New to dairy

For the dairy folks and/or beef folks with questions about udders, milk and mastitis.
tncattle
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New to dairy

Postby tncattle » Thu Jan 10, 2008 8:31 am

I've been volunteering with a family friend for almost a year now helping him whenever I can with his 200 Angus cattle. I've read a lot about the dairy cattle business and am really interested. I've already contacted a few local dairy farmers and am going to try and work PT for one in the summer(I'm a teacher). What should I expect? We (wife, two little ones and third on way) are considering the lifestyle change and she would keep her job that allows her to work from home 99% of her time. I'm more interested in the dairy business because it seems to be a year round market and I realize the huge commitment it takes. I'm just skeptical if $ can really be made for a modest profit?
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dun
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Re: New to dairy

Postby dun » Thu Jan 10, 2008 8:48 am

Beisdes working PT, talk to as many darymen in your area as you can, preferably different size herds. Most dairymen are willing to help someone avoid the pittfalls and pratfalls of get started. Look into DHIA testing, there is a wealth of information available when you know how your cows are really producing.
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bigbull338
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Re: New to dairy

Postby bigbull338 » Thu Jan 10, 2008 9:14 am

id sugguest you find a dairyman willing to hire you an learn from him.the work an hours are long an hard.an maybe in time after you show him your willing to learn.an not up an quit working for him.he might let you buy a few cows an run with his herd,but do not push him on letting you get cows.because alot of times those deals go sour fast.an everyone is unhappy.my dad never milked cows till he built the dairy.he worked for the public till he was 40.then decided he walked to milk cows.an he kept his job in town while he built the barn.then he built the house on the farm.we done all our own labor.only hiring a releif milker.
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Re: New to dairy

Postby TexasBred » Thu Jan 10, 2008 10:37 am

Approach it like a part-time boy working after school. Let the dairy owner know what your plans are and then start with the hardest most menial tasks on the place...learn to do them well. Then learn to milk and learn it well. Learn your cows. They all are spotted (if holstein) but everyone is different. Then start moving up to the next level all the time absorbing every little tip the dairy owner passes on to you. Watch what he does and find out the "why's" about everything.

Then you're ready to get promoted to the 2nd grade. ;-) But in reality dairying is one of the most rewarding occupations in the world. You'll meet and deal with some wonderful folks but like everything else there will be some bad apples as well. Learn your lessons but be forward thinking and remember that when playing with numbers you can make them do anything you want them to so be a realist always. Hopefully you'll love it and be successful but IF you see it's not gonna work don't be ashamed to get out before it's too late.
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tncattle
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Re: New to dairy

Postby tncattle » Thu Jan 10, 2008 12:06 pm

This is all very helpful, please anyone else contribute if you have anything to ad. Thanks!
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dun
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Re: New to dairy

Postby dun » Thu Jan 10, 2008 5:22 pm

The comment about knowing the cows reminds me of one dairy that I used to test for DHIA. If they hadn;t caught the ear tag number as she came in they would walk up to her, turn their head and feel the udder and teats without looking and give me the right tag number.
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Re: New to dairy

Postby hillsdown » Thu Jan 10, 2008 8:30 pm

dun wrote:The comment about knowing the cows reminds me of one dairy that I used to test for DHIA. If they hadn;t caught the ear tag number as she came in they would walk up to her, turn their head and feel the udder and teats without looking and give me the right tag number.


That's something my husband would do.Me, I could tell you their name at a quick glance.

But that hit the nail on the head even if you are working for someone LEARN EVERYTHING you possibly can about the cows you will be miles ahead in the game.
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Re: New to dairy

Postby northernboy » Thu Jan 10, 2008 9:41 pm

Like everyone said absorb as much info from the herd manager as you can.Dairy cows are harder to manage than beef, the littlest thing can throw them off. Try and find out the finacial side, extension may be able to help,or ask a few dairyman for help.I've done both and would rather milk any day .
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Re: New to dairy

Postby TexasBred » Fri Jan 11, 2008 11:58 am

DUN you used to be DHIA tester? Bless you man. Wish more dairies would spend the small amount required to take advantage of their services. Sure would help him make a lot of good decision and solve a lot of "future problems" before they become disasters.
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tncattle
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Re: New to dairy

Postby tncattle » Fri Jan 11, 2008 12:04 pm

What exactly does DHIA stand for? Does it test milk fat?
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dun
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Re: New to dairy

Postby dun » Fri Jan 11, 2008 12:07 pm

tncattle wrote:What exactly does DHIA stand for? Does it test milk fat?


Dairy Herd Improvement Association. Tests for fat, symatic cell, mun, etc. But the big advantage is part of the testing procdure and sample gathering is milk weighing. There are so many options available to the dairy of what data they get back that to me it's mind boggling. I'm just glad all I had to do was the sampleing/weighing, a little paper work and set up and tear down the parlor.
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tncattle
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Re: New to dairy

Postby tncattle » Sun Jan 13, 2008 9:31 am

Well, I've contacted about 4 dairy farms and have had two responses. Just waiting to see on the other two and if I can work PT during the summer with one. Two of them milk Jerseys and the other two milk Holsteins.
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Re: New to dairy

Postby bigbull338 » Tue Jan 15, 2008 10:13 am

youd have fun milking armbreakers aka jerseys.them cows love to kick.an they will kick you when you lest expect it.now mind you my fav cows are anything but holsteins.we milked holsteins 28yrs..if we wouldve kept the barn going.i was going to go all crossbreeds an very few holsteins.
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Re: New to dairy

Postby born2run » Tue Jan 15, 2008 5:35 pm

Dun...did you use Dairy Comp 305 to record your data as you tested? Never had seen that until the dairy I used to work for. Pretty cool how you can see the increase/decrease at the end of the shift, once it is printed.
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Re: New to dairy

Postby dun » Tue Jan 15, 2008 5:42 pm

born2run wrote:Dun...did you use Dairy Comp 305 to record your data as you tested? Never had seen that until the dairy I used to work for. Pretty cool how you can see the increase/decrease at the end of the shift, once it is printed.


We just used the most basic DHIA software out of, I'm thinking OH but it may have NC.
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