Room for Improvement

April 6, 2011 12:49 AM

Gorrell   Patron, Patrona,Jessie 12 14 10Glenn Gorrell

East Smithfield, Pa.
Gorrell Dairy LLC is home to 670 cows and 610 heifers.



*Extended comments are highlighted in blue.

Every dairy producer wants to produce the highest-quality product he can--first, because it is the most profitable, and second, because he wants the consumer to get the best product possible. At our farm, I feel that even though we use many good practices, the end results aren’t always where I think we should be.

All of our dry cows are treated with Tomorrow or Spectramast DC and Orbeseal, along with J5. Heifers are treated six to seven weeks prefresh with Albadry and Orbeseal when they get their feet trimmed. After they freshen, they are checked with a CMT paddle to assure they are clean before they hit the milking string.
Another shot of J5 is given as they enter the milking string, and then on a quarterly basis. We found that the tail-end cows were the ones getting coliform mastitis. After we started the quarterly shots, that problem went away.
In the parlor, we use a foamer for predipping, cloth towels and a postdip in a cup. Cows are on sand-bedded stalls, which are fluffed every day with hydrated lime. New recycled sand is put in once a week.
Cows with abnormal milk are written on the board and taken to our hospital barn (our old tiestall barn), where the milk is pasteurized and used for the baby calves. Mastitis cases are cultured at our local vet clinic as needed.
Even with these procedures, we average an SCC of 250,000 cells/ml for the year—not where we want to be. We do have training meetings with the milkers, some with the help of Quality Milk out of New York, some with our pharmaceutical companies, and some with just ourselves.
One of the areas that we are weak in is parlor maintenance. The company that built our parlor did not provide the services we need, such as maintenance. We are now starting to get the service we need.
Though we are not there yet, we are heading in the right direction. It is kind of hard to expect great results from a poorly running parlor. 
Another area that we are weak in is parlor management. The job is by committee on a good day, and that leads to results that are not acceptable. Top all that off with an overcrowded freestall barn, and I probably have my next to-do list.
We need to get the parlor running like a race car, delegate the parlor manager job to the right person, and get more stalls to house those cows. Hopefully by December, I will have better results to report.
Gorrell's February Prices  
Milk (3.41% bf, 3.18% prt) $17.56/cwt.
Cull cows $133/cwt. to
$137/cwt. (dressed)
Springing heifers $1,150/head to
Alfalfa (clippings) $200/ton
Cottonseed $280/ton
Cornmeal $280/ton
Canola $320/ton


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