September 5, 2017 at 3:32 p.m.
By Jennifer Burggraff
MURDOCK, Minn. – Sunshine was a welcome sight on May 6 to Murdock, Minn., dairy producer Jeff Lindquist. Not only did the rays warm the air, they continued to dry the land that had been saturated by rain in the preceding days.
“We got around half an inch on Wednesday night (May 4),” Lindquist said. “That took us out of the field all day yesterday.”
It would not be so on May 6.
The day began as Ray Muellner, Lindquist’s full-time employee of three years, arrived at the farm shortly after 7 a.m. He set to work feeding the dry cows and steers before Lindquist – who lives across the road on another farm – arrived at 7 a.m. Lindquist was greeted by a newborn calf – a healthy red and white bull calf.
“I’ve been buying red and white bulls for the last few years, for no real reason except so the cows don’t all look the same,” Lindquist said of breeding for red and white genetics.
The majority of Lindquist’s cows are bred by herd bulls, though he does use some A.I. About one-third of his herd is now red and white, he said.
Milking was underway by 7:10 a.m. Lindquist and Muellner manned seven units in the single-10 flat parlor.
Lindquist has been milking at his current location for 10 years, though he has been dairying for 30 years.
“I started milking on May 8, 1981, on what was my grandpa’s farm,” he said, referring to the farm he now lives on. “I had seven cows.”
When the site of his current milking facility came up for sale 10 years ago, Lindquist decided to move his dairy herd there instead of investing money into his own barn, with room for only 27 cows. He retrofitted a single-10 flat parlor into an existing building and has been milking there since.
Lindquist’s milking herd is up to around 100 Holsteins. It took he and Muellner around three hours to complete milking on May 6, with Lindquist bringing in the fresh cow at 10:30 a.m.
Following milking, Lindquist cleaned the equipment while Muellner scraped the parlor.
Muellner grew up on a dairy near Sauk Centre, Minn. He began working for Lindquist during his second year of studying dairy management and ag business at Ridgewater College in Willmar, Minn.
“I’ve known since I was in eighth grade that I wanted to dairy,” Muellner said. “Dad pretty much turned me into a cow guy.”
While he enjoys working with the cattle the most, Muellner said his next chore was not his favorite – bottle feeding calves.
“I like doing calf chores, but I don’t like bottle feeding,” he said.
There were 26 calves on milk – five on bottles with the new calf – on May 6. Lindquist and Muellner tag-teamed to feed the calves milk and grain, finishing around 11:15 a.m. Muellner spent the next half hour mixing TMR for the dairy herd and feeding it in an outside bunk before both he and Lindquist headed to their homes to eat lunch.
At 1 p.m., Lindquist and Muellner hit the fields. Lindquist started planting corn in one while Muellner dug another.
Lindquist runs around 800 acres of owned and rented land, raising corn, wheat, soybeans, oats and alfalfa. With the conditions brought by this spring’s weather, he – like most producers in the state – is a little behind schedule.
“It’s nice to get started planting in April, but I just started planting wheat on Wednesday (May 4) … Last year I started on April 5, but that was the extreme the other way,” Lindquist said. “I was planning to plant 120 acres of wheat, but I might change my mind if I can’t get it done in the next 10 days.”
This year is the latest he has ever been with planting, he said. While he was hoping to plant more wheat on May 6, field conditions wouldn’t allowed it. Instead, Lindquist began planting the first of his corn on a drier field, with hopes of putting in 44 acres by the end of the afternoon.
Although things went smoothly, Lindquist didn’t quite meet his goal. By 5:30 p.m. he and Mueller were both back on the farm to start evening chores. All feeding and milking was completed by 9 p.m., going without a hitch. Lindquist and Muellner again headed for their homes, hoping May 7 would bring more sunshine and fieldwork.[[In-content Ad]]