About seven years ago, my parents transitioned from a conventional, registered Holstein herd to a seasonal, rotationally-grazed herd, comprised mostly of Jerseys and Jersey-Holstein crosses. My parents have had their fair share of not-so-positive comments from neighbors and friends across Pennsylvania, but they have been happy with the new system. My dad says that in 2002, he had two choices: switch to grazing or sell the cows. Know what he’s saying now? He wishes he would have made the switch 10 years earlier.
Most of my friends at Penn State are from Holstein operations. My roommate’s family milks 30 registered Holsteins in a tie-stall barn. She gets so excited when she talks about the classification scores of the herd. Another friend comes from a 500-cow commercial operation in New York. When asked about the farm, he likes to talk about the success of the breeding program and the plans he has for the herd after his uncles retire.
One of my favorite things about being a freelance writer is being able to learn about all kinds of dairy farming. Everyone seems to have their own way of doing things, and they want to share their stories with others. I’ve always been impressed with how resilient and adaptable dairy farmers seem to be.
So here are some questions for the members of this network. What is the most unique way of dairy farming you have heard or read about? We all know that things are about to get really interesting in the dairy industry. What kind of farms do you think will suffer? What kind of farms will survive?