Here’s some pictures I snapped of the corn harvesting process where the trucks line up behind the tractor to be filled with the corn and then another where you can see Brendan (assistant farm manager) in the tractor in the bunker style silos. The filled truck that I had just weighed is now going to dump the corn silage so that Brendan can precisely spread out the feed so that all of the air pockets are removed to prevent spoilage but also to also create more room for the silage.
Here’s another picture that shows the old timey silos that are picturesque features of a dairy farm. Even though we don’t use them today, they stand proudly near our new and improved bunker silos that prevent spoilage. One of the bunkers can be seen in the background picture with the tractor.
After spending some time mastering my weighing truck skills, I went straight to the milk parlor hoping to channel my inner farmer kleinpeter and be a pro in no time. It was not that easy to say the least.
First thing in the morning, we tend to our girls in the hospital. Once they are all taken care of, our herdsman starts to bring in groups of the cows to start milking. With 12 cows on both sides it most certainly felt overwhelming. Especially early in the morning. The cows look forward to getting milked so the last thing I wanted to do was make them feel uncomfortable at a time that they enjoy the most.
A few of the guys showed me a process that I was sure would turn me into a pro milk girl. Needless to say it helped but the task was a lot hard than I thought it would be. First, the cows need to be cleaned. After this is done, each one’s milk needs to be tested. Just like humans, cows get sick and may even catch a fever. Naturally, when a cow catches a fever, their milk gets very hot. And if you’ve ever left milk out and it’s gotten too warm, it starts to become lumpy. Which in fact actually happens inside the cows udder when they’re sick.
So, after they’re cleaned and checked, we can start the milking process. This lasts for about 15 minutes. The cows love it! When they come in early in the morning, they can’t wait to get to their favorite milking stall (I’m serious). Some will wait until their stall is free before they even think about being milked (some are definitely creatures of habit). Once the machine detects that it has taken just the right amount of milk, the machine automatically shuts off leaving the cow to feel “udderly” relieved of milk 😉
After this happens, we then clean them again and send them back out to the pasture.
As easy as it was for me to type this, it was not an easy task for me to overcome. I have a whole new respect for the guys in these positions. It takes not only practice but teamwork in order to be successful at running this position. I’m continuing to learn new things in the milk parlor, whether it be from the lead milker’s standpoint or the herdsman in charge of helping the milker. After spending a few 12.5 hour days in the parlor, I think I’m finally starting to get the hang of it. It’s all about confidence and efficiency. The cows start remembering you and trusting you to take care of them. And that right there is more than enough reason for me to aim to be a better milker in hopes to gain their confidence in me.