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 store.
Ours holds 1000 gallons of milk. And for the last week it has been filled to maximum capacity! We did not add more cows, but two environmental factors are coming together to make our cows increase milk production. We quit using water from our farm's deep well following months of research with Dr. Beede at MSU. The well has abundant water, but it is full of sulfates which are detrimental to cows' digestive systems. So, we are hauling water every day a half mile from the city waterline. Cost: about $350 a month. Results: About a 10 pound average increase in daily milk production per cow, and improved herd health. That management decision -and better weather here in Michigan- are two factors contributing to our "good problem."
Solution: We need a 1500 or 1600 gallon bulk tank ASAP! We've called our local dairy supply company, the MMPA field representative, and looked online. Right now, the perfect tank is setting in a milkhouse in Kansas... The farm is having an auction March 17, so we are making plans to go. Sadly, Roger's Dad passed away last year because he loved road trips and auction sales, so this would have been a wonderful trip for him.
I like to bid, too, so right now I am contemplating going with a friend and putting in the winning bid! Question: how do two women on a road trip get a 1600 gallon bulk tank home?! It isn't going to fit in the back of my minivan! We will arrange trucking if we do purchase it, and hope to have it installed on our farm by the end of the month.
If any readers know of any other Mueller bulk tanks of sufficient size, let us know!