Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Milking Parlor Improvements

Dairy farms depend on a variety of equipment, most of which is used every day. One building on our farm that is full of essential equipment is the milking parlor where the cows are milked. It’s important to keep this facility and equipment in good working condition.

We recently had new take-offs installed in the milking parlor. These take-offs are important because they enable the milking machine to detach from the cow’s udder when she’s done milking. When the flow of milk from the cow slows, that sends a signal to a sensor in the milking machine indicating the cow is done milking. Then the automatic take-offs remove the milking machine from the udder. Each cow milks at her own pace, one might take 4 minutes while her herd mate could take 6 minutes. New take-offs allow us to meet the specific need of each individual cow.

The old take-off equipment is removed and the new ones are installed
The new take-off equipment is behind the silver panels with red lights
This new equipment has multiple benefits, it’s good for:
* Cows - ensuring maximum cow comfort and udder health when milking because the machine isn’t on the cow a second longer than it needs to be.
* Environment – this new equipment requires less water for cleaning.
* Staff - new equipment makes it easier on the staff milking cows.

Over the last few months, we’ve made some other improvements in the milking parlor. The floor heating system was repaired allowing warm water to circulate in the concrete flooring where the cows stand while milking. This system keeps the facility warmer for the cows and staff in the winter.
This concrete floor is heated for the comfort of the cows and staff

Light fixtures and bulbs were replaced because good lighting is important. This might seem like a small task, but it’s very difficult because the light fixtures in the milking parlor are about 25 feet above a solid concrete floor.
The bright lights shine in the milking parlor

All of these improvements and repairs must be done when there are no cows being milked, which makes these tasks more challenging. Cows are milked on our farm around the clock, with a one-hour break every seven hours to provide time to clean the facility and sanitize equipment. So these tasks must work around the milking schedule.

Improvements like these are made to maintain cow comfort and a good work environment. It’s worth it because the animals and people on our farm are vital to its success.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Resilient Ohioans Celebrate the Buckeyes National Championship

Congratulations to the National Champion Ohio State Buckeye football team! My husband, Lad, is an Ohio State alumni so we, along with every other Ohioan, watched the national championship game last night. What a great game!


Cardale Jones and Ezekiel Elliott are heros in Ohio!
Lad with Brutus Buckeye at Ohio State a few summers ago
Our sons, Garrett and Jack, are OSU fans (at Lake Erie last summer)

It's a cold morning in snow covered northeast Ohio, but the sun in shinning. It's a glorious day to live in Ohio!

As the Buckeye football team proved, Ohioans are tough and resilient. We have to be to endure the snow, ice, and cold temperatures handed to us each winter. The first snow of the season came in mid-November. But weather in December was pretty mild, with almost no snow.

Last week, Mother Nature reminded us its winter by showering us with snow, ice and wind chills below zero. My boy’s school was closed three out of five days last week due to weather.

No matter the season our priority is the same, keeping animals comfortable and healthy.

Images from our dairy yesterday;

Our snow covered dairy farm from the road
The barn, tractor and milk tank are covered with snow
Dave spreads fresh straw in the maternity pen to keep the cows warm and dry
The calves stay warm in their hutches;
The animals grow a thicker hair coat during cold winter months
Relaxing in the warm straw
These heifers are content in their pen
Animals are protected from the harsh weather in the warm, dry barns
Every year, I share images and information about what its like on our dairy during the cold months. Check out some of my previous "winter" blogs;
Let it Snow – Preparing for Winter on our Farm

The excitement of the Buckeye's victory is keeping us warm today!









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