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Small Farmer's Journal
PO Box 1627
Sisters, Oregon 97759
800-876-2893
541-549-2064
agrarian@smallfarmersjournal.com
Mon - Thu, 8am - 4pm PST

Developing Draft Colts

Developing Draft Colts

Developing Draft Colts

by W.A. Cochel and B.O. Severson
from the Pennsylvania State College Agricultural Experiment Station Bulletin No. 122, July 1913

The general practice of Pennsylvania farmers in buying rather than producing horses for farm work is justified by the statement that horses can be bought cheaper than they can be produced under eastern conditions. During October, 1910, The Pennsylvania State College and Experiment Station purchased a group of ten grade Belgian and Percheron colts and one pure bred Percheron for use in live stock judging classes. An accurate record of the initial cost, feeds consumed and changes in form has been kept in order that some definite information as to the cost of developing draft colts from weaning to maturity might be available for farmers, investigators and students. The handling of animals in this way is probably more expensive than handling them for market purposes but it has an advantage in that the results are not apt to prove misleading when applied to farm conditions.

Developing Draft Colts

Developing Draft Colts

Care and Management

First Winter, November 12, 1910 – April 19, 1911.

During the first winter the colts were divided into two groups, one of four, the other of six individuals, and allowed to run loose in two large box stalls. They were turned out twice daily for water, and occasionally led from the College Barn to the Agricultural Building, a distance of one-quarter of a mile, for use in the class room. Otherwise they had no exercise, as suitable enclosures were not available. Each group was fed a ration of five pounds per head daily in two equal feeds from a grain mixture of five parts shelled corn, three parts oats, two parts wheat bran, one part linseed meal, weighed and mixed in bulk. This amount of grain was fed until the end of the third month, when it was increased to seven and one-half pounds per head daily. No further increase was made throughout the winter. During the first half of the winter the group of four colts received a roughage ration of corn silage in the morning and hay in the evening. The average amount consumed per head during this period was 8.2 pounds of silage and 7.4 pounds of hay. The other group received the same grain ration and 10.6 pounds of hay without silage. During the last three months of the winter period the grain was increased to 7.5 and the hay to 13.1 pounds per head daily in each group. With this method of feeding, all the colts came through the winter in excellent condition of flesh, having gained 244.27 pounds per head during the winter feeding period of 168 days.

Developing Draft Colts

Developing Draft Colts

Summer Feeding Period, April 19 – November 2, 1911.

The summer feeding period included 196 days, starting April 19 and ending November 2, 1911. All colts were placed in pasture lots on May 4; five days later the fillies were removed to a larger pasture and allowed to range during the day and were placed in the barn lot at night. The four stallions were kept in a small pasture of four acres and were allowed to stay only 4 to 6 hours daily in this lot. The amount of grass was limited, and was therefore supplemented with grain and hay for all the colts. The larger portion of the hay was consumed by the four stallions. The pasture was supplemented to some extent with a soiling crop of green, mixed hay. During the last two weeks of August the four stallion colts were kept in the pasture lots at night, and tied in the barn during the day, in order to protect them from heat and flies.

Seven pounds of grain mixture were fed to all colts up to May 9, at which time the fillies received oats. The stallions received the grain mixture up to May 26, when oats were substituted. The stallions consumed their full complement of feed, but the fillies, due to being on better pasture, consumed only three to five pounds of oats per head daily, until the latter part of August when they consumed eight pounds.

From July 13 to 18, the fillies received no grain and the stallions were fed corn, as oats were not available. On September 7 and until the close of the summer feeding period, corn and oats were fed in equal parts by weight, each colt consuming eight pounds per head daily.

The total cost of feeding during the summer period was $27.45 per colt. This amount is twice as much as necessary where good and sufficient pastures are available. The four stallion colts consumed practically no grass and their maintenance and growth were derived from the grain and hay provided for them. The six fillies had a heavier supplement of grain than colts would consume ordinarily when placed on good pasture. For the development of draft horses, it is desirable to have them receive the greatest possible growth and development when less than two years old. Therefore, draft colts on pasture should receive as much grain as they will consume. With better pasture their appetites for grain are very materially lessened; therefore, in raising draft horses, one factor of reducing the cost is a sufficient amount of luxuriant pasture.

Developing Draft Colts

Developing Draft Colts

Developing Draft Colts

Developing Draft Colts

Developing Draft Colts

Developing Draft Colts

Developing Draft Colts

Second Winter, November 2, 1911 – April 18, 1912.

As new corn was not available until December 1, the grain ration during November was largely oats, after which a grain mixture of six parts of shelled corn, two parts of oats, one part of wheat bran, one part of linseed meal, was used throughout the remainder of the test. During the first half of the winter, grain was fed at the rate of 8.4 pounds per head daily, after which it was increased to 10 pounds (where it remained stationary) until the close of the test. The hay fed during the same period amounted to 16.6 pounds and 17.5 pounds, respectively. The colts increased 219.25 pounds in weight during the second winter, and the weight at the close of the test, when approximately 23 months of age, was 1316.9 pounds per head. During the second winter, all colts were tied in single stalls. Because of ice and snow in the small exercise lots, it was thought that the risk assumed in turning them out would be greater than that of keeping them tied. They remained in good health and spirits throughout the entire winter and were broken to harness during the early spring months.

Table I is presented in order to show the amount of feed consumed during different periods. It will be noticed that an increase of 60 percent in grain and 45 percent in roughage was consumed the second winter over that consumed during the first winter, although there was a decrease of 10 percent in the increase in weight, as shown in Table III.

Developing Draft Colts

The cost of feeding each individual during the first winter was $26.59, during the second, $38.99, an increase of $12.40 per head. The average cost of feed per head for the first year after weaning was $33.97. These figures are based upon the average value of feeds for the period during which the test was in progress and are materially higher than the average of the past ten years. The method of feeding resulted in the use of slightly more than one and one-half times as much grain as roughage.

Developing Draft Colts

Table II shows the weight of each individual at the beginning and close of the test, also at the beginning and end of the summer periods. The average gain during the 532 days was 720.09 pounds per head. No effort was made to secure extreme weight, but the colts were kept in good growing condition. The smallest individual gain was 665.9 pounds by Colt No. 23; the largest 806.2 by Colt No. 30. The average daily gain gradually decreased as the age of the colts advanced and as they approached maturity. It is important in the development of draft horses that they progress steadily from birth to maturity without any period of semi-starvation, either during summer or winter, which indicates the necessity of varying the amount of grain as the available supply of roughage and pasture is either increased or decreased.

Developing Draft Colts

Spotlight On: Farming Systems & Approaches

Mayfield Farm

Mayfield Farm, New South Wales, Australia

by:
from issue:

Mayfield Farm is a small family owned and operated mixed farm situated at 1150 m above sea level on the eastern edge of the Great Dividing Range in northern New South Wales, Australia. Siblings, Sandra and Ian Bannerman, purchased the 350 acre property in October, 2013, and have converted it from a conventionally operated farm to one that is run on organic principles. Additional workers on the farm include Janette, Ian’s wife, and Jessica, Ian’s daughter.

Evolution of a Permanent Bed System

Evolution of a Permanent Bed System

by:
from issue:

After three or four years we could see that the nature of our farming practices would continue to have detrimental effects on our soils. We were looking for a new approach, a routine that would be sustainable, rather than a rescue treatment for an ongoing problem. We decided to convert our fields to permanent planting beds with grassy strips in between where all tractor, foot and irrigation pipe traffic would be concentrated.

The Forcing of Plants

The Forcing of Plants

by:
from issue:

It is always advisable to place coldframes and hotbeds in a protected place, and particularly to protect them from cold north winds. Buildings afford excellent protection, but the sun is sometimes too hot on the south side of large and light-colored buildings. One of the best means of protection is to plant a hedge of evergreens. It is always desirable, also, to place all the coldframes and hotbeds close together, for the purpose of economizing time and labor.

Littlefield Notes Fall 2012

Littlefield Notes: Fall 2012

by:
from issue:

Why horses? We are knee deep in threshing oats and rye when I find after lunch that the tractor won’t start. Press the ignition switch — nothing; not even a click. I cancel the day’s threshing and drive thirty miles to the tractor store and pick up a genuine-after-market IH part. Come home, put in the new ignition switch and still nothing. When we need the horses they start right up, without complaint — every time.

Wild Potatoes and Calcium

Wild potatoes bring increased calcium for better tubers.Have you ever cut into a potato to find a dark spot or hollow part? Early research shows that these defects are likely the result of calcium deficiencies in the potato — and that tuber calcium is genetically linked to tuber quality.

The Way To The Farm

Lise Hubbe stops mid-furrow at plowing demonstration for Evergreen State College students. She explains that the plow was going too deep…

Organic To Be or Not To Be

Organic: To Be or Not To Be

by:
from issue:

How do our customers know that we’re accurately representing our products? That’s the key, the reason that a third party verification system was created, right? I think this is the beauty of a smaller-scale, community-based direct market food system. During parts of the year, my customers drive past my sheep on their way to the farmers’ market. At all times of the year, we welcome visitors to our farm. In other words, our production practices are entirely open for our customers to see.

LittleField Notes Seed Irony

LittleField Notes: Seed Irony

by:
from issue:

They say to preserve them properly, seeds should be kept in a cool, dark place in a sealed, dry container. Yet the circumstances under which seeds in a natural environment store themselves (so to speak) seem so far from ideal, that it’s a wonder plants manage to reproduce at all. But any gardener knows that plants not only manage to reproduce, they excel at it. Who hasn’t thrown a giant squash into the compost heap in the fall only to see some mystery squash growing there the next summer?

Laying Out Fields For Plowing

Laying Out Fields For Plowing

from issue:

Before starting to plow a field much time can be saved if the field is first staked out in uniform width lands. Methods that leave dead furrows running down the slope should be avoided, as water may collect in them and cause serious erosion. The method of starting at the sides and plowing around and around to finish in the center of the field will, if practiced year after year, create low areas at the dead furrows.

Low Tillage Radish Onions

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by:
from issue:

The radishes came up quick, filling the garden canopy completely that fall, and the following spring we found the plot was clean of weeds and rows of open holes were left where the radish roots had been growing. Well, we had a few extra onion plants that spring and decided to plant them in these holes, since we already had very clear lines laid out for us and a clean seedbed. What we got were the best looking onions that have ever come out of our gardens.

LittleField Notes Prodigal Sun & Food Ethics

LittleField Notes: Prodigal Sun & Food Ethics

by:
from issue:

To my great delight a sizable portion of the general eating public has over the past few years decided to begin to care a great deal about where their food comes from. This is good for small farmers. It bodes well for the future of the planet and leaves me hopeful. People seem to be taking Wendell Berry’s words to heart that “eating is an agricultural act;” that with every forkful we are participating in the act of farming.

New York Organic Grazing Dairy

New York Organic Grazing Dairy

by:
from issue:

Our farm, here in the center of New York State, consists of 101 acres, about 90 in grass, the rest some woods and swamp. It is inhabited by forty-six jersey cows, twelve breeding ace heifers, one bull, and because it is calving season — an increasing number of calves. Also, four Belgian mares and a couple of buggy horses. Last, and possibly least — the farmer, farmer’s wife, and five grown children.

Birth of a Farm

Birth of a Farm

by:
from issue:

“Isn’t it nice?” I offer to my supper companions, “to see our beautiful horses right while we’re eating? I feel like I’m on a Kentucky horse farm, with rolling bluegrass vistas.” I sweep my arm dramatically towards the view, the rigged up electric fence, the lawn straggling down to the pond, the three horses, one of whom is relieving herself at the moment. “Oh, huh,” he answers. “I was thinking it was more like a cheesy bed and breakfast.”

On-Farm Meat Processing

The demand for fresh, local meat products – with no taint of industrial process – is absolutely staggering.

The Farmer and the Horse

The Farmer & The Horse

In New Jersey — land of The Sopranos, Jersey Shore, and the Turnpike — farmland is more expensive than anywhere else. It’s not an easy place to try to start a career as a farmer. But for a new generation of farmers inspired by sustainability, everything seems possible. Even a farm powered by draft horses.

Such a One Horse Outfit

Such a One Horse Outfit

by:
from issue:

One day my stepfather brought over a magazine he had recently subscribed to. It was called Small Farmer’s Journal published by a guy named Lynn Miller. That issue had a short story about an old man that used a single small mule to garden and skid firewood with. I was totally fascinated with the prospect of having a horse and him earning his keep. It sorta seemed like having your cake and eating it too.

Food Energy The Fragile Link Between Resources and Population

Food-Energy: the Fragile Link Between Resources & Population

by:
from issue:

Now, after a one lifetime span of almost free energy and resultant copious food, the entire world faces the imminent decline (and eventual demise) of finite, fossil-fuel capital. Without fossil fuels, food can no longer be produced in one area and shipped thousands of miles to market. To suggest that the world will be able to feed the UN projected population of nine billion by 2050 is totally incomprehensible in the face of declining oil.

Cultivating Questions Winterkilled Cover Crops for a Mild Climate Part 2

Cultivating Questions: Winterkilled Cover Crops For A Mild Climate Part 2

Finding just the right cover crop-tillage combination for crops planted the last half of June has always been a real challenge in our location. While surface-tilling mature rye and vetch in May works well for fall crops established in July and August, this cover crop-tillage combo does not allow enough time for decomposition and moisture accumulation for end-of-June plantings.

Small Farmer's Journal

Small Farmer's Journal
PO Box 1627
Sisters, Oregon 97759
800-876-2893
541-549-2064
agrarian@smallfarmersjournal.com
Mon - Thu, 8am - 4pm PDT