Today, we celebrate the 5th Birthday of our Dairy Barn! On February 17th, 2005 we milked the first cows in our new barn. We had so much help from neighbors, friends, and contractors that built the barn. It was amazing to watch the first group of cows calmly walk into their new barn and get milked in record time. By adding a parlor and a pack barn, we were able to decrease the time it took to milk cows allowing us MORE time to care for cows. We are also able to care for more cows, over 180 are housed in our barn right now.
We started with a simple parlor in 2005. We had 12 cows on each side of the parlor, for a total of 24 cows. We were able to milk 12 cows at a time with a pipeline that ran overhead, this photo is our 2007 renovation/upgrade. We can now milk 24 cows at a time in our parlor, running milk into the pipeline below the cows.
Our farm looks like a "factory farm" from the road, but if by "factory farm" you mean a place that abuses animals-you would be wrong. We are a "factory farm" that uses industrialization to increase the time we have available to care for our cows in the best way possible. We are also a family owned farm, much like the other 99% of farms in the USA.
Adding this barn has brought its share of growing pains. We have experienced some of the best and worst years in the dairy industry-in only 5 years. $20 milk to $10 milk....it's been a challenge to say the least. When we started milking we had about 74 pounds/cow per day. We had some struggles learning how to feed and grow feed for our cows in 2005-and had lower milk production. I think we bottomed out at 59 pounds/cow per day, but now we enjoy 85-90 pounds per day! Such a great change, all because we were able to care for our cows even better than before. We love the environment that our cows live in though, and we wouldn't have changed that for the world. Our cows live a comfortable life where they have fresh feed and water every day, and only have to work for about an hour each day. The remaining hours of the day, they get to eat, drink, sleep and socialize...yep our cows love to socialize with other cows and with people as well. Being able to give our cows the best care possible brings us great pride.
Happy Birthday Dairy Barn!