Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Happy Anniversary (yesterday)

Yesterday was our four month anniversary of milking three times a day. Time flies when you are working your rear off unfortunately mine is not literally off. Bummer. To me now it is a challenge to see how long we can keep this up. We do not have any regular hired help just Kurt and I. Kurt's dad shows up in the afternoons when it suits him. He likes to do field work and drive tractor so he will be here in another month or so when there is work to be done. Once a month we have a friend milk one milking for us which I really, really look forward too.

Back to the challenge of seeing how long we can do this, my friend Sara and her soon-to-be ex milked 3x for eight months. As I said before, Kurt and I are milking 3x to make more money and in turn pay down debt. Then the milk price when down, way down. Enjoy your cheap food (sorry, but I hope it does not last long). I noticed milk was down 1.10 a gallon at our store in town. Atleast the price at the store actually went down when our price did as well. Cheese curds were a dollar cheaper too. Do you know what a cheese curd is? I call it a waste product. Something extra they are getting out of the whey. Plus they make a killing on it. Try them they are good. I have to get Kurt a bag whenever I'm near a store or cheese factory.

Do you want to know what I do all day? No? Well I'll tell you anyway. I have a very fascinating life and I feel I need to share it : ) Haha : )

5:30-6:45am Milk the cows and clean the milkhouse (milking equipment)
6:45-7:15am Clean, feed, and bed three pens of heifers that are in the barn
During this Kurt feeds the cows their haylage, corn silage, grain, protein, and special powders (they are magical according to Kurt), throws hay to the heifers outside.
7:15-7:45am I go in and get Mac ready to go out to the end of the driveway to wait for the bus
7:45-8:30am Clean the barn (turn the barn cleaner on to empty the gutter that is full of poop) and bed the gutter. I scrape the straw into the gutter that is behind the cows. Fill up my heifer feed and bring it back near the pens so I have for their night feeding. Feed the heifers in the pens hay.
8:30-11:30am Free time (breakfast, errands, chores in the house, paperwork/business work, nap, whatever we want to do)
11:30-1:00pm Let the cows outside, bed the cows, feed the cows the same stuff from this am, and set up the milkhouse, fillup feed pails in the feed room, and let the cows back in.
1:00-2:15pm Milk the cows and clean milkhouse
2:15-3:00pm Feed the heifers outside hay, haylage, corn silage, feed mix and their magic powder. Kurt gets hay down to feed the cows it. Kurt also cleans out the heifer shed if it needs it.
This is where we change it up. The heifers in the pens need to be fed again. Sometimes I come back out between 5 and 6pm to do it or we do it after milking. Kurt also feeds the cows a third time which is sometimes after the last milking or around 5 and 6.

6:30-8:30 or 9pm is Free time.
9-10:30pm Milk, clean milkhouse, and give cows more haylage and heifers in pens more hay.
Just an FYI the cows always have feed in front of them to eat.
This is a typical day, but it gets changed up depending on what is going on. Yesterday we had a meeting at noon so we milked later and were out in the barn longer in the morning to have everything ready when we got home.

Now when field work and planting begins, I will probably be on my own a lot in the barn or I will be in the tractor and Kurt will be in the barn. I can't plant or plow, but I can disc and drag fields. It's kind of theraputic. Yawn. I think I need to nap before all of my "free" time is gone. Kurt is already asleep on the couch.


Miriam said...

Just curious, how many head are you milking and what kind of parlor do you have? We had a double 8 Herringbone parlor and milked anywhere from 250 - 350/75 twice a day. It took us from 1:30 - 6/7:ish both am & pm from start to finish just to milk (pre & post sanitize cycles, scraping and cleaning out the parlor included).

Meghan said...

Miriam, don't laugh but we only milk 30 cows in a stall barn. We would like to buy a farm that has 55 stalls because we think that would be a nice number of cows. Around here farmers who don't have parlors typically milk 30-100 cows. We have registered cows so we make a little bit more selling our breeding stock and calves in sales or privately. There are a lot of cows in our county and I think the biggest dairies have around 3,000 cows. Land is at a premium around those dairies. It is also common around us to milk 70-30 cows if you have registered cows. There are a lot of registered breeders around here.

Do you guys still milk? Are dairy farms common in your area? Most guys start milking between 4:30am and 6:30am and 4:30-6:30pm if they are on twice a day.