Busy day again here in Issad. Can’t believe its been 5 days already. Admittedly, its tiring even without a 5am milking round on my schedule. We had some more time to chat with the veterinary students Lisa & Evelina, learned how to administer intrauminal boluses to cows (hard work!) and were busy again with blood sampling and plasma analysis. Time went by quickly and I feel much more aware of the broader business, speak more often Russian (now that people know i can understand some) and recognise more issues using the experience gained so far. So not too bad a week after all though its not finished yet – work continues for us on Saturday chiefly because we have to driver the engineer around anyway.
I was up pretty early and had a relaxed start to the day. After bringing Nachshon (and his croissants) to the milking parlour, Jan and I were increasingly quick to get through our daily routine and had it done before midday. Pushouts had decreased (cows probably liked the silage more), dry matter samples were ok yet milk output was down on the day. Not sure if influenced by the ongoing ID-ing modifications in the milking parlour. Its possible. More importantly, the system still doesn’t run as expected as of the time of writing. Fingers crossed Nachson & team can fix it tomorrow.
Kexxtone: Today we administered intrauminally kexxstone boluses. These are given cows pre-calving to manage ketosis risk. First you need to manoeuvre the cows into special boxes that lock their head, than one holds the head and opens the cows mouth while the other injects the bolus. No need for a work out after that exercise! Chapeau to the two vet students to do this usually by themselves.
Blood tests: We also looked through the plasma results from the previous day of samples using a refractometer. The test basically checks the level of antibodies in the calves blood that mainly originate from the mothers colostrum (first milk). Fewer antibodies make the calves more susceptible to getting sick basically (as far as i understand it). Sadly, not good reads for either bullocks we tested.
Jan and the calf giving him his first successful blood sample
We went for lunch with the vet students having spent most of the morning together. They are both in their last year at uni. Evelina has been a regular intern at the farm and is here on her 3rd placement. Lisa on her second. Good russian practice over lunch though i didn’t like the cold soup today (Okroshka with Kvaz).
Harvesting remained slow. Vlad, the chief agronomist, said they managed 230tons, but its not great. Weather remains and issue and silage coming in has dry matter readings that remain on the low end (27%ish). But the cutting is fine at least.
It felt great to have a shower and fresh clothes before we picked up nachshon from the farm and headed for dinner. We ended up staying in Issad – pub britannia was calling. For a change, there was actually other people too. Eventually it turned into a 3h russian session. I had told vlad that we’d be there and he joined us. Probably a bit boring at first for jan (since i needed all concentration to focus on what vlad said), but eventually even they talked in a mix of english, russian and gestures. Good night after all.