Current Progressive Dairy digital edition

Barns & Equipment

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


Schlund photo

A dairyman in the Magic Valley, Idaho, came up to me and asked if he was right in thinking he could replace his broken steel line with proper rubber hydraulic hoses. He had a steel line break, and it was going to take him a week to get the part in. He couldn’t afford to have the machinery out of commission for that long.

I told him he was correct. Rubber hydraulic hoses can replace steel hoses, but there are some things to consider.

Read more ...

Fan photo

For the past 18 months, “tighten your belts” has been the theme of hundreds of articles, conversations and presentations. At the same time a major trend around the world is to reduce energy consumption and find ways to be more efficient. There is a solution to cow comfort that actually accomplishes both of these concepts.

Bob and Gary Marchy of Ceres, California, have installed 16 new 72-inch Cyclone fans, created by Ventec Environmental Solutions, in their 680-foot-long freestall barn. The dairy converted to a freestall system from an open lot system in 2008. Now they are trying to make the cows even more comfortable in the freestall by adding these new fans.

Read more ...


You may have noticed that you are losing oil but you don’t know where – all you know is that the five gallons you put in your tractor is all but gone. You don’t have an obvious leak under the tractor when it’s parked, but there is some oil in the back where the implement is hooked up.

Is that oil just from connecting and disconnecting the implement or is it a bigger problem? If there are no other apparent leaks then it could be the coupler or O-ring that is damaged.

Read more ...

This article was #1 in PDmag's Top 5 most-well read New Technology articles in 2010.

Summary: The Greenfreestall, a division of Tags4All Global Inc., has created a freestall structure that is adjustable, movable and, most importantly, comfortable for cows. The sides of the design are made of composite flex piping and allow for increased flexibility. In addition, the structure adjusts in the following ways:
• the height of the plastic tubes
• the height of the neck bracket
• the length of the neck bracket
• the width of the bed

Because this article was so popular, we asked John Moses of Greenfreestalls some follow-up questions:

Read more ...

In order to do a good job of cleaning, we calf raisers have to learn how to do each step properly. In addition to knowing how to do the job, what else is needed? Proper water, chemicals and supplies!


First, adequate water is a must. When too little water is available, we are tempted to skip steps. We fail to rinse equipment before washing. We fail to do an acid rinse after washing.

Read more ...

Mechanics 1

I know a boy and a father that were killed in rollovers, a boy that was wrapped up and killed in a PTO and another guy that had his arm messed up in a PTO. I barely pulled a small boy out of the way of the tractor his father was driving. The father didn’t know his son had followed him out and was standing in front of the tractor. There are many such cases and accidents that change families all over the country because someone wasn’t careful or aware of their surroundings. Safety is an often overlooked aspect of equipment management. However, it’s a topic that can have major consequences on you, the operator and your business.

Read more ...