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Sunday, January 15, 2017

Flat Aggie Visits a Dairy Farm in Wisconsin

Hello from northern Wisconsin! Our family lives in Marinette County, Wisconsin. It’s currently winter here in Wisconsin and we’re expecting a lot of snow to fall this year! Flat Aggie is going to tell you all about her adventures on our family dairy farm here in Wisconsin.
On our family farm, we milk 97 cows and raise all of the female’s calves to become milk cows. 

A view of our milking parlor. We can milk 8 cows at a time on one side. It's called a "double" eight swing parlor. While the first set of 8 cows are being milked, the 8 cows on the other side of the parlor are being cleaned and prepped.  After the cows are done milking, they get to go eat, drink water, and lay down in their sand beds. Their beds are made of sand and the barn is scraped twice a day with a skid steer. All the manure goes into a big pit. Twice a year this manure pit gets emptied into the fields. The manure acts as fertilizer to help our corn grow!
We do raise a few steers for our family as well. We also have three horses, lots of dogs and cats, chickens and a rabbit. 

We milk about 97 cows twice daily in our parlor. 

Before a cow gets milked, we wash off their udder with a disinfectant and clean them off. 

After every milking, all the equipment gets washed and sanitized. Flat Aggie got to help milk cows and hang out in the parlor! Cows get fed every day. 

We have to mix up a few different types of feed for them, it includes a mixture of hay, corn silage, grain and corn. 

Filling up the mixer with cow feed!
Flat Aggie got to ride along in the tractor as we filled up the mixer and delivered it to the cows. All of this feed is very important so that the cows can give us lots of milk.   

Riding in the tractor!
We showed Flat Aggie the big stainless steel bulk tank that holds our milk. It can hold up to 1000 gallons of milk! A semi-truck comes and picks up the milk from our tank every day. 

Flat Aggie checking out the big bulk tank that stores all the milk.

Calves get grain, hay, water and milk replacer. They live in the huts outside the barn. Calves develop a warm coat of fur during the winter months to stay warm and then they shed the extra hair in the Spring.

Flat Aggie checking out the salt bin. Cows are given salt and minerals

We have lots of barn cats to help take care of mice and other rodents. We also have a lot of playful farm dogs. Flat Aggie loved playing with Daisy!
We have to raise chickens that can withstand the cold temperatures and snow. Rhode Island Reds and White Leghorns are tough and able to still lay a few eggs during the winter. We have to keep their water thawed, their bedding dry, and have a heat lamp running to keep them all warm! During the summer months (May-August), our chickens enjoy free range of our yard. They enjoy eating bugs in our flower beds and gardens, and digging holes everywhere! They can be sassy, but they are fun to watch!
Flat Aggie helped us pick eggs every night. She got to see brown eggs, tan eggs, white eggs and even some green eggs!

Flat Aggie enjoyed pickings eggs from our chickens every evening. They are slowing down with egg production for the winter months. They will start laying more eggs when it starts to warm up in late April, early May. She also got to help feed our rabbit, Olaf. He likes hay, bread, corn, carrots and fruit!

Besides animals, we also grow crops like hay and corn. Corn gets planted in the spring and we harvest it in the fall months. We make dry corn and corn silage, all of which gets fed to the cows.

Flat Aggie helping us load up feed.

 Hay is usually cut down and baled (or chopped) three times during the summer months. Summer and fall are very busy months around the farm for us. Flat Aggie got to help load up feed for the cows! She liked riding in the skid-steer!
We enjoyed having Flat Aggie visit our farm in Wisconsin!
Flat Aggie even got to drive the skid-steer!

Fun Facts about our Farm & Wisconsin:

Our family hosted the Marinette County Breakfast on the Farm event in June 2015. Over 4,000 people came to eat breakfast on our farm! We served 200 gallons of ice cream, 3,000 chugs of chocolate milk, 1,000 chugs of white milk, 1,400 bottles of orange juice, 1,000 pounds of sausage, 1,500 pounds of eggs, 140 pounded of shredded cheese, 40 pounds of butter, 480 pounds of pancake mix, 30 gallons of maple syrup, and 400 pounds of cheese curds!
Wisconsin leads the nation in the number of cheese plants with 127!
90% of Wisconsin’s milk is made into cheese and 90% of that famous Wisconsin cheese is sold outside of the state’s borders!
American’s eat about 350 slices of pizza per second. That’s enough to cover more than 90 football fields a day!
It take 10 pounds of milk to make one pound of cheese!
On average, each American eats about 34 pounds of cheese every year!
A newborn calf weighs 90 pounds and can walk on its own one hour after birth.
An average dairy cow weighs about 1,400 pounds!
Cows have four stomach compartments and eat about 90 pounds of feed every day! They also drink about a bathtub full of water (25-50 gallons) every day!

        Dairy farms operate seven days a week, 365 days a year.

 Looking for additional resources to learn more about Dairy Farming?

How about some Farmer math problems? 

Want additional resources to use in your classroom?

You can find other Dairy Farm visits by Flat Aggie on her tab at the top of this page or at Flat Aggie.

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