We've been milking with "Johann LELY" for two months now. The cows are well-adjusted to the new equipment. Our family has had some challenges: it turns out we are creatures of habit, too!
I've been trying to put my finger on just what it is that is making our family different since the robot was installed... A few days ago we had a meeting with our LELY rep and we've got it at least partly figured out.
See, milking cows two times a day in the stanchion barn…Continue
Added by Joanmarie Weiss on August 18, 2011 at 3:16pm — No Comments
We started milking with our LELY automated system yesterday evening at 4:30p.m. and at 4:00 a.m. we had put all 61 cows through the robot once. There is a big learning curve, but the calmness of our cows has been commented on by the LELY trainees. It is exciting. The barn has fit well into our existing exercise yard for the cows. Its a 24/3 training session, then we can see how it goes on their own on the 4th day.
Lots of people came to check it out, and our son's…Continue
The rain keeps us out of the fields, but does not slow down the robot barn building too much. In fact, the building project keeps our minds diverted from thinking about how far behind we are in field work... We did mow some hay yesterday and will chop tomorrow if all goes well. (It looks like rain right now, but maybe it will go around us)Continue
Yesterday at lunch we got a phone call from Iowa informing us our LELY was on a truck and ready to "immigrate" to Michigan. (I am thinking of this whole venture in terms of history , my college major...What would Johann Leonhard…Continue
We had a beautiful set of blueprints for our robot barn drawn in January. We naively thought our plans were good to go! Each step of the project brings new ideas and challenges, and we are now aware that this is a real work in progress. We are becoming more cautious about our decisions, consulting more experts as we don't want to have to redo something in a year or so when we find out our plans didn't work in the real world.…Continue
June 2010, Roger and I traveled to Europe to visit several dairy farms. In Switzerland we stayed with Suzanne and Jureg Marschall-Dummermuth, who have had a LELY for two years. Suzanne's father, who is 80 years old, told us in his life he milked cows by hand, in a pipeline, in a parlor, and with the robot. "You know," he said with a big grin, "I like the robot best of all!" We could see how the cows responded to 24 hour milking, comparing milk lactations. We could also see how…Continue
This week we opened the last AgBag of 2010 haylage - in a snow squall! "When will the weather finally begin to warm up?" That's the main topic of farmers' discussions here in Michigan!
Next week promises to be a bit warmer, in the 50's with rain most days. That should get the alfalfa fields greening up some. The winter wheat is starting to show some growth. And at the crown of the standing alfalfa, there appears to be regeneration.
We have plenty of corn silage to get…Continue
1997: Roger sends his Dad to auction to buy a used bulk tank "bigger than we'll ever need, but if the price is right..."
2011: "About the bulk tank, Dear..." What is a bulk tank, you ask? A bulk tank is where milk is stored on the farm until the milkman comes to take it to the factory. It keeps milk refrigerated and stirs it regularly so cream does not separate from the milk; this assures consumers a fresh, safe gallon of milk at the grocery…Continue
Added by Joanmarie Weiss on March 2, 2011 at 3:45pm — No Comments
Tonight we are under a blizzard warning. For us here on the dairy farm, that means moving the snow already on the ground further out of the way so we can accomodate the new snow falling tonight. Tomorrow we will get up, trudge through the snow drifts (will it really snow a foot tonight!?), scrape snow from the barnyard, get cows out of their comfortable freestalls into the stanchion barn, and milk. What usually takes about fifteen minutes will probably take two or three times…Continue
Added by Joanmarie Weiss on February 1, 2011 at 7:20pm — No Comments
Roger and I traveled to American Farm Bureau annual meeting in Atlanta, GA a few weeks ago. As any fan of the weather channel knows, this picture could have been taken there in mid-January! I took this picture on our farm the morning after our return.
In Atlanta, a southern city was paralyzed by snow and significant ice. (I think the ice was more the…Continue
Added by Joanmarie Weiss on January 15, 2011 at 7:00pm — No Comments