Just like when we get inspected by the milk inspector, it is time for us to have our feedlot inspection. You may ask, "What is a feedlot inspection?" Well...it's a good thing! Since we operate a farm that has over 300 Animal Units, we are required by county and state laws to have an inspection every couple of years. Animal Units is a unit of measure of manure output from livestock. 1 Holstein cows = 1.4 Animal Units, therefore our 200 cows are equal to 280 animal units, but our additional heifers and calves add to that total.
Tomorrow we have our County Feedlot Office scheduled to visit us. As part of her inspection, she will be touring all accepts of our farm. We will present to her records of where our manure has been hauled, how much was applied, and what nutrients were in the manure for the past 3 years. She will inspect our heifer and dry cow lots to determine if we manage our runoff (making sure there is no runoff). She will be inspecting our manure storage for our lactating cows, to determine if we have adequate storage, as well as checking ground water (making sure it is free of contamination). Since we are over 300 Animal Units, we work hard to maintain our farm and have a nutrient plan.
Odor is another concern that our officer will be checking. We work hard to control odor through covers on our pits and hauling manure when the wind is blowing away from the neighbors, but there are a couple times during the year that the farm does smell....cow poop does happen on a dairy farm. We try to be as kind to our neighbors as possible.
Part of the purpose of this visit is also to make sure a new project that we have planned for this winter, can still be constructed. We are working to make some changes to our buildings for the betterment of our cows....so stay tuned for pictures and updates on what we have up our sleeves ;)