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FACILITIES & EQUIPMENT

Whether using a tie stall, freestall, dry lot or pasture, here are some tips for cow comfort and maintaining farm facilities and equipment.

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Before you know it, the sun will be shining and hay will be lying in the field ready to be baled. Does your normal spring round baler start-up procedure go something like this? Connect round baler to tractor.

Turn on the PTO and hope something doesn’t break.

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Cow comfort is an all-encompassing term, which includes almost everything we do on a dairy farm. When we really think about the whole picture, every minute detail has an influence on the comfort of the cow.

As an example, the location of the facilities is a major consideration. Are they near or on a hilltop, in a valley, by trees or by a large body of water? This influences ventilation, which is a major component of cow comfort.

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The Armstrong brothers are the fifth generation of their family to farm their homestead near Caledon, Ontario. Philip, Peter and Robert farmed with their dad on the 100-acre homestead since the 1980s.

Robert passed away in 2004; his wife, Shirley, remains a partner in the enterprise. Philip’s wife, Debbie, is involved in the farm by keeping the financial records. His son Richard joined the farm last year.

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Providing clean, dry bedding for dairy cows is imperative to maintaining a healthy herd and providing for the overall welfare of the animal.

Dry bedding prevents bacterial growth, growth that contributes to high somatic cell count (SCC) and mastitis, a leading herd health problem.

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One of the areas we tend to have good intentions about practicing is farm safety, but sometimes our good intentions get set aside. I realize this is not intentional, but we must make an extra effort to not only think about it, but also practice it.

How many people do you know that are missing a limb or an appendage, such as a finger, or have had some sort of farm accident? Or even worse yet, have suffered the loss of a loved one?

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When baling and handling large round bales, you must recognize and understand potential hazards and follow the manufacturer’s operating recommendations for each piece of equipment you use.

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