we get there too. If all goes well we should arrive in Madison on Friday morning.
Budjon – Sep. 3, 2012
Lights go on in the barn at Budjon at 4:20am. Bringing 34 show cows in from three different pastures is our first order of business. With the addition of the final group of Gen Com cows last Wednesday (5 – besides Idee Goldwyn Lynley & Robrook Goldwyn Cameron who already calved at Budjon) we must be very careful as to how they enter the barn and the handling of each individual animal at this point until they learn their routine and placement. We have to send them in on halters, walk them to their stalls and carefully allow them to step over the gutter. This process takes about a half an hour. For the safety of the new cows that are living in the stalls now, and for our cows that have been moved once again in the barn, this process is necessary. We want all the cows to be safe, but we also want the barn to be “aesthetically” pleasing (meaning pairing up cows that are the same size as the row goes down the barn) when we have visitors. The boxstall cows, including the likes of “Africa”, “Desire”, “Dana”,”Goldie”, “Barbara”, & “Cameron”, …and a welcomed back favorite “RF Goldwyn Hailey”…these girls already know where to go…and their feed is waiting. I would hate to see what it would be like if we DID NOT have their feed prepped and ready! Pretty sure “Goldie” would jump over boxstall gates to find it!
We have also made the decision to wait on putting the “stall” cows show feed down in the manger until every one of them is in the barn and tied up because when you have 18 stall cows right next to each other and not all of them eat at the same pace, and some steal from others…you have to feed them all at once or some eat more and some lose out. Every cow is fed specifically according to their weight, freshness, and milking capabilities.
Hurry up- we’re hungry!
And just as if we were at the show…after their tubs have been pulled, feed swept in and vanished…it is time to feed hay. Normally, our cows eat grain, take a drink of water (a large one we hope) and then it is time for the hay. We feed a more grassy type of hay in the barn, and a little more of an alfalfa mix in the bunks at the pastures. This year is a bit more challenging with the drought we have been dealing with. Our grass hay from last year is almost gone, and the little we made this year will need to continue to cure out, but “rationed” because of the lack of inventory.
After milking is completed, the show cows then return back outside to their specific pastures (boxstall cows in one pasture, stall cows in the second and jerseys in the third)…our barn crew beds the boxstalls with a large pack of straw and shavings, rebeds the stalls and then starts the washing process. It takes them approximately 2.5 hours to wash and lead in 34 show cows and also wash 6 show heifers. Every animal is soaped, Orvus scrubbed by hand on their tops, legs and tails and rinsed thoroughly…7 days a week.
This week may be the most crucial in terms of weight on the cows because feed adjustments need to be made NOW in order to have any kind of bearing on what needs to happen the next three weeks. Decisions such as that can obviously not be left until the last minute. Seeing them out on the move (on a show halter) vs. looking at them every day standing in their stalls is a crucial element to our program. You may think you know what they look like, but until you take that important step back, clear your mind, and look at animals objectively (like they are in the show ring), we feel you may miss something important that is taken for granted on a daily basis. Our mind set is that we try to ‘recreate’ what is going to take place the week of Expo…for example..making early on decisions about the number of hours of milk they can hold (prior to losing their MSL or their foreudders breaking from too much milk), or if she needs to have her feet trimmed once, maybe even twice more to continue that perfect “stride” we so desire. How much more rib do we need on her, both from a body depth stand point and from a rear view as well? Is she eating the right hay to continue making a good fill?
Budjon – Sept. 11, 2012
Extra help never hurts!
We have been fortunate in the past year to have hired four amazing Hispanic guys that “get” what we do. They enjoy it, and understand that we want things done a certan way. Tom or I will show them a task or a procedure and, lucky for us, they follow through…no questions asked, no egos to check in order to do it. Same goes with the super group of young guys that work at the farm on a part-time basis. These guys are here for a specific reason, whether it is their fitting abilities, physical strength, capabilities in working with and/or leading the cows to fine tune their show ring presence, or their charisma in wanting to learn more about our program. We do NOT to take any of this excellent help for granted! We could not run the business we do, with the show program we strive to maintain with “mediocre” employees.
Today, Nicholas Schuster is here working with a small group of cows that need that little bit of extra work on the halter. He is a great guy to do this because he brings two key elements to the table to achieve this very important task: one, he is big enough (heighth and strength) and two, he has a gentle personality. He is the kind of guy we can trust to put on the halter of Butz-Butler Gold Barbara or Greenlea Advent Cara-Red to finish out what has already been started from a leading perspective. These cows need that 10-15 minutes a day on a show halter, every couple days of week for the next three weeks. He will focus mainly on Cara-Red for the next couple of days because Richard Green (owner) is adding her to his Greenlea Show String at Harrisburg, PA. She will show as a second calf four-year-old this year, and looks tremendous! We are excited to see how she does in a week at the show.
We’ll be adding more as the trek to Expo continues! Check back often! If there’s something specific you’d like to know from either group, please email questions to email@example.com.