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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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The planning, building and startup of a new (or retrofit, rebuild or extension) milking parlor is a uniquely exciting, challenging and stressful event. Financial deadlines are real. Construction fatigue is real.

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Over the last two decades, initially through improvements in feeding and nutrition and subsequently through facility design changes and enhanced management, we have seen positive progress in early lactation milk performance and health improvements in those farms that have chosen to embrace these changes. Much of the effort has been focused on the dry period – in particular, the pre-fresh or close-up period – and the maternity or calving area.

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When Nebraska dairyman Bob Larson built his robotic dairy barn nearly three years ago, he knew right off the bat that water quality was important to cow health and productivity. What he didn’t expect, however, was to run a water treatment trial that would clearly show a 7-pound per cow difference in milk production.

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I am often confronted with a new challenge when it comes to repairs around our family farm. Much of the machinery and buildings we own were purchased or constructed when I was in elementary school.

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Compost-bedded pack barns have become more prevalent in the last few years.

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In urban planning, cities have a master plan to develop their land use for decades ahead. Certain areas are reserved for housing, industry, parks and shopping areas. New roads are located before they are built. Urban planners have a vision of how to develop the city and create a well-functioning and attractive place to live. Urban planning gives a path on how to get there.

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