Dairy Farming

For the dairy folks and/or beef folks with questions about udders, milk and mastitis.
J and L
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Postby J and L » Sat Feb 25, 2006 6:11 pm

Last year we selected a new site about 1 mile from the existing dairy on land already owned. We constructed one of the freestall barns involved and curently use that to house prefresh and dry cows. This allowed us to use all stalls at home for lactating cows. It is our intent to build the parlor, hold pen, and enough additional housing to allow for the movement of the entire herd plus 75 cows that our sons wants to put into the operation.
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J and L
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Postby J and L » Sat Feb 25, 2006 6:53 pm

Barron County
How does your employer plan to acomplish this growth?
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born2run
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Postby born2run » Sat Feb 25, 2006 7:45 pm

Through a bottling plant which is being built this summer. They use no BST, and this is their biggest marketing tool. How about you? With the milk prices looking gloomy how soon do you hope to accomplish your desired goal?
Last edited by born2run on Sat Feb 25, 2006 8:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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rancherswife
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Postby rancherswife » Sat Feb 25, 2006 7:50 pm

We have Longhorns and I have never really been around a dairy until we took a trip to Wisconsin a couple of years back.
Your state is sooo pretty. We went to an old dairy that my husband's Grandfather worked on most of his life. It was the nicest property I had ever seen. No cows there anymore but what a bunch of history there was there! Farhnwald Farms was the name of the dairy and we have some old pictures from there in it's heyday. What a beautiful place!!
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J and L
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Postby J and L » Sat Feb 25, 2006 8:28 pm

Barron co.
Good Question! Our plans are pretty well in place for mid summer construction but the soft milk price really has us looking at how it will cash flow in the short term. Also the price for those extra 75 cows! We will postpone if we need to but will have to sell some animals to do that. With construction costs rising rapidly and the continued small intrest rate increases, I would be good to get locked into the progect.
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J and L
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Postby J and L » Sat Feb 25, 2006 8:31 pm

Rancherswife
Thanks, We think it is nice here too, But the coooold! What part of WI were you in?
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born2run
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Postby born2run » Sat Feb 25, 2006 8:34 pm

What size of parlor are you currently using? The fluid milk prices are the big reason why my boss wants to build the bottling plant. I imagine they've put a lot of thought into it, enough to know with certainty that it'll work. Current facility is a double 12 all-exit herringbone (DeLaval/Blue Diamond). Expandable to a double 16. Freestall barn is 400 cows, the new one will be 600, plus a hospital barn as well.
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rancherswife
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Postby rancherswife » Sat Feb 25, 2006 8:43 pm

My Husband's family is from OshKosh. I have only been there in the summer. We live in California in the desert. I like the heat!!!
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J and L
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Postby J and L » Sat Feb 25, 2006 9:05 pm

Currently milking in a double 6 built 11 years ago along with 275 frestalls. So youse it is a tight fit right know. the knew one will be a germania double 12 expandable to 16 with a direct load to tankers. Do you have a preference for a harringbone over parallel?
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Postby born2run » Sat Feb 25, 2006 9:14 pm

I came from a flat barn to this herringbone, so I've never had the "privelege" of working in a parallel. I believe that's what Milkmaid works in so maybe she can give you some more information from that angle. I love this herringbone because of it's all exit system. I work with a partner, but conceivably the parlor should be able to be operated by one person. I've milked 100 cows/hour back in my early days there when I was young (stupid) and energetic. Now we try to keep it at 76-80/hour. Currently at 407, which takes us 5 hrs. 15 min. to milk on a regular shift. I can see that you would have a tight fit right now, and why your anxious to get into a bigger facility. If I understand right isn't a paralell supposed to have faster exit times and lest cost as far as actual construction? How many employees (if any) do you currently have? I imagine you run 3x a day?
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J and L
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Postby J and L » Sat Feb 25, 2006 9:44 pm

You are correct, parellel requires a shorter building therefore cheaper to build. We made our choice mostly because large, older cows seem to have an issue with the right angle corners. We have a pretty low cull rate and believe that it is important to build a cow friendly parlor, they pay the bills. We currently have 7 full time and 2-3 part time people not counting linda and me. With dry and pre at another location, labor is a killer right now. We do raise crops and our hiefers.
Jerry
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Postby born2run » Sat Feb 25, 2006 10:27 pm

Nine employees where I work, that includes the herd manager and the chap who trims feet. Three are p/t. Boss and his wife pretty well stay out of the day to day operation of the lactating cows, leaving getting the cows bred back, even rationing to the herd manager. They send some of the calves out to growers, and raise some on their own. Dry cows, fresh cows the wife takes care of, the son feeds.

Nice, people friendly environment there. The parlor is spacious and well lit, equipment is state-of-the-art. I work third shift with no direct supervision, and have been there for over 2 1/2 years.

Jerry...sure you've probably seen DeLaval's "Contour", but here's the parlor design I work in.

Image
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J and L
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Postby J and L » Sun Feb 26, 2006 12:16 pm

Looks and sounds like you have a great job. It is refreshing to talk to someone that has good things to say about thier employer! Our help is largly Hispanic and does an excelent job for us. As where you work, linda and I have only limited involvment in the day to day operations. Soooooooooo, as a VALUED employee, what, along with good working conditions do you feel keep you satisfied in your work.
Jerry
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bigbull338
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Postby bigbull338 » Sun Feb 26, 2006 1:04 pm

i for 1 am a retired dairyman.an your right older cows wont adjust to a parralll barn.an if your wanting to go to 1000 cows max you will need a double 16 to double 20 harring bone barn.wich will put your cow thoughput at 160 to 200 cows an hr.so a 5 to 7hr milking shift.wich means the barn will run 12 to 18hrs a day.an youll want to consider using the db 6 barn for a hospital/fresh cow milking area.thus reducing the chancesof milking a treated cow into the milk tank.
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Postby born2run » Sun Feb 26, 2006 3:58 pm

Jerry...

They do value me, and the pay reflects that. :) But in reality that isn't really what keeps me there. I've had other opportunities to manage and have turned them down. I'd say the lack of supervision is key, as well as an excellent relationship with the herd manager. They trust me, and rarely, if ever, question what I do.

If I could change one thing it'd probably be the relationship with the boss. I'd be all for monthly meetings, so that the herd manager and boss could keep us all up-to-date on what is happening, plus give us the opportunity to voice our concerns or ask questions. Believe me, I have went through low times in the recent past that had me seriously consider quitting. This came from the general feeling that I was working my tail off and no one cared or noticed. Both times I had a talk with the herd manager who gave me an attitude adjustment. ;-) Once the boss came there when he was there talking to me, and asked what the problem was? Herd manager told him I felt unappreciated. When the boss told his wife this (who does payroll) she responded with..."You get paid, what else do you want?!?" They just don't get it! How much do you interact with your employees? I've heard of dairies offering challenges to each shift..."Most milk per pen, cleanest filter, etc." Do you do this?

The herd manager told me to try to keep my shifts challenging, focusing on getting a spotless filter or all units balanced. This plays in a lot how rewarding I find my job to be. I also get the benefit of being able to treat, then seeing those cows respond to that. It's great to be able to get the perspective from an employer. How do YOU go about keeping everyone happy and doing a good job? I am there 6 days a week/ minimum of 48 hours. I'd appreciate at least a "good job" now and then from the person who signs my checks.

To their credit they sent me to a day long seminar along with the herd manager and two other employees. I came out of there feeling like I was actually a key player in something important.
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