Life on the Farm

Life on the Farm

Here is our story in pictures where we try to illustrate what life is like on our small family farm. we hope this gives you a sense of who we are and the life we lead as well as demonstrate transparency.  We strive to give you a clear picture of where and how your food is produced.  Feel free to come for a visit and see for yourself.

Spring Work

Life on the farm includes Spring Field. Spring work normally starts in late April and extends to Mid-May. We plant corn soybeans and alfalfa hay in that order. Alfalfa tends to last 4-5 years. Corn and soybeans are planted annually.

life on the farm
Tractor and finisher used to prepare the seedbed.
life on the farm
Tractor planting Corn or Soybeans. The same planter is used for both crops.
life on the farm
The line in the soil is used to mark the next planting round. More modern farms now use GPS.
Haying

Harvesting Alfalfa hay usually begins end of May early June. We traditionally harvest 3 or 4 crops depending on rainfall. Hay crops are usually harvested 5 to 6 weeks apart for beef hay. Dairy hay tends to be harvested sooner to increase nutrient value.

life on the farm
Here I am using a discbine to cut the crop.
life on the farm
Hay usually requires 4-5 days to dry before baling. To retain proper feed value, it must not be rained on after it is cut.
life on the farm
Once the hay is almost dry, it is raked into “wind rows.” This gets the hay off the ground and “fluffed” up to allow the wind to complete the drying process.
life on the farm
The dry hay is rolled into large round bales. Each bale weighs between 1,500 and 2,000 lbs.
life on the farm
The hay is hauled in from the field and stored inside until ground and mixed for feed.
Harvest

One of the most important times when it comes to life on the farm is harvest time. The harvest of soybeans usually starts in Oct. Corn is usually harvested in November and December.

life on the farm
Combine harvesting soybeans. The stalks from the soybean are blown back into the field for fertilizer.
life on the farm
The cutter bar cuts the beanstalk and the real pushes the plant into the machine.
life on the farm
Combining Corn
life on the farm
The combine uses a different head for corn. The head pulls the stalk down and snaps the ear from the stalk. Only the ear is pulled into the machine. The stalks are later baled for bedding for cattle.
life on the farm
Corn and soybeans are unloaded into gravity flow boxes and transported out of the field. Soybeans are hauled to the grain elevator to be sold.
life on the farm
Much of the crop is harvested at night.
life on the farm
Corn is stored on the farm to be fed to cattle. Excess corn is sold.
life on the farm
Corn is augured from the gravity box into the top of the corn bin.
Feeding

At Midwest Best, we mix all our own feed to ensure the quality and the content of our feed. We do not buy any premixed additives. The individual ingredients are added to the TMR (Total Mix Ratio or basically a giant mixer) and mixed to provide uniform consistency of the ingredients. Life on the farm includes this process; it is considerably more time consuming and expensive than that of the industrial feedlots, but we feel it is the only way we can ensure the quality and the composition of the feed we provide our beef.

life on the farm
Adding hay to the TMR. Hay is added first since it is the largest ingredient by volume. Our feed recipes are primary hay by volume grown on our own farm.
life on the farm
Ingredients are measured by weight using a scale built into the TRM.
life on the farm
Distiller corn is added for protein. Distillers corn is the byproduct of the alcohol distillation process. It is what is left after the carbohydrates have been consumed during distillation. It is a high protein corn by-product used to balance the diet. It is the only minor ingredient that does not come from the farm.
life on the farm
Calcium Carbonate is added as a trace ingredient to balance the mineral requirements of the beef.
life on the farm
Here we are adding the corn as the final ingredient to the final “finishing” ration. Using corn in the final finishing ration provides the traditional taste and texture people have come to expect from high quality aged beef.
life on the farm
Final finishing ration product… If you look closely, you can see the individual ingredients in our feed mix. We use 4 different recipes depending on the stage of develop of the beef. The corn content is increased with each recipe until we get to the final “finishing” recipe pictured above. You can see that high quality hay grown on our farm (unlike industrial feedlots) still constitutes a significant about of the the diet even in the finishing ration.  We believe this allows us retain a significant amount of the advantage of grass fed without compromising the taste and texture. The finishing recipe has a largest corn content to provide the “Corn Finished” taste that consumer have come to expect of high quality beef.
life on the farm
Pulling up to the bunk line to deliver the freshly mixed feed.
life on the farm
Feed is transferred into the cement bunk. Cement bunks are used for there ease of feed handling, durability and comfort for the cattle.
Loading Cattle

At Midwest Best beef we strive to reduce as much stress as possible with our cattle.  One of the most stressful events is the day we load the cattle to bring them to the processing facility.  Not only is causing undue stress inhumane to the beef, but it reduces the quality of the beef.

 

My daughter Ireland setting up corral used to funnel cattle into the loading shoot

The corral is setup and ready to load cattle into the trailer.  We use the corral to funnel the cattle into the loading shoot and ultimately into the trailer.

 

Cattle are loaded as quickly as possible with the help of our collie dog.  We use the plastic paddle to gently move them along

 

Cleaning the Cattle Shed

At Midwest Best beef strive to maintain a clean and comfortable living environment.  We use deep pack bedding where we continuously add fresh clean bedding on top of old bedding.  The pack will start to compost overtime providing a soft warm bed for the cattle.  We clean the pack out 2 or 3 times a year when we have open fields to spread the manure on for bedding.

life on the farm
The cattle shed just before cleaning

 

life on the farm
Skid load and grapple fork ready to start cleaning.

 

life on the farm
Hauling a load of soiled bedding to the field to be spread as fertilizer
life on the farm
Cleaned and scraped. Ready for new bedding

 

life on the farm
Fresh corn stalk bedding added after cleaning

 

life on the farm
The cattle investigating there freshly cleaned pen with new bedding

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fixing (farm repairs)

Life on the farm would not be complete without breakdowns. When working a small family farm, we have to learn to perform many tasks ourselves. Fixing farm machinery is a regular part of farming a small family farm.

life on the farm
Replacing the old snapping rolls on the corn head
life on the farm
Replacement auger from the bean head. The old auger was damaged by a rock
life on the farm
Reconditioning the new auger for the bean head
life on the farm
Grandpa and my two oldest daughters helping me install the rebuilt auger into the bean head.
life on the farm
Replacing a cracked rim on the IH 1586 tractor
life on the farm
Replacing the radiator on the AC 170 tractor after the fan went through it.
life on the farm
Repairing the busted front axle on the IH 1586 tractor in the middle of the field in the middle of the night.
life on the farm
Splitting the tractor to replace the engine on the 1586 tractor
life on the farm
New engine for the 1586
life on the farm
With the help of good friends and family, we are putting the new engine in the IH 1586 tractor
life on the farm
Rebuilding the engine in the IH 986
life on the farm
Scored cylinder caused the engine failure in the IH 986
life on the farm
Old pistons from IH 986
life on the farm
Cleaned up engine block from the IH 986
life on the farm
IH 986 engine reassembled and painted
life on the farm
Helping Dad put duals on the IH 1586 tractor
Relaxing

Live on the farm is not all work. We enjoy our downtime relaxing with family.

life on the farm
Spending time with Grandma on the front porch
life on the farm
Playing softball on the driveway
life on the farm
Grandma watching the grandkids play in the yard
life on the farm
Resting on the front steps before going back to work.
life on the farm
Snoozing with the family dog after a long day
life on the farm
Playing with her puppy on the yard
How we raise our pork

Our hogs are rotated on six acres of grass filled pasture.  This ensures our hogs are happy, healthy, and flavorful.

life on the farm

Our pasture raised hogs are not given routine antibiotic or growth hormones. They are provided with an abundance of space to engage in their nature behavior.

life on the farm

 

We only raise 100% Berkshire pasture pork. Because of the excellent muscle quality of Berkshire pigs, the pork is superior in taste and eating qualities when compared to other breeds. Berkshires’ high-quality meat is darker, tastier and contains more marbling than most other types of pork.

life on the farm

 

Our pasture raised pork is fed corn grown directly from our farm. The hogs also have access to an unlimited supply of clean feed and water to ensure a quality and humane environment for our hogs.

life on the farm


Any questions? Please Contact Us