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Barns & Equipment

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

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Cow comfort is often listed as one of the most important aspects associated with getting dairy cows to milk to their genetic potential economically. Cow comfort involves not only providing a comfortable resting place and surface for cows, but also providing for proper ventilation within the facility to minimize heat stress, prevent condensation of moisture and allow for good air quality (i.e., low ammonia concentrations).

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Reality check: John has worked on his family’s farm since he was 12 years old. He is 38 years old and has three children. John had just finished loading silage into the silo and was approaching the tractor’s PTO lever to turn off the forage blower.

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Earl Creech, Utah State University extension agronomist, recently related a story you need to hear. I’ll let him tell it in his own words:

When I returned to Utah, I bought some farm ground next to the farm where my parents have a small dairy. My wife and I felt farming was a great way to raise kids, and tractor time can be great therapy, and as an agronomist, it gives me a certain “street cred” when I’m working with producers, as I too run an operation.

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A complete line of machinery is one of the largest investments a farm business can make. Yet, unlike land or buildings, machinery must be constantly monitored, maintained and eventually replaced.How and when equipment is replaced can mean a difference of thousands of dollars in annual production costs. 

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At one end of the scale there’s the gargantuan service truck. It has more neat stuff on board than most people have in their shop.

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Compost-bedded pack (CBP) barns are an increasingly popular open barn design for housing dairy cattle, particularly with funding opportunities available through the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Alternative Manure Management Program. These barns allow natural resting positions and offer shelter with a reduced infrastructure cost compared to traditional freestall barns.

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