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Reducing Stress During Beef Calf Weaning

Posted in Country Store News

How to Low-Stress Wean Your Beef Calves.

Weaning beef calves is such a stressful, and honestly quite noisy, time for both the cow and the calf. There are many ways to wean calves, but which options are best for reducing stress on the calves? Based on your operation’s capabilities and programs, here are four helpful tips for low-stress weaning.

1. Consider Fence-Line Weaning

weaning 1Upon weaning, place the cows in the pasture adjacent to the calves to that they can see, hear, and smell each other, but the calves cannot nurse. This may require some modifications to fences and pastures to ensure that the cows and calves remain separated. It may be beneficial to place a cull cow or yearling with the calves to keep them from pacing the fence lines as badly. After a few days, the cows and calves will gradually move farther from the fences and not be as concerned about being weaned.

2. Use Plastic or Metal Nose Tags

weaning 2The tag, or more accurately called a nose flap, prevents calves from nursing but allows them to graze, eat from a feeder, and drink water. This reduces stress by keeping the social interaction between the cows and the calves, but breaks the ability to nurse.

3. Introduce Creep Feed Before Weaning

weaning 3If you don’t typically creep feed through the summer, it might be beneficial to introduce the feed several weeks before weaning. A calf that can “belly up” to the feeder right after being separated from the cow will be less stressed, have a greater disease resistance, and have increased growth than one that is just learning what a feeder is.

4. Work Calves Before Weaning Time

weaning 4Although weaning is a stressful time for calves, running a calf through the chute to dehorn, castrate, vaccinate, deworm, etc. at the same time can be a train wreck. Consider doing these practices 3-4 weeks before weaning.

Minimizing stress will reduce any disease problems that occur at weaning, will reduce treatment costs, and enhance your calves performance post-weaning.

Source: Sarah Breuer, P.A.S.
        Lifestyle Feed Specialist
        Country Visions Cooperative

Dog Days of Summer - Keep Your Pets Cool

Posted in Country Store News

Some of the warmest days of summer are being forecasted for the coming week.  Here a few tips to help your pet keep their cool.

mishicot katiePreventing Heat Stroke:
- NEVER leave your dog alone in a car on a warm day- Keep fresh cool water available at all times
- Avoid vigorous excercise on warmer days
- If outside, make sure they have cover and shade

Signs of Heat Stroke in Dogs:
- Vigorous panting
- Dark red gums
- Tacky or dry gums
- Collapse and loss of consciousness
- Dizziness
- Disorientation
- Increased rectal temperature
Any one of these symptoms is an emergency and requires immediate action.  Always have the number to your Vet and closest Emergency Vet Office saved in your phone or in a convenient location.

Looking for some DIY Summer Treats to keep your Dog Cool?  Try these...

Dog Popsicles
Freeze toys, treats and water in a plastic container over night.  Pop out the frozen block and give to your dog to enjoy.

Dog Ice Cream
You will need:
8 ounces of plain yogurt
1 Tablespoon of Peanut Butter (creamy)
1 ripe banana
Mix all the ingredients together in a blender  Pour mixture into small plastic containers and freeze overnight.
Pop out from container and let your dog indulge.

Dog Ice Cubes
You will need:
Chicken or Beef broth (low-sodium, fat-free, and no onion ingredients)
Pour into an ice cube tray and freeze overnight.

Have fun this summer and keep you and your pet COOL!
.....Katie, Mishicot Country Store



Can rainfall be tracked on your farm fields?

Posted in News

fieldview 3feildview 2Would you like to know how much it rained across your farm or across the state in the last 24 hours?
Go to to set up an account and choose your fields. Then download the Climate FieldView app to track rainfall and more across every field on your farm from your smartphone.



Country Stores Offer Soil Sample Testing for Home Gardens and Lawns

Posted in Country Store News

Tips for a Proper Soil Sample

The reliability of a soil test is only as good as the sample you submit. The small amount of soil in the sample container you send to the Agricultural Testing Lab, or your local lawn and garden center (Country Visions Co-op), must represent the entire area to be fertilized.
  -  Avoid unusual areas such as those where fertilizer or lime has spilled. soil sample 008  -  Take samples before lime, fertilizer, or manure are added. 
  -  Use only clean equipment for collecting soil samples.

Where to Sample

The area to be sampled should be as uniform as possible in terms of soil type, cropping and fertilizing history. For practical purposes it should be an area you expect to fertilize as a unit. This means you should have separate samples for areas that will be used to grow different types of seed and may have different fertility needs. If you have a problem on part of a lawn, garden, or plot area, you may wish to determine if soil fertility is the cause by taking one sample to represent the “good” and the other to represent the “poor” area.

Take a Good Sample

Collect a number of cores or slices by walking in a zig-zag pattern over the area. Mix cores thoroughly in a clean pail for a composite sample. The greater the number of collected cores mixed together, the better the sample will represent the average condition of the sampled area. Consider 4-6 cores as the minimum for home gardens, lawns, and deer plots up to 10,000 square feet in size. Larger areas should be represented by at least 6 to 10 samples.

Choose one of the following tools:
Soil Probe or Auger – A soil probe or auger is the best tool for sampling. Soil probes may be available for use from some Country Visions locations at minimal or no charge. An auger will be needed if the soil is very stony or gravelly. Simply push the probe (or push and turn the auger) into the soil to the desired depth, lift up to remove the core, and place it in the clean pail. Sampling depth should be 4 to 6 inches deep for lawns and turf or 6-10 inches for annually tilled crops such as deer plots.

A Garden Trowel or Shovel - A garden trowel or shovel may be used if a soil probe or auger is not available. Collect your sample by pushing the blade of a garden trowel, shovel, or spade into the soil to the desired depth. Cut out a triangular wedge of soil and set it aside (to be replaced after sampling). Now slide your blade into the soil again taking a thin (half inch) slice from one side of the hole. With a knife, trim the slice to about a 1-inch strip of soil down the center of the spade – top to bottom. Save this “core” as part of your composite sample. Mix the sample and fill the sample bag or container. Make sure that all the cores are thoroughly mixed together. Bring the samples in to be tested as soon as possible. DO NOT let them sit in a vehicle or other warm enclosed area for too long. This may damage the integrity of the sample.

Country Visions (De Pere) can have the results of your test within a day or two of it being dropped off.  The Mishicot and Reedsville Country Stores are now offering soil sampling, too.  Contact any of these stores for more information on soil testing.

Information provided by:
Michael Zittlow
Assistant Store Manager, De Pere

Agronomy Accuweather News

Posted in News

Record Average Temps in December

ag records

With the 5th warmest November on record followed by the warmest and wettest December on record it has many of us wondering how these crops will make it through the winter. For the most part winter hasn’t been bad on these crops.

Steve Fuecht
Malone Agronomist

Alfalfa was Prepared

Now let’s talk about alfalfa. Alfalfa starts to harden or prepare for winter when the crown temperature reaches 60 degrees. Hardening actually increases by the fluctuating temperatures of daytime highs around 50 degrees and the lows near freezing. Looking back at November and December of 2015, November daytime temperature averaged 49.6 degrees with 15 nights at or below freezing and December averaging 42 degrees with 22 nights at or below freezing. This weather should have allowed the alfalfa plant adequate time to prepare for its winters nap and stocked the cellar with enough food to get it through winter. December 28th and 29th blessed us with a nice blanket of snow to keep our alfalfa plants tucked in tight. So what do we have to be concerned about? Fortunately there was little to no frost in the ground at the time of the rain.

As we lose our snow cover, some fields will have or had ponding. What is the fate of alfalfa there? Injury can occur in 1 to 3 weeks. Death is possible if flooded for 2-6 weeks. If 6-8 inches of growth was left in fall, this can reduce the chances of ice sheets forming and provides a little insulation to protect those crowns. Heaving is another concern in alfalfa, which normally occurs on heavy soils that have high moisture content, in which we have plenty of moisture. Repeated freezing and thawing causes the soil to expand and contract thus pushing the tap root out of the soil. Tap roots that are pushed out of the ground 1.5 inches or more will likely have broken taproots and will suffer damage from harvesting equipment. These fields will be better off terminated and rotate to a crop like corn.

In 2015, the winterkill in Minnesota and Wisconsin was caused by crown temps below 13 degrees according to Dan Undersander, UW Extension Forage specialist. Our snow cover protected us from these issues and also, our average lows rarely reached those temps.

The last thing to ponder on is the fact that our snow cover blanket is gone now exposing our alfalfa plants to the elements. Hardened alfalfa crowns and roots can be injured when air temperatures drop below 0. When temperatures rise to the 50 to 60 degree mark and the soil temperature at the 2 to 4 inch soil is 40 degrees or more for several days alfalfa will start to break dormancy. When this happens the alfalfa plant opens up its cellar doors and eats the last of its winter reserves to fuel the plant for new growth from the crown.


Modest temps in November and December allowed our wheat to tiller and grow late into the fall. This helps increase the head count for this season. However, it also exposes us to a greater risk of freeze damage on exposed tissue. Early observations look good. Very little freeze damage is observed due to the snow cover protection. Localized pockets of water and ice have been observed. However, widespread winterkill is unlikely at this point.

According to Phil Needham, of Needham Technologies, planting wheat 1” deep protects the crown. It also promotes the plants to all emerge uniformly due to consistent moisture and temperatures. Uniform emergence makes for uniform heading. “High yields come from uniform fields.” Making the field level and firm before planting allows for a uniform emergence.

Ben Franz
Chilton- Agronomist

What is a Co-op?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines a cooperative as a user-owned, user-controlled business that distributes benefits on the basis of use. Member users, or patrons, own and democratically elect the board of directors, which provides oversight of the co-op. Net earnings are distributed on the basis of proportional use, or patronage, rather than on investment.

Cooperative associations have been organized throughout history to carry out many different activities, often in response to economic and social stress. Cooperative organizations in the United States first appeared in the late 1700's and today co-ops can be found in all sectors of the U.S. economy. Consumer, purchasing and farm supply cooperatives are all organized to provide the specialized goods or services that their member patrons want to buy.

By combining member demand, a co-op can provide better availability, selection, pricing, or delivery of products or services to individual consumers, businesses or farmers. Farm supply co-ops cost-effectively supply input, fuel and agronomy services to farm business owners.