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i r i c u lf u m l




Vol. 8, No. 12





December 15, 1953

Labor Requirements for Dairying

Anyone who has worked in a dairy barn is
well aware of the fact that dairying requires
considerable labor, but few dairymen have
taken the time to study the efficiency of their
operations with the aim of reducing labor re­
quirements. Since labor expense represents
about 20 percent of the cost of producing milk,
any reduction in labor needed to care for the
dairy herd can be an important factor in in­
creasing profits.
A recent progress report by Texas A. & M.
College gives some interesting facts on labor
requirements for a dairy operation and fur­
nishes some guides for dairymen in evaluat­
ing their labor efficiency. This information
was compiled at the Texas Agricultural Ex­
periment Substation in Tyler, Texas, under
the direction of S. E. Carpenter, associate dairy
The study included all labor required to
care for a Jersey herd of 36 adult cows, 38
baby calves, and 2 bulls. Records were kept
of the time required by each of the principal
operations involved.
As might be expected, the greatest timeconsuming chore was milking the cows. This
operation averaged 340 minutes each day.
The next most time-consuming job was clean­
ing the equipment and lots, which used up
112 minutes daily. According to the study, it
took a total of 636 minutes each day to care
for the milk herd of around 36 adult animals.
This is equivalent to 10,6 hours.

While this would be a normal workday for
a laborer on the farm, obviously the work
could not be stretched over the 10.6 hours.
At the substation, two men using two milk­
ing machines milked the cows; from two to
four men did other chores in connection with
the dairy herd. Hence, the total time charged
to the dairy herd each day is the cumulative
time of all the men helping with the dairy
On an annual basis, this study shows that
it took 108 man-hours to care for each adult
cow. It also took 9 man-hours to care for each
head of young cattle. This labor requirement
per cow is substantially below that in many
dairy herds. Studies in other states have indi­
cated that many dairymen spend up to 140
or 150 man-hours per cow per year. The use
of walk-through, milking parlor-type barns
usually reduces labor requirements, and some
studies in Kentucky have shown that with
such facilities the labor per cow can be re­
duced to around 85 man-hours per year and,
with unusually efficient operations, to as low
as 55 or 60.
Dairymen in some of the older dairy areas
of the Nation are now making extensive studies
of their labor requirements, even to the extent
of conducting detailed studies of the proce­
dures followed in milking and other dairy
chores. A little study and planning have proved
to be profitable in many cases, usually result­
ing in the ability of the dairyman to reduce



his labor force or to increase the number of
cows handled without hiring additional men.
Moreover, such studies sometimes have re­
sulted in practices and procedures that en­
abled the men to do the dairy chores more
easily, thus making for fewer labor problems
in connection with the dairy herd.
It would be profitable for most southwest­
ern dairymen to keep at least approximate
records of the time used in their dairy opera­
tions. The data developed at the Tyler sub­
station can be a useful guide in appraising the
labor efficiency of individual herds.

Laying hens need 12 to 14 hours of light
daily in order to maintain maximum egg pro­
duction. Early morning lights are recommend­
ed; however, all-night lights are satisfactory.
One 40-watt bulb for each 200 square feet
of floor space is sufficient.

Irrigation fo r Texas
Interest in irrigation is at a new high in
Texas because of the drought of the past 3
years and the fact that yields frequently are
increased 50 to 100 percent, even in humid
areas, through proper use of irrigation.
Robert V. Thurmond, irrigation specialist
with the Texas Agricultural Extension Service,
reminds farmers that irrigation is relatively
expensive and may not be successful on all
farms. Careful consideration should be given
to such factors as availability, quality, and
depth of water; trend of the water table;
ground water laws; and the amount and suit­
ability of land for irrigation.
This information, as well as other important
factors concerning irrigation in Texas, is dis­
cussed in the Texas Agricultural Extension
Service’s Bulletin 215, entitled “Ground Water
Development for Pump Irrigation.” Copies of
the publication may be obtained, without cost,
from the offices of local county agricultural
agents or by writing to the Texas Extension
Service, College Station, Texas.

Broiler By-Product
Poultry manure is rich in nitrogen, contains
substantial quantities of phosphate and potash,
and is an excellent source of organic matter.
The value of this by-product of the poultry in­
dustry frequently is overlooked in broiler, egg,
and turkey production.
Pennsylvania State College estimates that
the manure from 1,000 broilers will contain
256 pounds of nitrogen, 182 pounds of phos­
phate, and 80 pounds of potash. This quantity
of plant food in commercial fertilizer would
cost about $60. Thus, a broiler producer rais­
ing 80,000 birds a year has a by-product v a l­
ued at around $480. Some loss is incurred in
moving the manure to fields, but probably
about 70 percent can be utilized— or about 4
cents per broiler.
It is estimated that a turkey raised to m ar­
ketable age will produce manure valued up to
45 cents as fertilizer and a laying hen at 8
months will have produced fertilizer worth 25
Poultry raisers can make efficient use of this
by-product of the industry by spreading the
manure on fields as soon as the poultry houses
are cleaned. If the poultryman does not have
land on which to utilize the manure, it may
be possible to sell this valuable fertilizer to
nearby farmers.

Farmers should order and take delivery
now on the amount of fertilizer they will need
for producing 1954 crops. Fertilizer can be
stored successfully on the farm if it is kept in
a dry, well-ventilated building.

New Flax Variety
A new flax variety adapted to the central
Texas Blacklands has been developed by the
Texas Agricultural Experiment Station and
the United States Department of Agriculture.


The variety is called Newturk and, because
of its resistance to cold, will extend the Texas
flax belt northward.
Newturk flaxseed will be increased by certi­
fied seed growers during the coming season
and will be available to farmers for planting
in the fall of 1954.

Electric Fence Safety
Small children are involved in over half of
the electric fence tragedies, according to W. L.
Ulich, Extension agricultural engineer of Texas
A. & M. College. Pointing out that only a few
people realize a small current can cause death,
he advises the farmer or rancher not to use
an electric fence unless it has a controller that
meets the requirements of a recognized test­
ing agency, such as the Underwriters Labora­
Mr. Ulich also suggests that the following
safeguards named by the National Safety
Council be observed:
♦ Avoid locating an electric fence near a
grounding device, such as a pipeline, pump,
stock tank, pond, irrigation ditch, or other
normally wet ground.
♦ Always prom inently identify electric
fences, especially those placed near buildings,
property lines, and roads.


The melon is attractive in appearance and
has an excellent flavor, with a high sugar con­
tent. The vines are highly resistant to downy
mildew and fairly resistant to powdery mildew
and aphids.
Limited quantities of Rio-Gold seed for trial
plantings and seed increase are available to
growers and can be obtained from the Founda­
tion Seed Section, Department of Agronomy,
Texas A. 8s M. College, College Station, Texas.

Farming is a business and deserves the best
managerial practices. Complete records should
be kept on each farm or ranch unit in order to
determine which operations are profitable and
which should be expanded or curtailed.

Save That Machinery!
Proper winter protection will prolong the
life of farm machinery by as much as 35 per­
cent, says W. L. Ulich, Extension agricultural
engineer of Texas A. & M. College.
Machinery should be kept under shelter
when not in use and the shed doors closed to
prevent poultry and birds from roosting on
the equipment.

Rio-Gold— New Cantaloupe

Mr. Ulich points out
that exposed metal parts
of the farm m achinery
should be painted to help
prevent corrosion. Culti­
vator shovels, plow moldboards, jointers, and
rolling colters must be kept clean and greased
since they are made of bare steel and have no
protective coating against rust.

The Rio-Gold cantaloupe, which was devel­
oped at the Lower Rio Grande Valley Experi­
ment Station in 1950, has several character­
istics which make it superior to the Rio-Sweet
variety, according to G. H. Godfrey, plant
pathologist at the Weslaco Station.

Winter is a good time to inspect all farm
equipment before it goes back into service.
It pays big dividends to make all needed re­
pairs while the machinery is idle since costly
breakdowns often can be prevented during
the harvest season.

♦ Never depend on an electric fence to
restrain bulls or other vicious animals.



Control Cattle Grubs
Cattlemen who are not controlling cattle
grubs effectively are paying a penalty of $3.50
to $8.00 per head of cattle, says N. M. Ran­
dolph, Extension entomologist of Texas A. &
M, College. Grubby cattle make inefficient use
of feed and sell for less when marketed.
December is usually the month when cat­
tle grubs appear, and the backs of the animals
should be sprayed as soon as the pests are
discovered. Three applications should be made
at 30-day intervals.
A spray mixture of 7 V2 pounds of 5-percent
rotenone to 100 gallons of water is recom­
mended. A pressure of 400 pounds or more
at the spray nozzle is best for fast, efficient
grub control in large herds of cattle.

With good management, farm woodlands
will furnish products for cash income and for
fuel, fence posts, poles, and the construction
and maintenance of buildings.

New Mexico Agricultural Experiment Station,
State College:
Control of Insects on Alfalfa and Clover
Grown for Seed, Circular 242, by R. C.
Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station,
Redgold Sweet Potato— A New High-Yield­
ing Wilt-Tolerant Variety, Bulletin No.
B-411, by H. B. Cordner and others.
Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, Col­
lege Station:
Mechanization of Cotton Production,
Southern Cooperative Series, Bulletin
No. 33.

Weslaco Cantaloupe Variety Trial, Spring
1953, Progress Report 1594, by G. H.
Godfrey and others.
Watermelon Variety and Strain Trials in
the Lower Rio Grande Valley, 1953,
by R. T. Correa and W. R. Cowley.
Pickling Cucumber Variety Test in the
Lower Rio Grande Valley, 1953, Progress
Report 1596, by R. T. Correa.
Cattle Feeding Studies at the Spur Station,
1952-53, Progress Report 1599, by P. T.
Marion and others.
Demand for Citrus and Competing Products
on a Selected Competitive Market, Prog­
ress Report 1600, by H, B. Sorensen and
E. R. Bulow.
Influence of Row Widths and Seeding Rates
on Yield and Survival of Tall Fescue
Stands, Progress Report 1601, by Ethan
C. Holt.
Effectiveness of Soil Fungicides in Control­
ling Cotton Seedling Diseases in the
Lower Rio Grande Valley, Progress R e­
port 1602, by G. H. Godfrey.
Effect of Fertilizers on the Yield and Grade
of Onions, Progress Report 1603, by H.
W. Gausman and others.
Pecos Valley Cotton Strain Tests, 1952,
Progress Report 1606, by Lee S. Stith
and P. J. Lyerly.
Effects of Irrigation Level on Cotton at Pe­
cos, 1952, Progress Report 1607, by Lee
S. Stith and P. J. Lyerly.
El Paso Valley Cotton Variety Test, 1952,
Progress Report 1608, by Lee S. Stith
and P. J. Lyerly.
Copies of the bulletins may be obtained by
request to the publishers.

The A g ricu ltu ral N ews L etter is prepared in
the Research Department under the direction
of C arl H. M oore , Agricultural Economist.