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Time flies when you're having fun!

December 15, 2014
Cows in photo.

Time flies when you’re having fun and time is sure flying in Indiana! I spent the past week assessing and working with fresh cows. I looked at their feed, environment, milking procedure on the 72 unit rotary parlour and overall management while in the fresh cow pen and of course asked lots of questions. Even after our intense 10 weeks of training I still believe there is a lot to learn and what better way to do it than to ask questions!

As well as assessing different protocols and areas of this large dairy, I also help to carry out daily tasks that need to be done such as scanning cows and feeding calves. This week while feeding calves the lights in the barn went out and I then realised that they are timed according to production. A long-day photoperiod (LDPP) is used in the lactating cow barn. This means that the cows are exposed to 16 hours of light followed by 8 hours of darkness. A short-day photoperiod (SDPP) is used in the dry cow barn. This means that these cows are exposed to only 8 hours of light followed by 16 hours of darkness. It has been proven that lactating cows exposed to LDPP show an increase in milk production and cows exposed to SDPP in the dry period can be more relaxed and produce more milk throughout their lactation. A simple yet effective way of managing a herd of cows that are indoors at all times.  

I have already learned a lot about the American dairy industry and how it differs to the Irish one. However, one of the most confusing things in this learning process is trying to adapt to the different measurements such as milk being priced per hundred weight and being measured in pounds instead of litres. It’s all part of adapting to a new culture and country I suppose.

Over the weekend I took a trip to South Dakota to visit Drumgoon Dairy where I worked last year. It was nice to see all the changes that have taken place on the dairy since I left and to see the brand new dairy which was under construction, now up and running successfully!