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Get to know Ruthie Morton

You know the age old saying–something about “walking a mile in their shoes” err, hooves, in the case of Ruthie Morton. That’s right, you’ve probably wondered what the life of a cow is like–well, Ruthie Morton invites you to follow her step-by-step for a day in her life.

Hi, I’m Ruthie Morton and I invite you to live a day in my hooves.

I reside at Morton Farms in Evansville, Wis. Would you believe I was born right here, on this very farm? It is such a beautiful place to call home!

Here’s an up close view of my barn. In this free stall barn I sleep, eat and socialize with my friends.

Speaking of eating, let’s just say I love to eat! Would you believe I eat about 100 pounds of feed each day! It’s no wonder I weigh over 1,400 pounds! But, I need all that feed to produce lots of milk. Each day I eat about 11 meals, which adds up to about 5 hours of my day!

Talk about service–the other cows and I get fresh feed delivered to our “door step” twice each day. Every time I see the bright orange (which by the way is my favorite color) mixer and tractor heading to the barn I know it’s chow time!

Here’s an up close view of what I eat everyday–straight from the mixer. It consists of corn silage, hay, protein, vitamins and minerals. The total mixed ration is balanced by my nutritionist to ensure I am getting a healthy diet.


I usually eat with all my friends–it’s almost as if we go out to eat together everyday!

Speaking of friends–I’d like you to meet my best friend, Carmen! We enjoy relaxing on the sand in our stalls and admiring the bull from afar.

All that eating makes me thirsty! I usually make about 15 trips to the waterer each day. During that time I drink about 25-30 gallons of water.

All that eating, drinking and socializing sure makes me tired, so I lay down on my sand bed to rest. Each day I am here for over 12 hours. During this time I chew my cud for about 8 of those hours. This shows that I am relaxed, happy and digesting my food. Chewing my cud equates to about 30,000 chews daily.

Throughout the day my caretakers walk the barn to make sure all my friends and I are healthy, happy and doing well. They look for things like if we are chewing our cud, eating our food and our overall well-being.

During their walk-throughs my owners want for nothing more than to see all of us to be happy and healthy. That is their number one priority.

While I’m in the freestall relaxing, my farmer is working hard to prepare for our milking. He makes sure that the system is in proper working order so our milk will be transported from our udders to the bulk tank in a safe and sanitary manner.

Once my farmer has everything ready for milking, the cows and I head to the barn to wait our turn in line to be milked!

When it’s my turn to be milked, I stand like so in the parlor.

Before the milker gets put on, my teats get cleaned with an iodine dip. This is one of many steps taken to ensure a safe and clean milk supply. After the milker comes off I am dipped again. This helps prevent bacteria from getting to my udder.


I get milked twice each day. Each year I produce enough milk for 40,352 glasses of milk!

After traveling through the pipe, the milk is stored here, in the bulk tank. Here it is cooled and stored until our milk man comes to pick it up. He comes to visit every day to collect our milk from the tank where it is then transported to be processed.

Not all the cows on our farm are currently giving milk. These are the “dry cows” and I will soon be joining them. If you noticed the green band on my leg, that indicates to my farmer that it’s almost time to dry me up. 60 days before I calve, I come to this area to give my body time to prepare for calving. After I calve, I return to the milking herd.

After the dry cows calve, our farm welcomes a new member to the family, just like the cutie you see here. Once this heifer calf grows up, she will also become a milking cow too.


Thanks so much for coming to my farm and seeing what a day in the life of a cow really is like! Don’t forget, June is Dairy Month! Be sure to thank a farmer for their dedication and love for cows like me!

A huge thank you to Morton Farms in Evansville for welcoming us to their farm and taking time to share information with us!

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Prepare for Propane

Despite the heat and humidity forecasted this week (and perhaps much of the summer), there’s no better time than now to prepare your propane needs for the coming winter season.

Following an unprecedented season in the propane industry, the Landmark team is encouraging all propane-users take advantage of the summer-fill programs, by filling their tank by the end of August, as propane prices are at their historic lows during this time of the year.

Additionally, Landmark propane contracts will be hitting the mailboxes in the next 4-6 weeks. While it’s unpredictable to know if we will again experience record low temperatures this winter coupled with exceptionally high grain dryer usage and propane infrastucture challenges this year, it’s important to be prepared for those possibilites. The best way to meet those possibilities head-on is to contract your propane during the coming months. This will lock-in your pricing and guarantee you those gallons during the heating season.

Hear more from Landmark propane expert and West Energy Manager, Brandon Ihm, in this week’s Landmark Lesson.

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Farm Safety: Make it your #1 priority!

Working in the agriculture industry is a legacy in the making. And while it is notably the most noble profession out there, it is also the most dangerous. From the moment an individual steps foot onto a farm, there is no greater importance than safety. Period.


Growing up on a farm is, well, simply AMAZING. I may be a bit biased, but quite frankly I believe there is nothing better. From the opportunities I’ve had to the strong work ethic I’ve learned, and from the people I’ve met to the places I’ve been, all from growing up on a farm, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Wait–I may have spoken too soon–there is ONE thing I would change about growing up on a farm. That one thing is the safety component of being involved in the agriculture industry. While I wasn’t always directly involved with the equipment, machinery and daily operations of my family’s farm, I do know that you can NEVER be too safe on the farm.


Here’s something you should know about me–I’ve always been what you may call a “worrywart,” and that always seems to be at an especially elevated level anytime my family is on the farm and working with machinery, grain bins, tools, and well, you get the idea–basically anytime they are on the farm.

And while I am constantly asking my family safety questions to help ease my mind, I do know they work hard to ensure their safety and the safety of everyone on the farm.


Lastly, I want to share with you a message that we use here at Landmark, and one that I see everyday, as displayed by the bright green safety helmet displayed on my desk– Safety by CHOICE, not by CHANCE. This powerful phrase serves as a great reminder to make the CHOICE to be safe, don’t take the CHANCE.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration shares great tips on how you can improve farm safety here.



Kristi Olson is Landmark Services Cooperative’s Communication and Events Coordinator. She has a love for agriculture, which started when she was young, growing up on her family’s 2,000 acre grain and show pig farm and carried through to her education at UW-Platteville studying AgriBusiness and Animal Science, and now in her career at Landmark. Kristi has a strong passion for telling the “agriculture story” and promoting agriculture education. She can be contacted at 608.819.3126 or

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Think Spring with Alfalfa Management Planning

Although Mother Nature hasn’t given much indication that Spring is on its way anytime soon, now is the time to think proper alfalfa management, so that when it does arrive growers are ready for a bountiful alfalfa season.

What’s the Plan?
Proper pH and fertility levels in fields should be tested the year prior to planting the alfalfa seed to ensure the ground is properly ready for a successful crop. Picking the genetics that is best for your operation is also very important. What factors are most important: an intense cutting schedule, type of hay, risk levels, RR Alfalfa—just to name a few, are important factors to discuss with your Landmark agronomist in preparations for a successful crop.

With shorter rotations of alfalfa now being used, it is very important for growers to get the most out of each rotation. Therefore, when planting alfalfa it is best to start clean and take advantage of alfalfa that will provide a healthier and more vigorous stand. Growing crops with proper management can allow for longer rotations on alfalfa, without sacrificing quality.


Do you ASPIRE for Great Alfalfa Production?
Potassium, sulfur and boron are the essential elements for alfalfa production. Although only small amounts of boron and sulfur are required by the alfalfa plant and are considered micronutrients, in alfalfa production they should be treated as essential macronutrients. Until recently proper distribution of boron granular was a challenge due to the small amounts applied per acre, resulting in not all alfalfa plants receiving the necessary amounts of boron.

Enter Aspire—a new kind of potash that contains boron in every granular. This new way of applying macronutrients to the alfalfa plant ensures that boron is properly received by each and every alfalfa plant, resulting in maximum yields.

Application of sulfur is important in two types—a mix of ammonium sulfate that breaks down the sulfur fast, and elemental sulfur which will spoon feed the alfalfa over a longer period of time, both of which are key to alfalfa success.

MICROmanage your Alfalfa
In most situations, micromanaging is less than ideal. However, that’s not the case when managing alfalfa micronutrients. As with all crops, tissue sampling is essential for the best results in alfalfa production. Once alfalfa is tissue sampled your Landmark agronomist can customize a micronutrient package based on the results shown through the tissue sampling, to ensure the most economic return to your farm.

If tissue sample results indicate that additional micronutrients are needed for higher quality alfalfa, simply micromanage them by impregnating the fertilizer with added Wolf Trax nutrients that are very customizable to the needs of a specific field. ZN, MN, CU and B can be micromanaged to provide growers with the highest alfalfa efficiency.

Make Alfalfa “HEADLINE”s with a Bumper Crop
Production and protection are two very important factors for the longevity of alfalfa. By applying Headline to the first two crops of alfalfa, production significantly increases, resulting in more homegrown feed and the need to purchase significantly less feed.. A third application of Headline during last crop will ensure a healthier and more consistent stand going into the winter. The primary advantage of Headline application on alfalfa is the increase of leaf retention in the lower half of the canopy, allowing the harvest of more protein per acre.

“Proper alfalfa planning and management can significantly increase both the quality and quantity of your alfalfa crops. Landmark’s agronomy team has many tools in their toolbox to assist alfalfa producers and help them grow, just as they have been doing since 1933,” notes Joe Slosarczyk, Agronomy leader for Landmark’s East team.


Joe Slosarczyk is a Landmark Agronomist,industry leading expert and Certified Crop Advisor.
He shares his knowledge and expertise in this blog.
Joe can be contacted at 608.669.0896

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