Tullando Farm, a 550-cow herd of registered Holsteins in the Connecticut River Valley, is heading toward a robotic milking future.
Tullando Farm Inc., a family farm with 550 registered Holstein cows, is located in the Connecticut River Valley in Orford, N.H.
My parents, George and Barbara Tullar, purchased the original farm in 1956. Today, the farm is operated by my wife, Karen, and I; our oldest two children, Nathan and Emily; and their families. Our youngest daughter, Molly, is a golf pro in the South.
The farm purchased in 1956 was a small tie-stall barn. By 1960, the herd and barn had doubled in size. In 1964, we built one of the first freestall milking parlor operations in the Northeast. This more than doubled the herd.
In 1993, a double-10 Germania parlor was built, followed by a 340-cow barn in 1998. By 2012, the 1964 freestall barn was in need of major repairs. We made the decision to build a robotic milking facility that would house 480 cows. The robots have not been installed yet but are hopefully the next stage of planning.
Half of this new facility houses dry cows and bred heifers at the present time. They will be moved to the 1998 barn when the robots come. As part of this new facility, we redesigned and lined the manure pit and installed a manure separator. The dry material is being used as bedding for non-milking cattle. The milking herd is bedded by kiln-dried shavings twice a week.
The calves all are raised here at the farm in outside hutches. Whole milk is fed three times a day with free-choice grain and water available. They are weaned at six to seven weeks and are then moved into a freestall calf barn, where they are housed until about breeding age.
Our farm has 650 acres of tillable land; 300 acres are used for corn silage, 200 acres for alfalfa haylage and 150 acres for grass haylage. All forages are stored in bunker silos. We also have pastureland available to graze dry cows during the growing season.
We are very fortunate to live in a beautiful part of the country. Our river bottomlands are very fertile, allowing us to grow crops with high yields and high quality. But we face the same challenges as most farmers do with the weather. The Connecticut River can flood, and extremely cold and icy winters can cause winterkill in alfalfa crops.
Our rolling herd average is 27,000 lb. (986 fat and 807 protein), with our SCC under 120,000 on 3X milkings.
Our family works together on major decision-making issues and are all a part of the day-to-day operation of the farm.
Tullar’s recent prices
Milk $20.73 (3.52 bf, 3.04 prt)
Cull cows $70/cwt.
Springing heifers $1,500-$1,800/head
Alfalfa hay (milk cow) N/A
Ground corn $200/ton