Wednesday, July 7, 2010

From Our Farm: Chore Time

Twice a day, we bring our cows into the barn for milking. We have two barns-one is a stall barn with an attached parlor used in the winter and the other is just the milking parlor on our 90-acre irrigated summer pasture.

This is our winter parlor. This parlor is a Double 7, meaning we can milk seven cows on each side with a milker for each. We bring the cows in from the holding pen through the two doors on the right. The cows face away from the center aisle or 'pit'. The chore people stand in the pit and put the milkers on between the cow's legs. Once done milking, the cows are sent out the far door and back out into the barn where they are fed hay bales and TMR (a mixture of grain, minerals, and corn silage) in the feed lane. They also have access to the winter pasture.

This is our summer parlor. We bring the cows in through the system of gates you see at the far end of the parlor. As you can see, this is a much bigger parlor. It is a Swing 14, meaning we can put 14 cows in on each side but swing the milkers from side to side as the cows finish milking. The exit doors are not pictured. The cows go out of the parlor and walk back to their pasture until the next milking. We feed the TMR out in the pasture.

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