The Armstrong Family settled in this area in 1828. We own 100 acres and rent about 1,400 acres, growing corn, wheat, soybeans and hay. We originally milked in the old barn, gradually expanding the herd and buying quota. We were milking 185 cows in the 50-cow tie stall barn (a lot of shifting). In 2001, we built the new dairy barn that houses 250 cows with a double twelve parallel milking parlour. We started milking in October 2001. The cows were averaging about 27 litres when we left the old barn.
We started milking three times a day in April 2008. This increased our milk production from 33 to 34 litres per day to 39 to 40 litres per day. We are quite pleased with how this has turned out. Our current BCA is 295 for milk, 320 for fat, and 315 for protein. Milk 12,700 kg, Fat 525, Protein 410 (305 day production). We are currently milking 330 cows with 45 dry cows.
In 2006, we built the Cover-All heifer barn. It is a self-cleaning barn. It has a 7% slope in the bedding pack. We have never had to clean out the bedding pack. We scrape out the alleys 3 times a week. The heifers enter the barn at 3 months of age and move through the barn according to age. The final group is 12 months and older and this is our breeding group. Once they are pregnant, the heifers are moved to the old free stall barn.
In 2007, we built the calf barn with the Urban robotic milk feeder. This has saved us a lot of labour, about 2 hours a day, without sacrificing quality of health as opposed to hutches.
In 2015, we added 130 stalls to our dairy barn, for a total of 370 stalls. In 2016, we expanded our maternity barn. This fall, (2017) we added a commodities shed.