While it seems like the world outside continues to spin off its axis, life on a farm doesn’t really change much. There are still animals to be fed, cows to be milked, and deliveries to be made. Truth be told, there’s actually a lot that’s been going on around here. Here’s a rundown of some of what we’ve been up to…
Babies are Coming!
I first want to thank all our awesome customers and markets for their patience right now. Production has been down not only because it has been incredibly hot, but because we are in the process of drying off (stopping them from producing milk) some of the girls in preparation for our calving season to start next month. It’s hard to believe, but August being near means babies will soon be on the ground. We have 3 cows due in August, 3 due in September, and 3 due in October. By the end of August, we’ll be flooded with milk, cream and butter again. So if you’ve been disappointed that your favorite market hasn’t been as well stocked with our products recently, I again, just ask for your patience as we anticipate production ramping up next month.
If you want to learn about why and how we dry off our cows, check out one of our previous blogs: A Well-Earned Vacation
A2 Test Results
After our first set of samples was lost in the mail, we finally got our A2 results back this week from the UC Davis Veterinary Genetics Lab. 4 out of 5 of the cows that we are currently milking tested as A2/A2! The odd cow out? Flippin’ Norma Jean, the Guernsey, who everyone just assumed would be A2/A2 because she’s a Guernsey. As one of Nick’s friends commented, she’s always been a problem child. LOL. Even the Holstein we’re milking came out A2/A2!
In all, we sent tail hair samples for 13 females. 8 of them came back as A2/A2, and based on parentage, we were able to determine that 5 others in our herd are A2/A2. In the coming weeks, we’ll be adding an A2 label to the milk that came from the A2/A2 cows. For some people, that may be an important distinction. Our goal is to eventually have the whole herd tested and we have already been selecting bulls for breeding that are A2/A2, for a better chance at producing offspring that are as well.
Yesterday, while out on deliveries, I set up an account with Udder Health Systems, to start having our milk tested on a monthly basis. As soon as our starter kit arrives, we’ll be sending out a “bulk tank” sample (essentially a sample mixed with milk from all the cows) to test for coliforms and for a Standard Plate Count. These results will tell us how good of a job we are doing cleaning our equipment, cleaning udders, keeping the cows healthy, and handling the milk.
Although our products are labeled for pet consumption only, it’s important for me to know that what we are selling is safe. I also think that it’s important for producers in agriculture to be transparent in what goes on, on their farms. Having accurate information and data on your side is a powerful weapon, which I hope we personally will never need.
Once we start testing, I do plan on posting results for everyone to see. If you want to know more about milk testing or our milking and handling process, drop a note in the comments and I can address it in another blog.
The Appraiser is Coming!
In another effort to improve the value of our herd and simply to have more data and information to evaluate, we’ll be having some of our Jersey cows evaluated by an appraiser from the American Jersey Cattle Association on August 31. The appraiser will evaluate the cows by identifying the strengths and weaknesses of each individual and assigning them a score. It will be exciting to see what they think of the animals we have signed up for appraisal. If you want to learn more about what traits are evaluated, and how a score is determined, check out this document from the AJCA: Type Traits Appraisal Program.
Hope everyone is staying safe, healthy, and being kind to one another. Stay tuned for more updates in the near future!