Tag Archives: high-quality

What Does A Dairy Cow Eat?

Posted on Friday, January 2, 2015 by Andrew

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For all of us, nutrition is incredibly important to our health. It is no different for a dairy cow! I’ve heard many times people compare a dairy cow to a high performance athlete, since their bodies are working to produce milk, much like an athlete is working on their chosen sport. So what does it take for a cow to reach the peak of her production?

Well, it actually starts with a sample of each of the different types of feed we will be using.

FeedTests

Samples of the hay, corn silage and grain corn are all sent to a lab for nutritional analysis. That way our herd’s nutritionist can create all the labels that you and I get when we buy food in the grocery store. With those labels, Dan (the nutritionist) then works to create a balanced diet based on their needs and how much they are expected to milk. He also creates a for a mineral supplement to make up for any deficiencies that our own grown crops have. He then sends along a recipe for how much of each type of feed we are to use, and we measure it down to the pound, mix it all up, and serve out a delicious, and very nutritious, meal.

Here is each item before we mix it all up (measured out as 10% of what they would eat daily).

Cows Eat

Our milking cows each eat 15.5 pounds of dry hay, 57 pounds of corn silage (it is heaviest because is more than 50% water), 12 pounds of corn ground up to powder and 8.5 pounds of vitamins & minerals (including a protein supplement) daily. Mix it all up and add another 8 pounds of water for each cow and you have a meal that is sure to satisfy!

Once we get to the summer, the cows will add a little bit of grass to their diet when they go out to the pasture and graze, but it will only make up a few pounds. They always get to choose between this mix and the grass, and this mix is always cleaned up first!

The Milk Truck is Here!

Posted on Saturday, April 5, 2014 by Andrew

It’s a great job to be able to produce high quality milk, but what good is it if it doesn’t make it to you? Well, that isn’t something we have to worry about, in part thanks to our very loyal and very important milk truck.

Milk Truck

Our milk truck backs up to the barn every other day and can pick up as much as 34 000 litres from area farms.

Every other day, the milk truck backs up to the barn, ready to take another load of milk. The driver (usually Dennis or Chris for us) takes a look inside the milk tank to make sure it looks like good, wholesome milk.

Next, they turn on the agitator which is a big paddle inside the tank that stirs the milk up. They’ll also check to make sure the temperature of the milk is nice and cool, make sure the milk and milking system has been working properly over the last 48 hours (with the help of monitoring systems that make sure the milk was always cool and the equipment was washed). Next, they take another look inside the tank to make sure the milk looks like it should.

BulkTank

Our milk tank has worked to keep the milk at a cool 3 degrees the last 48 hours, spinning every hour to make sure the cream doesn’t seperate.

Once the agitator stops stirring the milk, they measure how much milk is in the tank using a long pole that looks like a big ruler. That ruler is calibrated for our tank to tell the driver how many litres we have. Dennis or Chris then take a sample of the milk that is used to test for quality and make sure that nothing but pure milk is present. (If antibiotics were present, we would face enormous financial penalties and the entire truck load would be dumped)

The next big step is the big one: use a hose from the truck to hook up to the milk tank and pump the milk into the truck. This truck can hold 34 000 litres of milk collected from a number of area dairy farms. It will then be off to a processor to be made into a number of dairy products like yogurt, cheese, or even ice cream!. Most commonly, our milk heads off to Neilson Dairy in Georgetown, Ontario and can be found in all kinds of stores in bags and cartons labeled ‘milk’.

When our on-farm tank is empty and all the milk is on the truck, a wash system is turned on that will make sure the tank is sparkling by the time we are ready to milk the cows in the evening.

So, if you see a big milk truck heading down the road – give a wave to the driver who has an important step in making sure the milk gets from the farm to your fridge.

And as a note on some interesting numbers: In 2013 there were 207 milk trucks in Ontario picking up milk from 3980 dairy farms and delivering it to 71 processing plants.

Cheers!

How Can a Farmer Keep Your Milk Cold?

Posted on Monday, August 19, 2013 by Andrew

     It is hard to find something that goes better with warm cookies than cold milk. Same with your cereal, a sandwich piled high, or even just as an afternoon thirst quencher. Really, it is hard to find something as good as that glass of cold, fresh milk. But have you ever thought about how it comes to be so cold and stay so fresh?

 

 

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     It starts at the cow – where it certainly doesn’t come cold. Our milking machines checks the temperature of the milk ion an ongoing basis as it gently milks the cow. Not only does it ensure quality milk, but it can be an early sign of an unhealthy cow when the milk is too hot or too cold. We look for 37.5-39.5 degrees Celsius. Talk about fresh! (Also recorded is how much milk the cow has given and how long it has taken. It even draws a graph to compare how many kilograms are given per minute)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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     Next step is a cooler that immediately cuts the temperature of the milk in half.  It has thin plates (which is why it is called a plate cooler or heat exchanger) where the milk runs through. On the other side of each plate runs cold water, straight from our ground well. That cold water is warmed from the milk and sent to the water troughs for the cows to drink. The warm milk is cooled and sent to the bulk tank for storage and further cooling. This plate cooler saves a lot of electricity – since the electric cooler is only bringing the milk down from about 18C instead of 39C.  (The MilkGuard unit shows the temperature of the milk as the bulk tank begins to fill up)

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     The bulk tank is where the milk is stored until it is ready for to be picked up (which happens every other day). Sensors in the tank keep the milk between 2C and 4C. There is also a large paddle that spins a few minutes every hour to keep the milk from separating. 

 

 

 

 

 

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     When the milk truck comes for pick-up, the temperature is recorded down to a tenth of a degree. Nice and cold every time!

 

 

 

 

 

     So now when you pull that milk out of the fridge, you know it has been cold all-along!