When it came to asking about our work schedule, our 9th grade ag pen pal class was split down the middle. Some thought we worked all the time and some thought out life style was slower and relaxing. Here is a little glimpse into our schedule.
5:15 a.m. Jon wakes up and grabs a quick bite to eat
5:30 a.m. Jon makes his way down to the barn to start calf and heifer chores. Tim wakes up and grabs a bit to eat.
6:30 a.m. Tim arrives at the farm to feed heifers hay and grain. Next he scrapes the manure out of the freestall barn and hauls it on a field if time allows.
7:30 a.m. Miking starts
9:00 a.m. Lisa finishes up milking with Jon then cleans parlor and milking equipment. Tim scrapes manure out of barn and off cowyard. Pens in the barn are cleaned and bedded.
10:30 a.m. Jon and Lisa go to the house to eat breakfast. Tim goes home to eat lunch
12:30 – 4:00 p.m. Middle of the day is used for getting everything done that isn’t milking or regular chores such as field work or repairs on buildings / equipment.
4:00 p.m. Tim starts mixing the cows evening feed so the cows can be on the cowyard eating by 5:00 p.m.
4:30 p.m. Emily starts feeding calves and heifers. She also beds any groups that are in need of new straw.
5:00 p.m. Tim gets cows over to cowyard to eat and wait to be milked
5:30 p.m. Tim mixes cow feed to next morning. He then feeds and beds Dry cows
6:30p.m. Milking starts
8:45 p.m. Done with milking and cleanup. Time for dinner then bed.
As you can see our day is quite full. Cows and other animals need to be cared for seven days a week 365 days a year. A nice thing about our farm is that we are large enough to make enough money to hire a part time milker. Jen, our part time milker, will work 2-3 nights per week. This allows everyone to have at least one evening off a week. Also, we usually take the middle of the day off on Sundays to attend church and to do family activities. On holidays such as Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter we just feed the animals and milk the cows.
When we want to take vacation we need to arrange for people to come feed the animals and milk the cows. Jen will help out and we have a few other trusted people we call on. Our family takes vacation in July and we also take several long weekends.
So that is a little glimpse into our day. Yes, dairy farming is a lot of work, but it is also very rewarding.