Dairy practice

Our Animals, Our Responsibility.

Responsible farming means safe, healthy milk.

As dairy farmers, we love what we do. We devote our lives to working hard building an amazing life and future for our family. We dream of the day that we can pass this first generation dairy farm to our children. To make this dream a reality, we have to make sure the care of our cows is our number one priority.

Photo/courtesy

We spend each day devoted to making sure their every needs are being met and we love it! Here’s just a taste of what we do:

Be boringly, and reassuringly, predictable. Keeping our cows healthy is our main goal. We start where all good dairy farmers begin: with a consistent milking schedule so our cows are milked on time, twice a day. Cows are creatures of habit and they thrive with a consistent routine.

Keep it clean. While they are being milked, we clean the entire barn. The barn is cleaned by tractor, the stalls where they lay are cleaned manually with a rake, and fresh pine shavings for comfy bedding are added weekly.

Give nutritious food. Each day, we give our herd a specialized mixture of alfalfa hay, alfalfa silage (fermented hay), a mixture of grain, vitamins and minerals. And, access to fresh, clean water is crucially important to keeping our girls healthy.

Reduce stress. Like humans, cows are sensitive to their physical environment. Keeping their schedule consistent, their stalls clean, and their diets healthy adds up to less stress.

Take care of them when they get sick. Even with all the work that I just mentioned, as well as keeping their environment as stress free as possible, things can still go wrong. No amount of care and back scratches can keep everyone healthy all the time. Occasionally a cow will get sick and it is our responsibility to get her back to good health as soon as possible.

We can provide lots of “over the counter” care ourselves. Just as some parents offer a gummy multivitamin to their kiddos at breakfast, sometimes our cows just need some extra vitamins and minerals. We also know that there are times when a cow just needs extra recovery time after a hard labor, so we let her rest. Or, a calf might need some electrolytes if it’s sick and/or dehydrated, just like children sometimes sip Pedialyte after a stomach bug. We take every situation as it comes, and most of the time our vet doesn’t need to get involved.

But sometimes, we just can’t resolve an animal’s health issue on our own, just as parents can’t always make a cough go away with rest and a humidifier. For those times, we always call in the veterinarian, which occasionally means a prescription for antibiotics.

This is where having a close relationship with our veterinarian comes to play. With most antibiotics, we are required to have a prescription from our veterinarian. Once we have identified the illness, we can determine which antibiotic (if any) is best used. This is key because every single antibiotic used for livestock is regulated with what’s called a “withdrawal period”—the amount of time between administering an antibiotic to the animal and when that antibiotic has made its way out of the animal’s body.

Now, remember what I said about a consistent schedule? Well, a dairy cow has to be milked every day, regardless of whether she is ill or treated with antibiotics. Not milking would cause stress and other health issues. We separate any cow being treated with antibiotics during the treatment and antibiotic withdrawal period so that her milk isn’t mixed in with the milk from the rest of the herd.

Why do this? Because the quality and safety of our milk is as important as the health of our cows. The two go hand in hand. This is where testing plays a huge role in our lives—and our livelihood.

Here’s how testing for antibiotics works: Our milk is picked up at the farm each day, and a milk sample is taken to test for overall quality as well as the presence of antibiotics. At the processing plant, the entire truck of milk is tested for antibiotics. If the test shows positive, the entire truck load is disposed of and the farmer responsible has to pay for all the tainted milk. None of that milk every enters the food supply chain.

At the end of the day, we want to make sure the food that we are providing for others is safe and wholesome. And it matters greatly: this is what we do for a living, to provide for our own family. As dairy farmers, we take great pride in what we do. And we feel so confident in the rigor of the safety and quality measures we have in place, we feed our family the same dairy products we sell on the market.

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Dairy practice

HOW TO FEED YOUR COW TO INCREASE MILK PRODUCTION

To boost milk production, a dairy cow should be fed on dry matter like hay or silage and not green or fresh grass.
This is because the microbes found in the rumen of all ruminants, do not work on just any feed especially fibrous feeds when they are not fermented

Photo /courtesy

Therefore, hay or silage, which in this case is already fermented outside its stomach will ease digestion.
Hence the feed will be quickly digested and at the same time well utilised to increase milk output.
The silage or hay should also include legumes, which provide proteins that are a major milk component.
A dairy cow should also be fed a Total Mix Ratio, which is a feed made from a mixture of silage, hay, dairy concentrates and grains.
This mix provides the highly required balanced diet to the dairy cow, hence the cow’s milk output will increase.

Molasses

A dairy cow uses a lot of energy to move and also make milk. So feeding it on molasses will provide it with energy since this sugary substance produces glucose.
Molasses can be either mixed with hay or silage or fed to the cow exclusively.
There are also livestock microbes. These boost the growth of microbial bacteria in the stomach.
Once they grow well in the rumen of the animal, they will produce enzymes that eventually improve on the digestion; especially of fibrous feeds during dry seasons when feeds such as elephant grass and other pastures are more fibrous.
These microbes break down the feeds given to the cow to increase its milk output.

Comfort
Comfort has a direct influence on how long cows are healthy and productive. You can do this by improving their environment.
Your cows need a soft and clean resting surface plus sound footing.
They should be able to behave naturally and stand or lie down easily.
A dairy cow should be kept in a clean place with enough space. To enable it live in a comfortable place, facilities should be provided for it to sleep on.
If a dairy cow is not comfortable, it will not relax as it will move up and down looking for somewhere comfortable enough to sleep. These movements will use up energy which it would have used in the production of milk.

Water
A dairy cow should be provided with adequate clean water if its milk output is to be high. This is because almost 90 per cent of milk is water.
Hussein Kigozi, an animal husbandry expert, advises that the water source should not exceed five metres from where the animal is kept.
If it is far away, the animal moves a long distance which drains the energy it would have used to make milk. For every five litres of water a cow drinks, it should give at least a litre of milk.

Disease control and breeds

Diseases have an impact on milk production. Therefore, effective disease control will ensure high yields. An unhealthy cow will not feed well and therefore not be able to produce enough milk.
Also, it is important for a farmer to know which breed of cow he/she keeps. Is the breed meant for dairy or beef? Many farmers keep beef cattle thinking that they are for dairy. For instance, Friesian and Gernsey are good dairy breeds.

KUHN machines

Design of the Kuhn Cutter Bar. 

These disc mowers now come with the 100 series cutter bar with PROTECTADRIVE safety.

This range is designed for small or medium-sized farms wanting to invest in a simple, reliable product which will allow them to harvest clean highly nutritional forage, without re-cutting it and to preserve the sward for

Mowers
Kuhn cutter bar mower

The beveled knives with bolt attachment, the oval shaped discs converging rotation, the small distance between the compact cutter bar and the rear tractor wheels as well as the suspension spring, all these features contribute to producing highly nutritional forage without impurities which increases the herd’s productivity.

For increased safety, and to prevent from any contact with the ground, the swath board has been replaced with a swath wheel. The tractor right wheels do not roll over the mown forage. The lateral cutter bar articulation allows good ground following even when mowing on embankments and ditches.

Should the cutter bar hit an obstacle, a safety break-back causes the mower to shift rearwards thus highly reducing damage risks.

The disc bearing station can be removed and mounted quickly and easily. A possible repair is carried out at reduced costs from the outside with minimum downtime.

Hay Baling machines

The Unique Features In Italian Cicoria Balers

Cicoria baler during operation

Cicoria conventional square balers are well appreciated in more than 40 countries for their performance, reliability and easy maintenance.

So, what makes Cicoria balers stand out from other baling machines in the market today.

Heavy bales: Cicoria balers have a long plunger stroke which is 5cm longer than other machines, this feature creates high rate of compaction on any type of crop hence heavy bales.

High productivity : thanks to the wide feed opening that has been engineered to push high volume of straws in the bale chamber and a strong gearbox to withstand the heavy loads hence producing more bales per hour. To be precise, the working rate of Cicoria balers is six bales per minute.

Strong knotter system : Cicoria balers equipped with the most reliable knotting system for proved reliability, are strong and easy to maintain.

Smooth crop flow : With a pick up width of 1.6m, 4-rows of pick up tines, tine spacing of 82mm and an adjustable height control wheel.

Needle protection : Cicoria balers are equipped with needle shear bolt and flywheel shear bolt that protects the needle from breakage should there be an obstacle in the bale chamber, furthermore the piston breaks prevents it from harming the needle. Cicoria needles are not rigid and can be easily twisted in case there’s a bend, you don’t need to replace the needle with a new one every time.

Bale density adjustments : this is one feature that Cicoria balers owns that’s not found in any type of baler. The bale density can be adjusted both up,down and in both sides, a feature that makes Cicoria baler produce bales of high standards with no spaces inside.

Easy maintenance : A part from weekly greasing of knotter system and other moving parts, Cicoria baler is almost maintenance free as the gearbox requires oil filling once in every year.

Disc mowers

KUHN MOUNTED DISC MOWERS

Today, all high-perfomance farms are aware of the importance of basic forage for their herds. All the extra energy available in the forage is reflected in high productivity and hence high revenues.

Hay mower
Picture of a Kuhn four disc mower

How to achieve top quality forage

With KUHN mowers you can count on several features, which helps keeping the forage clean, avoid it is chopped and preserve the swath. Features for an optimized ground pressure and travel range have been put into action on both series.

Important parts, as the attachment frame have been reinforced to enhance the machine’s stability even more.

Grass must be cut not chopped

The crop should be quickly ejected into the swath and only cut once. Double cutting causes higher crop losses, delays regrowth and increases the power requirement on the tractor.

Mow at the right time

Especially for silage, harvesting at the right stage means gaining the full value of forage plants : sugars, proteins, minerals and dry matter. Therefore, capitalizing on tight weather windows at the stage when the forage is ready, is an important building block to preserve the forage quality.

Specific Design of the Cutting Unit.

The disc mower’s bevelled knives ensure a high quality clean and even cut.The oval shaped disc as well as the compact and streamlined profile of the cutter reduce soil and crop residue accumulation.

Cutting Height

An ideal and constant cutting height is obtained by simple adjustment of the top link.

Lifting skids are optionally available, if higher cutting heights are required.

Converging Disc Rotation

On KUHN mowers, each pair of discs is driven with a converging rotation. Be sure, No double cutting will degrade your forage.

Perfect Ground Contouring

The cutter bar is positioned close to the tractor wheels, ensuring a quick adaptation when driving over rough terrain.

An optional mounting of the suspension ensures an optimal balance of the cutter bar.

The disc mower flotation, which also allows appropriate working speeds.

Safety Breakaway Mechanism

Should an obstacle be struck, the safety breakaway causes the mower unit to swing slightly backwards. The impact is significantly reduced. You can reset the device simply by reversing.