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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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Trying to figure out how to make the numbers work on a new-construction barn can be a bit challenging when you know exactly what you want, but the price exceeds your budget allowance. Cow comfort is not an area to skimp, but there are other things a dairy owner can do to be more cost-effective with a project.

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Maintaining your equipment is key to maximizing its longevity. More often than not, maintenance of milking parlor stalls and gates is forgotten until something breaks down.

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Bedded pack barns – either deep-bedded or compost bedded – allow cows to freely roam and lie down in any configuration they prefer. Manure is kept in place and managed in solid form.

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For dairies considering robotic milking, one common question often asked is whether it is best to build a new barn or retrofit an existing one. The answer, typically, is: “It depends.” I suggest your answer be based on which scenario offers the best return on investment, meets the goals of the dairy (especially for tomorrow) and satisfies the budget.

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Consumers continue to pressure the dairy industry for facility improvements that promote natural animal behaviors, including freedom of movement and socialization, and researchers are learning how to adapt dairy facilities to reflect those desires.

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Grotegut Dairy in Newton, Wisconsin, is always photo-ready. As the Wisconsin Farm Discovery Center’s designated tour partner, the 2,700-cow dairy welcomes several daily bus tours filled with visitors from the nearby agriculture educational center.

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