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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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With milk prices having reached near record highs just a year ago and the outlook for international demand for U.S. dairy products remaining strong, it is understandable for dairy producers to be looking at future expansion plans. However, these plans should be contemplated with a number of considerations in mind. Here are several points to keep in the forefront of planning an expansion.

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Building a new milking facility is a stressful time for everyone involved, especially the cows. In the midst of stress, it’s absolutely critical that you focus on the cows – their performance and health ultimately dictate the profitability of the new expansion.

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A necessary evil in the business world is change. Capitalism stretches every business to adapt to changes in the marketplace or be replaced by a business that will change. Each of us knows the phrase “no pain, no gain.” The business of dairying is not immune to these principles. For good or bad, the lifestyle that dairying has availed us for many years is being pushed by the marketplace to become more efficient. Don’t get me wrong, I know that innovation and husbandry will always be a part of the dairy industry, but efficiency and adaptability to changing markets are two principles that cannot be overlooked.

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Even at 11 years old, Jouni Pitkaranta of Seinajoki, Finland, knew he wanted to be involved with agricultural architecture.

“I did my first cow barn drawing, and I could say that even from that moment, I thought this is my future,” he recalls.

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Think about the cows. That’s some foundational advice Ted and Don Gribble of Five-G Consulting begin with when they counsel dairymen about expanding their facilities.

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Teat end exposure to mastitis- causing bacteria is the root of all mastitis problems. When the cow is standing, the probability for exposure is minimal. Eventually, cows will find a place to lie down, placing their teat ends in jeopardy. If the bedding material beneath the cow is clean and dry, the potential risks for mastitis are reduced. Cows evolved on pastures, so providing a resting environment closely simulating the cushion of grass is ideal.

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