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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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As far back as the late 1970s and early 1980s, we discovered that long-day photoperiods of 16 hours of daylight and eight hours of darkness increased milk yield in lactating dairy cows by an average of 7 to 16 percent (2 to 3 kilograms). Several researchers have confirmed this data over the last 20 years.

A well-lit barn can also improve the farmer’s workplace safety and mood. Humans feel better and work harder in a well-lit barn. If you are looking to expand or update your facilities, now would be a good time to invest in proper lighting.

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As summer comes to an end, we must remember to keep our cool when it comes to heat abatement for our dairy herds. We may be enjoying some cooler weather, but for our high-producing dairy cows, the temperature is still running plenty warm for peak production.

Days warmer than 10°C still can create problems in the holding pens and milking parlours where your cows are crowded together.

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Flies are a predictable part of dairying during the warmer months. Flies can injure teats, spread mastitis and pinkeye bacteria, reduce daily milk production and slow growth of replacement heifers.

Organic dairies share many of the same fly problems as conventional confinement operations, but organic herds are exposed to more pests because the pasture rule requires organic herds to spend more time on pasture.

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Some things never change. The land, the clock, calendar and weather forecasts have always been the major influences in everyday farming.

One thing that has changed dramatically on the farm is the tractor. Today’s tractors and the engines that power them have evolved dramatically from the late 1800s, when mechanized traction equipment (powered by steam then gasoline) first arrived on the farm.

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Never in his wildest dreams did Jake Peissig think he’d see a 13.6-kilogram-per-cow increase when he and his father built a new robotic milking facility.

Now, according to DeLaval, JTP Farms in Dorchester, Wisconsin, achieved the highest production for any VMS (voluntary milking system) customer in the world – and possibly any producer milking robotically.

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Brad Romyn has a lot of reasons to smile these days. The third-generation dairy farmer from Notch Hill, British Columbia, has made significant changes to his operation which have resulted in a lot more time to spend with his family and huge improvements to his herd’s milk production.

The Romyns’ old barn was a 100-by-60-foot freestall barn with 7-foot stalls.

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