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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Anyone hear of Fair Oaks Dairy Farm located in Fair Oaks IN.? They're suppose to have 35,000 cows on the farm, milk 32,000 cows 3 times a day. Average calf birth is 80 a day. They have a visitor's center and an arena where you can watch calf's being born. When I was growing up we milked 15 cows. Kinda hard to imagine milking 32,000 cows.
 

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It seems to me that milking would be a continuous, day-long operation with cows constantly being rotated through the milking parlor. :eek: I wonder how many workers are needed to manage such an operation :?:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm sure they have several milking carousels. When the last cow is finished, the first one's probably getting back on. As for workers, a whole bunch of them :D . They may even have their own full time veterinarian. They also have their own cheese making factory
 

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Just cannot grasp that many cows being milked in one place 3xa day.
 

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Been by there a few years back when taking our son to Chicago after being in Nashville for a trade show for my sons business.
There are known as "MEGA DAIRYS" & not your privately owned family operations.
In the state of Arizona, S/E corner, near the interstate that runs north-south there is another "MEGA" operation & if my memory is still good, it's named Garcia Dairy. Were thru that area a year & half ago when on our 3 month travels across the southern states. California also has these corporate holding operations.
Some years back they were going to build several of those Mega dairy operations (2100 head) within a few miles of us but the investors/backers money fell thru & the prep-work of those 80 acres of farm-able land were abandoned & now is growing up in new trees/brush. The Dutch families that came here to run those operations lost there own money as they were required to purchase the farmland & deed it over to the big investors to show their commitment to working these Mega Dairies.
Around Hudson, Michigan (30 mile area) there are many of these over 2,000 dairy head MEGA operations & they have been in court battles for many years for pollution issues. Over 60 years ago that area of Michigan had a lot of family owned dairies of around a 100 head & there wasn't the problem of neglect for water pollution/etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Holsteins. Milking 3X a day just wears the cows out faster then 2 X's
 

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4imnotright said:
Holsteins. Milking 3X a day just wears the cows out faster then 2 X's
OK Now I'm convinced the world has totally gone crazy!!! :roll: :roll: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
 

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I always have thought that a dairy (family run) would be something... it's just not anything that seems to be real big here in our area. Would be a neat thing to see I would think. Imagining 80 births a day makes my head spin... knowing the care that those situations can take sometimes.
 

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Those Holstein dairy cows are nothing more than a "machine". Birth the first calf around 2 years of age, fed a high protein diet with a lot of chemicals added to produce lots of milk, & in average of 3 more years are beyond the ability to maintain high milk output & sold for slaughter. The cows are milked for 10 months after giving birth, are breed after 2 months of calving, left "dry" for 2 months until they calf & the routine repeats.
This is not how your older generation "family" farming operation was done. Dad stayed in dairy cows for 25 years & the most we milked was 18 head but 10 milking was about all the feed that could be produce on our 100 acre farm, after that number of head we needed to buy (hay/grain) for other farmers which became expensive. The "milk check" was our main income.
 

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Bob, I'm sure yall produced better quality stuff too :!: :!: ;)
 

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Undoubtedly so. Bob, did you all primarily handle Holsteins or did you milk any of the other varieties? I understand that the Holstein is what is generally considered the staple of large-scale dairy but on the family farm level I've often wondered if the other varieties maintained a strong presence.
 

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Brandon, my Grandad dairy farmed until '69 or '70 he had a mixed herd of most of the better dairy cows. I remember Holstein, Jersey, Guernsey, Ayrshire, and Brown Swiss, at a fair mix, not just one or two of any breed.
There used to be a lot of small (under 100 head) dairy farmers in the area, and most milked a mixed herd. Brown Swiss and Jersey were real popular dairy breeds in the area in the 60s and 70s.
I only remember a few of the bigger dairy farmers, and some being the ones still doing it, milked only Holstein cattle. When Grandad quit milking he gave Mom two cows, Joyce the Jersey and Anne the Brown Swiss.
Somehow, it got to by my chore to milk them in the mornings. All through high school. Though I don't miss that, I do miss the taste of fresh, whole, pure milk. ;)
 

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Our dads herd were purebred Ayrshire. Within our township there were 2 Brown Swiss, 2 Holstein, 1 Guernsey & 1 Jersey farm that milked over 12 head of cows, many farms had just a few cows in the '50"s, mostly for their own use.
Now there are only 3 "Family" dairy operations in the western half of the county still operating. The last one to get out (2009 )was a neighbor to our farm & he had Holsteins which were what his folks milked before he took over that farm, - health issues, knee, hip replacements finally convinced him to give it up for good. Today his silos, manure tanks, equipment are just setting there & not worth dismantling or selling - he is just a few month younger that me & stayed much longer that most fellows that age. His wife misses the milk check but not his complaining of aches/pains - he still grain farms & one of his s-i-l's helps with planting/harvest & also helps his own dad with his farming while working full-time on construction.
 

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Folks,
Good thread. I cannot imagine 32000 cows! My grandparents farm, 120 acres, had as many as three cows we milked by hand. Dads farms, 280 acres, had as many as 40 Holsteins plus calves and young heifers. I helped at both farms mostly helping with crops. Dairy is not a easy life but rewarding hard work. Dad didn't get many vacations until I was about 20. Both uncles had small family dairy farms also. Lots of hay making rotating between farms. As others mentioned most of the family farms are gone. We have one 2000 to 3000 head dairy farm in the area now.
Regards,
Chris
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Mom & Dad had about 15 Jersey and Guernsey milk cows. They used a vacumn milking machine. Was not sorry when they sold the herd to a neighbor who had only holsteins.
 
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