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Life is too short to eat bad food! Sharing great recipes, farm life, stories and photography from our Northern California dairy farm.

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January 14, 2010

It's Milking Time!

A dairy cow's favorite time of day~Milking time! As you can see in the photo below, they anxiously await for their turn to enter the milking barn. Cows are milked twice in a 24 hour period. Ours are milked at 1:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. To milk all 200+ cows, it takes approximately 4 hours. Cows are brought into the milking barn 12 at a time. They walk into their milking stall, their teats are dipped in a anti-bacterial solution, cleaned, a milk machine is then attached and the milking begins. Each cow is milked for eight minutes or so and they produce approximately 40 pounds of milk, that's 4 1/2 gallons of milk at each milking. So, during a 305 day lactation period, the average cow produces 24,400 pounds of milk. While the cows are being milked, they have the option of eating corn grain that comes out of a hopper from above their heads. After milking, their teats are once again dipped in the anti-bacterial solution to prevent any bacteria from traveling up through their teats. What Happens To The Milk? The milk travels through stainless steel pipe into a holding tank that's located in a separate room. It is then pumped from the holding tank through a filter and into an adjacent stainless steel milk tank which holds 2,100 gallons of milk. The milk is kept at 37 degrees. When the milk from the second milking of the day is added to the tank and the already cold milk, the temperature is allowed to come up to but not over 45 degrees for a short time before returning to 37 degrees. Retaining the milk at these temperatures keeps the quality high enough for it to be sold as fluid milk. Our milk is picked up once a day by our Cooperative, DFA (Dairy Farmers Of America). DFA then markets the milk to a number of different processors such as, Sunnyside, Berekly Farms & LePrino Cheese. DFA also owns a cheese plant in Hughson, CA. All photos were taken today at the 1:00 p.m. milking. Pin It
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