Roger, Patricia and their 7 children have farmed for decades. Their organic dairy farm is on the Bayley Hazen Road, up in East Hardwick and in spite of the poor economy and the rough times for dairy farmers, they are doing it. Moving forward and making progress. For the past few years,three to be exact, Roger and Patty have been working with NRCS and UVM Extension getting plans together to expand from a traditional tie stall barn with a pipeline to a new, larger hoop barn with a 7 by 7 milking parlor.
The pipes running along the ceiling carry the milk to the bulk tank and each of the cows are milked in their stall. Pretty labor intensive and basically some pretty hard work and a lot of bending over. Plus, if you have allergies, the confinded space, doesn’t help.
Dairy parlors are different. The cows are able to move around the barn, then at milking, they line up and stand next to an individual milking machine. Each station in the parlor has it’s own milking apparatus, a bunch of suction tubes, called a claw, that slide on to each teat and through pulsating, draw the milk down to container that allows you to measure each cow’s output, then can be drawn up to the bulk tank. So a 7×7 parlor is not the dimension, it is a milking parlor that has 2 rows of 7 milking machines. That means that you can milk 14 cows at a time.
Reducing your milking time and making it more comfortable and a lot safer for the milker and cow. It is cleaner for gals that work in a dress and less allergy laden. That is the point for the switch. Once the cow has been milked, the machine stops automatically to prevent injury to the cow. Then once all the cows in one row have finished up, the gate is opened and the cows walk back to the barn. The barn can be gated and sectioned off so that cows that have not been milked don’t get mixed in with the cows that have. All very simple and common sense.
Roger and Patty are looking forward to the project being finished up and moving everyone over to the other side of the road. The new barn is HUGE and beautiful. And the cows, according to Patty, like the composting bedding pack better.
Looking forward and having a project that will make life simpler and safer is a good way to get though these tough times. Patty will tell you that the contruction process is stressful. However, now that the end is in sight, looking at Roger and Patricia, you can tell that they are moooving in the right direction.