Our New Barn
In spring 2013, we built a new barn to house our milking cows. After Thomas decided to come home to farm full-time we built a new barn to add new technology and cow comfort. Building our new barn has added for less manual labour and easier cow management.
Currently, the barn holds about 45 milking cows and some dry cows.
Meadow Lynn Jerseys
The original bank Barn
Meadow Lynn farms has been purebred Jerseys since 1946.
At the time our current farm was purchased, it held show cattle in the original bank barn.
This barn held 40 milking cows in a tie-stall fashion and milking was done by pipeline. This barn has since been converted to hold the dry cows, heifers and calves.
Compost Pack Comfort
Thomas working the pack
Meadow Lynn Farms built a new compost pack facility for their milking cows in spring 2013. This pack is unique as it is actively managed to rapidly compost manure and urine. Microorganisms, including bacteria and fungi, break down organic matter into simpler substances. The effectiveness of the composting process is dependent upon the environmental conditions present within the composting bedded pack (i.e. oxygen, moisture, temperature, amount of organic matter, and the size and activity of microbial populations). When the environmental conditions of the pack are correct, the compost will heat killing weed seeds, fly larvae, and pathogens. The advantages to this is that the compost can then be spread on fields as a fertilizer, which is odour and pathogen free.
Double Parabone Milking Palour System
A parlour milking system is a system designed to streamline the milking process. This helps maximize the number of cows that can be milked per operator, and reduces the physical stresses on the farmer when compared to milking in a tie-stall or stanchion barn.
At Meadow Lynn Farms, we can now milk 10 cows at one time, rather than 3, which was our capacity in the old barn.
There are three main types of parlous: Herringbone, Parallel and Parabone.
At Meadow Lynn Farms, we have a parabone milking system. This system is unique in its design as it allows for the cows to either be milked from the side, or from behind depending on the cow's comfort. This combines the styles of both the parallel and the herringbone into one sleek design. In this type of system, the operator can milk one side of the parlour at a time.
Our new barn is also equipped with automatic take-off. Automatic take-offs are computerized systems that monitor the flow of milking coming from the cow's udder. Because it can be harmful to leave the milking machine past the point where the udder has stopped releasing milk, automatic take-offs help ensure that the milkers are not left on the cow too long. While parlor operations allowed a farmer to milk many more animals much more quickly, it also increased the number of animals to be monitored simultaneously by the farmer.
Just like humans, cows have to go to the bathroom too. At Meadow Lynn Farms, we have two types of manure; solid and liquid. The solid manure is mixed with wood shavings in our compost pack and is aerobically digested in the barn. When we spread this manure it has very little smell.
We also have liquid manure. This manure is mixed with the wash water that comes from cleaning the milkers after milking.
Although manure can be a little smelly, it has many benefits. By recycling the manure back to the field, we can replenish nutrients that were removed by growing the crops. Manure is high in organic matter, nitrogen, phosphorus and many other micronutrients.
Meadow Lynn Prefix
Calves born here on Meadow Lynn Farms are named in accordance to our prefix when they are registered with Jersey Canada. Registered cows have three names; their first name is their prefix, their middle name is their sire and their last name is their actual name. Our prefix is Meadow Lynn.
The cow here on the left is named Meadow Lynn (prefix) Fusion (sire) Laurie (name). To see more pictures of our cows click here.
Why Jersey Cows?
Contrary to belief, Jersey do not give chocolate milk. But, Jerseys do have some advantages over the other herds.
Jersey cows are one of the smallest breeds of dairy cows and because of their size, have a better feed- to -milk conversion ratio over larger cows. They also produce higher butterfat and protein than other breeds.
As well, jersey's have easier calving capabilities and high fertility rates.
What Our Cows Eat
Our milking cows eat a Total Mix Ration (TMR). The TMR is made with a special recipe which the farmer will decide on. It contains forages, grains, minerals and vitamins. The vertical mixer helps to mix the feed consistently so that all cows are getting all of their nutrients in every bite!
We feed our cows twice a day after milking.
When the calves are first born, we feed them colostrum from their mothers. For the first couple of weeks we then feed the calves milk and as they get older we start to introduce free-choice hay and grain.
Where The Milk Goes
Our cows are milked twice a day, every day. Even on Christmas! The milk truck comes to our farm every second day to pick up the milk. The truck driver takes a sample of our milk to be sent to the lab to ensure it meets quality and safety standards. The truck then takes the milk to the processing plant to be unloaded. At the plant, the milk is pasteurized to kill any bacteria that may be harmful for humans.
Dry Cows & Heifers
Dry cows are cows that are not milking, but have had at least one calf.
Heifers are 'adolescent' cows. They are older than calves, but they have not had their first baby yet.
Both our dry cows and our heifers spend most of their time on pasture, or in the winter they spend time in the barn where it is nice and warm. On pasture, they eat mostly grass with hay supplements.