East Smithfield, Pa.
Gorrell Dairy LLC is home to 670 cows and 610 heifers.
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Hello from the Endless Mountains of north central Pennsylvania. I graduated from Delaware Valley College with a bachelor’s degree in animal husbandry in 1979 and married my high-school sweetheart, Robin, that fall. Neither of us come from farm families, but I had worked on farms with my twin brother, Mike, since we were 13.
Little did we know then that we helped two excellent dairymen and businessmen, which would help both of us start our own careers in the dairy business.
We started on a rented farm in Centre County, Pa., with 44 cows in 1981. Robin worked at Farm Credit and helped me before and after work. I milked 3X and farmed 180 acres until our first daughter, Jessie, was born in December 1984. Twins Lindsey and Laura came in 1988.
In the spring of 1989, we were able to buy the 250-acre tiestall farm we are on today in Bradford County, moving our 64 cows and young stock. The barn held 42 cows, which we expanded to 79 and then 103 by 1994. We intensively grazed our cows for 10 years, with our internal herd growth of 11% getting us to 175 cows by 1998.
We started building greenhouse barns, first for calves in 1997, then a 144-stall, six-row, sand-bedded barn in 1998. We built these barns on our own, with the help of my dad and friends. Sweat equity goes a long way when you are short on real equity.
In 2000, we made the biggest move: We added 96 more stalls, built a double-12 DeLaval parallel parlor with an Alpro system and bought 160 heifers to add to the 84 we had bought in 1999, increasing us to 400 cows. We built 96 more stalls in 2003. In 2006, we added 96 more stalls for the cows and 96 for heifers.
In the spring of 2008, we bought a 180-acre farm across town. In the fall, we started on our new manure system, which has two sand lanes, an Integrity solid separator, a DariTech press and a two-stage lagoon. The system has been running for a year, and we reclaim 85% of the sand.
Today, we are at 670 cows and 610 heifers. Our herd average is 25,000 lb. on 3X; SCC is 245,000.
My daughter Jessie, a 2007 graduate of Pennsylvania State University, is our herdsperson. Robin does the calves and the books. We have 10 other full-time and four part-time employees.
We grow 1,100 acres of corn, 800 acres of hay and 100 acres of oats. We raise all of our replacements and harvest all of our crops for feed or bedding.
I am starting my second year as president of Professional Dairy Managers of Pennsylvania, a great group of forward-thinking, progressive dairymen in our state. I’m looking forward to telling everybody what we do up here in northern Pennsylvania this year.
|Gorrell's November Prices
|Milk (3.48% bf, 3.14% prt):
|Alfalfa hay (milk cow):