Two-way Cow Care

October 14, 2009 07:00 PM

*Extended comments highlighted in blue.

Kevin Phillips
Waynesboro, Va.
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.

I want to see my cows eating, laying down or being milked. Cow comfort doesn't cost, it pays! A good cow man can prevent a lot of problems.

Phillips' August Prices  
Milk (3.5% bf, 3.0% prt): $12.35cwt.
Cull cows: $40/cwt.
Springing heifers: $1,300/head
Alfalfa hay: $140/ton
Cottonseed: $220/ton
Ground corn:  $170/ton
Soybean meal (48%): $410/ton

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