Royalton was in the hog pen. She had been quartered there because she was “no good.” At least that is the indictment brought against her by the retiring manager of Strong Holstein-Duroc Farm. The cow testing association record book seemed to bear out the indictment because in 1924, she produced only 2,316 pounds of milk, which contained 70.2 pounds of fat. Furthermore, cost figures checked against the value of her product indicated she had lacked $5.79 of paying for her feed that year.
Frank S. Trumbo, who had come from Illinois to take charge of his uncle’s Washington County, Kansas, farm, noted Royalton on his first round of the farm. She had only three teats and was a sorry specimen of the Holstein fraternity. But she’d be an entirely different cow with a little flesh under hide, Trumbo decided. The retiring manager didn’t agree. If Trumbo took his advice, she’d go to slaughter.
Trumbo didn’t, and during the test association year, which ended April 1, 1927, Royalton produced 8,461 pounds of milk, which contained 336.5 pounds of butterfat. The return above cost of feed was $92.77. Thus, she was worth to her owner $98.56 more last year than she was two years before. What was the difference? It couldn’t have been her age, for she was a mature cow, 8 years old, three years ago. Trumbo credits her performance to better housing, an adequate ration, and all the pasture she required.
The whole herd of 17 cows averaged $13.45 a head above feed cost three years ago. For the last association year, the returns were $72.82 a cow, an increase of 542 percent in the three years. The total return of the herd three years ago was $228.65. The average production of three cows last year was only a little less than that. Two of the best producers in the herd last year were Oaks (10,118 pounds of milk and 361.5 pounds of fat) and Bush (10,978 pounds of milk containing 448.9 pounds of fat). The combined returns of these two cows ($235.17) exceeded the returns for the 17 head three years ago by $6.52. Bush is 4 years old and was not in production when Trumbo first came to the farm. Oaks is 5 years old, and her first lactation record under the old management was 3,595 pounds of milk and 116 pounds of fat.
One of the striking responses to the change in management is exhibited by Foxy. She gave 1,290 pounds of milk containing 50.8 pounds of fat in the testing year 1924-1925 and lacked $5.45 of paying for her feed. As a result, she had been condemned to be sold by the owner.
Trumbo decided to see what she would do under better care and feed. She was so thin that she did not respond readily. The next year, she produced only 2,207 pounds of milk and 80.2 pounds of fat. About 8 months were required to get her in condition. She dropped a calf four months before the last testing year closed, but in that short period of time, she exceeded her production of the previous year. Her milk for the 4 months amounted to 3,860 pounds, with 128.4 pounds of fat. In April, the first month of the present testing year, she produced 37 pounds of fat, and in May 45 pounds.
Tim produced 922 pounds of milk in 1924-1925 and 36.8 pounds of fat. She failed by $11.75 of paying for her feed. The next year, she produced 6,400 pounds of milk and 198 pounds of fat. The last year, she made 7,194 pounds of milk containing 203.8 pounds of fat, and returned $41.92 above her feed cost.
Kit lost her owner 56 cents three years ago, because she gave only 2,220 pounds of milk and 95.6 pounds of fat. The next year, her milk was 4,676 pounds, and her fat was 169 pounds. Last year, she produced 5,099 pounds of milk and 175.3 pounds of fat. In May 1927, her milk was 1,922 and her fat 61.5 pounds. Last year, she made $37.56 above her feed cost.
There are 17 cows in the herd at present, and 10 of them were in the herd three years ago, when they entered the cow testing association. The other seven are daughters of the 10, which have come into production in the last three years. No cows have been purchased since the herd entered cow testing work. The change in the Strong herd has not been due to a change in cows. Some grades, which would have produced right along with the purebreds, have been sold under the policy of making the herd 100 percent purebred. Increase from the purebred cows of three years ago have taken their place.
“The production of this herd now as compared with the results three years ago,” said Trumbo, “has come about through application of what the cow testing association records revealed to us. Of course, one of the big purposes of the association is to weed out the unprofitable cows, but if the cows are not given a chance to show what they will do, an intelligent job of culling is impossible.
If we had taken the association records as a guide three years ago, practically all of the cows would have been sold as unprofitable, but the condition of the cows showed that they had not been fed and cared
A balanced ration fed according to production of the cows, all the good ensilage and alfalfa hay they would take, and improved pasture, are responsible largely for the change.
“When I came here, the cows would run through the fence before they’d let you touch them,” Trumbo continued. “I babied and petted them until now you can’t beat them off. I gave them warm water to drink in winter, and kept them up on days when I wouldn’t care to be out myself. We have arranged better housing. All that has made more work, but it has paid. Since we changed feeding methods and began giving adequate care, we haven’t lost a calf. Under the other management, calf losses averaged six or seven a year.”
The Strong farm consists of 320 acres. The rotation, soil building, and cropping system were work-ed out by two specialists from Kansas State Agricultural College. James G. Strong, representative of that Kansas district in Congress, had a plan drawn of the recommendations, and Trumbo is carrying it out. He has accomplished results in the Duroc herd and the poultry flock similar to those in the dairy herd.