Necessity is the mother of invention; because farming being the most necessary trade of all, there are endless solutions you can use to make your life easier.
Whether it be sophisticated products that use algorithms (like our calving or heat sensors) or a bottle cut in half you can use to funnel fuel through, there are many creative ways to make farming easier.
Here are just a few ‘Farm Hacks’ you can pull of on your own farms.
Bring a cow to her milk with Motilium
Most people use Motilium as a treatment for an upset stomach, but it has the curious side effect of increasing milk production; it is often prescribed to mothers who have trouble producing milk for their children.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that a (slightly larger) dose of this in cattle and horses can bring them to their milk.
Motilium is available over the counter.
Feed Silage at night to offset calving
Feeding cows at night can delay the onset of calving by hacking their body clock.
In the hours before calving, the cow’s rumen has less contractions less often. The pressure in the rumen decreases in the last 2 weeks of gestation, and this declines more rapidly during calving.
However, feeding causes rumen pressure to rise. This tells the cow’s body that it’s not ready to calf just yet, and a night feeding leads to a decline in pressure during the day time.
This trick doesn’t work all of the time, but evidence does suggest there is a reasonable success rate.
If you double this up with using your Moocall calving sensor you will dramatically increase your efficiency at calving time.
Cider Vinegar to treat scours
Scours is a symptom no farmer likes to see in their calves, however, there is a rather unexpected treatment.
Cider vinegar – the stuff probably sitting at the back of your press after you used it once in a salad – is remarkably effective in preventing scours.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that adding 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to each calf’s milk bottle twice a day (each feeding) virtually eliminates scours.
While there is occasional incidences of calves with runny manure, if they never miss a feeding it only lasts for a day or two.
Recycle your old stuff
This is just common sense. Even if you’re not the most environmentally aware, it just makes sense to recycle stuff you would otherwise throw away.
There are dozens of ways to do this on a farm; here is just a few.
Pallets are a fantastic construction material; timber can be re-purposed into most anything you like. On the farm, they make a great cheap shelter for cold weather.
If it’s very cold you can ‘insulate’ them by putting straw in the gap inside the pallet ‘wall’. Many houses use straw bales as insulation, which shows how effective it is.
Plastic Barrel/ Pallet trough feeder
Pallets making a return appearance here. They make a good hay or silage feeder, and if your animals are a bit rough, it won’t be hard or expensive to repair the damage.
Plastic barrels meanwhile have other advantages, like being waterproof so they can hold water. They are also flexible and easy to work, so they can be turned into many things, not just a feeder.
However turning them into a feeder is easy; just cut it in half lengthwise and turn them open side up so you can pour your feed in. Then elevate them on a timber or metal frame.
Tractor tyre feeder
Tyres are expensive to dispose of, and release terrible fumes if they are incinerated. This goes double (triple?) for the rear tyres of tractors. However, you don’t need to worry about that.
Why? Because when you’re done with a tyre you can use it as a good-as-new water trough.
It makes a good watertight container; partially bury it with a waterproof bottom of plastic sheeting, and then fill with water. This will work out cheaper, and can last longer than ones you get in the shop.
Plastic bottle funnel
This is one of the most common farm hacks. Lopping off the top of a plastic bottle and using it as a funnel for oil or diesel for your farm machinery is simple but ingenious. It saves you from setting up a fuel pump in the middle of your field!
Self loading sheep
Moving sheep can be a pain in the neck. If you give them two directions to go, they’ll find a third way just to spite you. However, if there is enough incentive offered, they can be very obedient.
This farmer found a way to train her sheep to load themselves onto the trailer. Masterful.
Are you using the Breedmanager app just to manage your Moocall calving sensor? Did you know you can manage each cow individually and plan your calving cycle accordingly?
Well you can, and it’s easy. Using the app’s smart lists feature you can simply take note of whether your cow is inseminated, in calf, cycling, or in heat and when.
It then offers you clear, detailed and broken down data to show you quickly what state your herd is in so you can optimise planning for things like your labour spend.
If you’re using it with MoocallHEAT, these smartlists are automated, which means it’s even easier to use.
If you found this blog useful, be sure to share it so that others can find it too. Have you got any farm hacks you’d like to share? Tell us in the comments!
Learn more about Moocall HEAT here: https://moocall.com/pages/moocall-heat-information