A few years ago a good friend took me flying and I forgot the aerial pictures I took were on my phone here is a view from the south.
You might wonder where cows sleep on a modern dairy farm (you might have heard them called factory farms too).
On our dairy farm cows sleep in various places.
Some of our cows sleep in freestall barns:
The stalls are cleaned daily, leveled several times a week and new bedding added every 2 weeks. Here is a bit more about making the cow beds. The cows who sleep in these barns also have access to outside corrals in the appropriate weather.
Some of our cows and younger heifers sleep in corrals:
Our pregnant cows who will be having their baby calves any day sleep on a bedded pack:
The maternity pen for the expectant cows is cleaned every day however we have to completly change the bedding several times a year. First we remove all the old bedding, then add a little sand to cover the dirt and last we add several inches of almond shells.
We also have some animals who sleep in the pasture:
Cleanliness and safety is something that we think about before we even think about milking the cows. Cleanliness starts with the cow beds andalso by keeping our cows healthy . We wash our milk pipelines three times a day once between every milking shift, the milk tank is washed once a day after it has been emptied and the milk pumped out and onto the tanker truck. Food safety is something paid close attention to on a dairy farm here are few pictures showing what we do to produce healthy refreshing milk!
Hey Cheese Lover’s today is your day so vote for up to 3 of your favorite cheeses below. Feel free to add any not here.
On our farm we use eartags to give each animal an unique identifier that allows us to keep important health records for each animal. Here are a few pictures that show the tags up close.
The tags are applied in a similar fashion to earrings through a soft portion of the ear. Each tag is self contained and is clean and sterile.
The information of the tags includes our farm brand (starting at the very top of the biggest tag), next is the unique “840” number assigned to only this animal in the United States, followed by the unique number for our farm, in this case 2129. The small white tag has the same numbers and also id an EID tag that contains an RFID information. We currently do not utilize the RFID tag outside of visual use however are we will be implementing the electronic reading in the future to help with efficiency and to eliminate human error.
Farmers are a unique bunch and one of the things I love the most about that uniqueness is farmers willingness to help out others. Wheter tending to a neighbors land or crops because of illness or helping rebuild after a disaster farmers tend to band together and help in times of need. It is also great to see the values learned growing up on a farm is not lost once someone grows up and leaves the farm.
Here is a great effort by Farm Boy and ESPN Baseball Commentator Buster Olney along with his Dairy Farmer brother Sam Lincoln to help those in Vermont struggling to recover from the damage the rains from the remnants of Hurricane Irene. Many Major League Baseball Players and other professional atheletes have donated items to help raise money and help rebuild a little part of America. Neil Huntington the General Manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates who himself grew up on a dairy farm is also involved in helping out farmers in the North East.
Below is a blog Mr. Olney wrote reminiscing about some of his farm experiences that shows once a farm kid always a farm kid!Thanks to Hoards Dairyman Magazine were I first read about the combination of my baseball and farm passions.
Going to bat for Vermont
Here is a cow picture for Wordless Wednesday.
These cows were just moved into this pasture yesterday and are relaxing in the grass. With all the late rains we had here in the Central Valley and now the heat the grass is growing very quickly in the pasture. these cows need to get up and get to work eating it down!
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My family and our dairy farm are very lucky to be located between San Francisco and Yosemite in the Central Valley of California. Because of this location we are in the flight path to and from San Francisco International Airport AKA SFO. When I have a window seat I try to locate my farm as we fly over. Many times I have had a seatmate on flights thoroughly amazed I can pick my farm out from such a high elevation. If you can pick out Yosemite National Park and Half Dome you too can see our farm just a few minutes later as you head east.
We are very lucky to have awesome views of the Sierra Nevada and Coastal ranges, very often we have a front seat view of Half Dome itself.
So as you fly over my farm please wave and remember we are down here everyday working on the farm caring for the cows who are helping provide healthy food for everyone.
Today I’m doing maintenance work on one of the major pieces in our cow comfort system the soakers that help keep the cows cool during the summer.
Here is a picture of the cows enjoying the cool shower just like kids playing in the sprinkler do during the summer.
The soakers come turn on to soak the cows and then are off for a period of time to allow the water to evaporate and creating evaporative cooling. This type of cooling is the same cooling feeling you get right after getting out of a swimming pool on a hot day. We locate the soakers over the cows food so they are more comfortable while eating and their food intake stay’s up during hot days when they need the energy.
This controller uses the temperature at the cow level to adjust the on and off times so the optimum cooling of the cows is maintained.
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Many times we get asked the question “What do you do with all the poop from the cows?”.