Hi-Tech Barn Improves Cow Comfort
My husband Andy and I began dairy farming with Andy’s parents in St. Charles in 2014. Like many young farmers, we were aware of the ways new technology could save time, improve animal comfort and increase sustainability. We wanted our dairy farm to be around for future generations of our family and decided that adding the latest technology to our barn was in our best interest and in the best interest of our cows.
Extreme Barn Makeover
It’s always been important that we take care of the cows and the people who take care of the cows. In December 2016 we began working on the design of the new barn with this concept in mind. Once the design was complete, our small family farm underwent its biggest renovation to date. In January 2019, we began milking cows in the new barn.
We built a custom barn outfitted with the latest technology for cow comfort, herd health and environmental sustainability:
Cows are able to come and go throughout the barn to eat, sleep and drink as they please.
The cows never have to stand or lie on concrete.
Robotic Feed Pusher
Cows can get a little messy with their food. Just like a Roomba spins through your house, this automated feed pusher keeps feed within reach of cows so they never go hungry.
Herd Management Software
Special neck tags monitor individual cow health and activity.
Automatic Gate System
Just like at a theme park, automated gates help keep traffic flowing. The same technology is used on our farm so that all of our cows get milked in a timely manner.
Robotic milkers use laser technology to accurately apply the milker to the cow’s udder. It’s very gentle and doesn’t hurt the cows. They walk right in when they are ready to be milked!
Manure Management System
A giant squeegee cleans manure from alleyways, separates the liquid and fiber portions and stores it for use.
There are two sensors in the barn that control the lights, fans and curtains to maintain a comfortable environment for the cows.
Because sometimes, you have an itch you just can’t quite reach! It’s like an on-demand back scratch for the cows and it helps them stay clean, too.
For Love of Cows and Community
By making a safe, comfortable environment for both the cows and the people, we can provide top-quality milk for our local community. Our milk is shipped to Dean Foods in Rockford where it is made into cottage cheese and sour cream.
We cherish every moment spent with our cows; they are responsible for our successes. We are proud to give them a home that tends to their needs around the clock. From the baby calves in our calf barn to the 10-year-old cows in the milking barn, we enjoy working to provide our animals with the best care. We are especially proud when we see them reach exciting milestones like winning classes at the local fair or being classified as “excellent” by the Holstein Association.
If you want to see our farm for yourself, our barn doors are open. We recently hosted an open house to show our community what modern farming looks like and we also offer tours to the public by appointment. We are eager to show people the technology used on our small dairy farm and answer every question they might have. We hope that it will serve as an opportunity for people from all walks of life to learn about the farmers and dairy cows behind the nutritious milk and dairy foods we all enjoy.