Gertie and Geert van den Goor
Transplants from the Netherlands, the Van den Goors milk 3,000 cows at their Goma Dairy and were named 2014 Dairy Farmers of the Year by Michigan State University.
The time of the year that we put forage in our bunk is our most favorite time of the year but also the most stressful.
We love the craziness of truckload after truckload pulling on to the scale and then dropping their load in the bunk. We love watching those push tractors that seem like they are doing a synchronized dance, and we love the smell of fresh haylage or corn silage.
What we don’t like is the paperwork that comes with it and the stress because the weather doesn’t cooperate, equipment breaks down and all other things that can go wrong and impact the feed quality for the next year.
The best morning is when everybody helps to cover the bunker and we have a tailgate breakfast to celebrate when it is done.
When we moved to Michigan, we started working together with local crop farmers. They grew the feed for us and delivered it to the bunk, and we still work using this concept.
Because of the need for more forage due to expansion, we are working with a custom harvester too. He does the work for those crops we buy on a year-to-year basis. We are very blessed to work with people who understand how to grow and harvest good forage and also who understand why we want things done a certain way.
Every week our nutritionist stops in to make sure we are feeding the right ration to the cows and heifers. Animal health, milk production and cost, in this order, are the things we look at if it comes to adjusting the diet. A good long-term working relationship is key to this part of our operation.