Life on the Farm

Life on the Farm

Here is a story in pictures about what life is like on our family farm.
At Midwest Best, we mix all our own feed to ensure the quality and the content of our feed.

Spring Work

Spring Field 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.

Tractor and finisher used to prepare the seedbed.
Tractor planting Corn or Soybeans. The same planter is used for both crops.
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.

Here I am using a discbine to cut the crop.
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.
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.
The dry hay is rolled into large round bales. Each bale weighs between 1,500 and 2,000 lbs.
The hay is hauled in from the field and stored inside until ground and mixed for feed.
Harvest

The harvest of soybeans usually starts in Oct. Corn is usually harvested in November and December.

Combine harvesting soybeans. The stalks from the soybean are blown back into the field for fertilizer.
The cutter bar cuts the beanstalk and the real pushes the plant into the machine.
Combining Corn
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.
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.
Much of the crop is harvested at night.
Corn is stored on the farm to be fed to cattle. Excess corn is sold.
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. This process 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.

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.
Ingredients are measured by weight using a scale built into the TRM.
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.
Calcium Carbonate is added as a trace ingredient to balance the mineral requirements of the beef.
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.
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.
Pulling up to the bunk line to deliver the freshly mixed feed.
Feed is transferred into the cement bunk. Cement bunks are used for there ease of feed handling, durability and comfort for the cattle.
Fixing (farm repairs)

When working a small family farm, we have to learn to perform many task ourselves. Fixing farm machinery is a regular part of farming a small family farm.

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

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

Any questions? Please Contact Us