Tag Archives: cow comfort

Hungry for Truth visits John and Jaclyn Horter Farm to learn about feeding cows and keeping them comfortable in the cold.

Keeping Cows Comfy Through Cooler Temps

The crops may be harvested and the equipment put away, but there’s still plenty to do on South Dakota farms in the winter. This is especially true for farmers, like John Horter, who raise animals. John is the fifth generation in his family to grow soybeans, corn, wheat and alfalfa near Andover. He also works with his parents, wife Jaclyn and two adorable children, Dane and Raegan, to manage a cow/calf operation and a farm repair and supply business in their local community.

Hungry for Truth visits John and Jaclyn Horter Farm to learn about feeding cows and keeping them comfortable in the cold.

With 98 percent of South Dakota farms being family owned, it’s important for farmers like the Horters to practice sustainability and excellent animal care to continue feeding families in the future. So what does a typical winter day on the Horter family farm look like? How do they keep their cows healthy during cold weather? We visited with John to get the scoop on his winter activities.

Hungry for Truth visits John and Jaclyn Horter Farm to learn about feeding cows and keeping them comfortable in the cold.

Q: What is a typical day like on your farm in the winter?

A: A typical winter day starts with checking on and feeding our cattle. We do our best to make sure they eat at about the same time every day. Once they’re taken care of, we spend time in the shop fixing equipment and working at our store. We also plan for the next growing season by reviewing harvest data to determine investments in seed, fertilizer and equipment. This type of data and the technology in our tractors help us use minimal resources to grow healthy crops.

Hungry for Truth visits John and Jaclyn Horter Farm to learn about feeding cows and keeping them comfortable in the cold.

Q: How do you keep your cattle comfortable in unpredictable weather?

A: We make a plan for each situation. If it looks like it’s going to be warm, we put down extra bedding to keep them out of the mud. When it’s cold, we feed them more to ensure they have extra energy. If it is unusually stormy or cold, we bring them closer to windbreaks for protection or inside our barns. We add windbreaks and plant trees throughout the year to give them more protection out in the pasture. We are constantly looking for different ways to keep them safe and healthy no matter the weather.

Hungry for Truth visits John and Jaclyn Horter Farm to learn about feeding cows and keeping them comfortable in the cold.

Q: How do you make sure your cows stay healthy when it’s cold?

A: We work with an animal nutritionist to put together the right diet for every season. As the temperatures fall, we adjust their diets to provide more energy to keep them warm. Cattle grow thicker hair in the winter to protect themselves against cold temps so they can stay comfortable grazing in sub-zero weather.

We also rely on our veterinarian to help us treat our animals if they get sick. When we notice an issue, our veterinarian helps us diagnose the problem and can prescribe an antibiotic through a veterinary feed directive. This ensures that we only use antibiotics when necessary and in the right doses. It helps us treat our cattle safely and as directed by law.

Hungry for Truth visits John and Jaclyn Horter Farm to learn about feeding cows and keeping them comfortable in the cold.

Q: What’s your favorite part about raising animals on the farm?

A: It’s really fun to see the way our children interact with the animals. In the summer, we all check on the cattle in the pastures together. We enjoy welcoming new calves every spring and watching them grow. It’s so rewarding to be part of providing healthy, safe and affordable food for South Dakota families.

Hungry for Truth visits John and Jaclyn Horter Farm to learn about feeding cows and keeping them comfortable in the cold.

Hungry for Truth visits John and Jaclyn Horter Farm to learn about feeding cows and keeping them comfortable in the cold.

In a state with more cows than people, it’s easy to see why cow comfort is so important to many farmers and ranchers. Read how animal care and cover crops are helping Shawn and Kristy Freeland create a sustainable future for their Rapid City ranch.

Hungry for Truth is an initiative about food and farming funded by the South Dakota soybean checkoff. The goal is to connect South Dakotans with the farmers who grow and raise their food. 

 

Rodney and Dorothy Elliott are South Dakota dairy farmers who operate Drumgoon Dairy. Hungry for Truth shares their story.

How American Dairy Farming Fulfilled an Irish Dream

Rodney Elliott started his first dairy farm in Ireland with 20 cows and a big dream. Over time, he added 120 cows to the herd with goals to keep growing, but European grazing systems and government-established quotas stood in his way.

 

Rodney and Dorothy Elliott are South Dakota dairy farmers who operate Drumgoon Dairy. Hungry for Truth shares their story.

 

That’s when Rodney, his wife, Dorothy, and their three children looked toward America to realize the family dream.

 

Rodney and Dorothy Elliott are South Dakota dairy farmers who operate Drumgoon Dairy. Hungry for Truth shares their story.

 

After a visit to South Dakota and a lot of planning, they sold their farm in Ireland and founded Drumgoon Dairy near Lake Norden. Together, Rodney and Dorothy built high-tech dairy barns to house 1,400 cows and hired a team of dedicated employees to help in the day-to-day work. In the beginning, delegating cow care was difficult because Rodney was used to tending to each cow himself.

 

Rodney and Dorothy Elliott are South Dakota dairy farmers who operate Drumgoon Dairy. Hungry for Truth shares their story.

 

“I had to learn to trust other people to do the job,” said Rodney. “And accept the fact that sometimes they’re actually better at doing a job than I am.”

 

Rodney and Dorothy Elliott are South Dakota dairy farmers who operate Drumgoon Dairy. Hungry for Truth shares their story.

 

South Dakota dairy farmers like Rodney can manage larger, family-owned dairy farms because of the methods they use. In barns, farmers and employees can watch over each cow, protect them from the elements and feed them custom diets tailored to their needs.

 

Rodney and Dorothy Elliott are South Dakota dairy farmers who operate Drumgoon Dairy. Hungry for Truth shares their story.

 

Today, the Elliotts and 45 employees care for more than 4,700 cows each day and work together to grow the alfalfa and corn used to feed them. Rodney and Dorothy’s animal nutritionist helps them develop total mixed rations, which are precise combinations of ingredients designed to fit the needs of each cow. For example, ingredients like soybean meal may be added for extra protein and soybean hulls can be included for additional fiber. On average, South Dakota dairy cows eat 18,000 tons of soybean meal each year.

 

Rodney and Dorothy Elliott are South Dakota dairy farmers who operate Drumgoon Dairy. Hungry for Truth shares their story.

 

Farming in a way that is safe for the environment and helps protect soil and water for future generations is a priority for the Elliotts. They care deeply about their community, especially since everyone warmly welcomed them when they moved to the area. Since their dairy barns are newly built, Rodney ensured they comply with EPA standards from the start.

 

Rodney and Dorothy Elliott are South Dakota dairy farmers who operate Drumgoon Dairy. Hungry for Truth shares their story.

 

“We try to be good custodians of the land,” explained Rodney. “I treat my farm, not as a right, but as a privilege, and I work every day to keep that privilege.”

 

Rodney and Dorothy Elliott are South Dakota dairy farmers who operate Drumgoon Dairy. Hungry for Truth shares their story.

 

The Elliott family has an open-door policy at Drumgoon Dairy and welcomes visitors to stop by and see how a modern dairy is run.

 

Rodney and Dorothy Elliott are South Dakota dairy farmers who operate Drumgoon Dairy. Hungry for Truth shares their story.

 

“We are proud of what we do and like to share our story with those who want to learn more about where their food comes from,” said Rodney. “Come and look at the cows yourself. They always answer the questions. If they look content, they’re comfortable.”

 

Rodney and Dorothy Elliott are South Dakota dairy farmers who operate Drumgoon Dairy. Hungry for Truth shares their story.

 

Hungry for Truth is an initiative about food and farming funded by the South Dakota soybean checkoff. The goal is to connect South Dakotans with the farmers who grow and raise their food.