Dairy farming is hard work. It takes consistent dedication to our animals and their wellbeing. Opening the creamery in 2016 to process our own milk was a big step for our family business, and its progress relies on the success of our family farm.
In the life of a dairy farmer, no two days are the same. We adapt to changes and curve balls thrown at us throughout our day. With that in mind, this timeline shows what a day might look like for Dan and Debbie start to finish.
8:30 a.m. Rise and shine! When Debbie first wake up she typically will eat breakfast and tackle a few house chores first: laundry, dishes, preparing a meal for lunch and dinner. When 9:30 am rolls around, Dan wakes up and gets ready to head out for the first milking.
9:30 a.m. Now it’s time to milk the cows! Each cow spends about 10-15 minutes in the milking parlor, but depending on the size of the milking parlor and how many cows need to be milked, it can take the farmers several hours to finish milking. Her at Dan and Debbie’s family farm, we have 150 Holstein cows who are milked in a swing-16 parlor. This means that there are 16 cows on each side, allowing 16 cows to be milked on one side while the others are cleaned and prepped.
9:45 a.m. While Debbie begins milking the cows, Dan starts cleaning out the barn before taking care of other things around the farm.
12:30 p.m. After the cows have been milked it’s time to take care of the calves. We typically have anywhere from 18-30 calves at one time. Almost all need to be bottle fed, watered and fed grain and hay.
1:00 p.m. The milk truck arrives! Dan will load up the milk truck with the milk that needs to be taken to the creamery.
1:30 p.m. Time to make fresh dairy products! After all of the farm chores are done, Debbie grabs a quick bite to eat then heads over to the creamery to make ice cream or bag cheese curds, while Dan continues doing routine maintenance on the farm the remainder of the day.
2:00 p.m. It’s chow time. Tyler has spent the last few hours mixing up our special nutritious blend for the cows and is now distributing it to the cows.
5:30 p.m. After spending the last few hours at the creamery, it’s time to head home and check the group of pregnant cows to see if they had any calves. If a cow is having trouble giving birth, we have to play midwife.
6:30 p.m. We have a new baby calf! It’s time to feed the calf her first bottle of colostrum. Colostrum has a lot of antibodies in it that help boost the baby’s immune system.
7:00 p.m. It’s dinner time for Dan and Debbie. It’s also time for them to do any book work or pay bills. Giving them a little time for a short nap before going back out to milk for the second time today!
9:30 p.m. Round two of milking. Dan and Debbie head out to the parlor to milk the cows again.
Now we know what you’re thinking: 9:30 at night, that seems late. When Dan and Debbie’ started milking cows, their six children were young and in sports and extracurricular activities. They never wanted to miss an athletic event or activity in the evening, so this 12-hour milking rotation worked the best!
12:30 p.m. Milking is over. Time to clean up the parlor and feed the baby calves again.
2:00 a.m. Time to head inside to grab a midnight snack before heading to bed for the night!
- Posted by Josie Rozum
- On January 19, 2018
- 0 Comments