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Our motto has always been, "Take care of the cows and they will take care of you.”
Both of our operations have free-stall barns. One farm has a three-row barn with thick rubber mats that are very soft and bedded with dry sawdust once a week.
Manure is cleaned out of the back after every milking. This barn is equipped with automatic manure scrapers that help keep cows' hooves clean. Head-to-head stalls have no fronts, just a neck rail to stop them. This gives the cows the most lunge space when getting up. Thirty-inch fans placed 30' apart over the stalls and controlled by a thermostat help keep cows cool. We have crossovers every 60'. A three-row barn can not be overcrowded.
The other farm features a four-row barn with 4'x8' postless stalls. This barn utilizes mattresses with canvas covers and is bedded with dry sawdust once a week. The barn also uses automatic manure scrapers and the head-to-head stalls.
The barn is cooled by helicopter blade fans, which move a lot of air without requiring a lot of horsepower. The fans are automatically controlled by a thermostat.
We have three 20' fans in a 100'x300' barn. This barn also has a feed pusher that keeps the feed pushed up to the cows at all times. Every time this runs, the cows get up to see what's new and eat a little more, which helps with dry matter intake.
We run up to 20% overcrowding in this barn and we milk 3x a day. We also have rubber mats in the parlor.
Both barns have 7" of watering trough space per cow. We run foot baths three to four times a week. We also have rubber mats in the holding area and curtains for the winter to help with warmth.