June 2 2017 10:15 AM

This spring has been particularly busy at Hillcrest Farms.

There has been so much going on around the farm I couldn’t choose a topic to write about, so I’m going to update y’all on a few things. It’s always busy around here, but some unusual stuff has been going on lately.

My cousin, Josh, just got married. He is the one who is following under Uncle Andy and learning the mechanical side of the business. He had a beautiful outside wedding on the outskirts of town. The whole week before that we had been running around cleaning and getting ready for family and friends coming to visit from out of town.

We are ramping up the planning process for construction to switch over to robotic milking. In a few weeks we will be traveling to Wisconsin to tour some farms with the robotic milking set up. We are trying to figure out how it will work with our farm. No one around the southeastern United States has a similar set up as us, and no one near us has tried robotic milking yet. If anyone reading this has any ideas or pointers on setting up robotic milking in a freestall barn, send them our way please!

The major struggle on the dairy right now is battling flies! We have to spray every day to keep flies off of our cows and heifers. It almost seems like this is the worst fly problem I have ever seen here. We have made major steps to control the issue. We put fly socks up at our heifer farm along with spraying each heifer every day. For the milk cows, we bought a fogger that is attached to the back of a tractor that we run through the freestall barn a couple days out of the week. We also have a backpack sprayer to walk around and spray the barn down. Staying on top of this issue is crucial to keeping the cows and heifers healthy and comfortable.

We have all the corn planted finally. We ran into a couple of issues, though. There was the usual machinery breaking down, and the unusual killing of a 60-acre cornfield that was about 15 inches tall. We had accidentally planted a field with non-Round Up Ready corn seed. The field got sprayed with Round Up . . . and well, you know the ending to that story. The seed company did send us some new seed to replant since that wasn’t the seed that we had ordered in the first place.

And lastly, it has already been a humid summer here in Georgia. And that is one thing that doesn’t get easier. Battling heat will always be an issue for us from May to about September. We do all that we can to keep our cows cool and comfortable. Fans, flood tips over the feedbunks, shade and fans for our dry cows on pasture, and so forth.

That is the jest of what’s been going on around the farm. Some exciting things are in our view!


Caitlin and Mark Rodgers

Mark and Caitlin Rodgers are dairy farmers in Dearing, Georgia. Their “Father and Daughter Dairy Together” column appears every other Thursday on HD Notebook. The Rodgers have a 400-cow dairy that averages 32,000 pounds of milk. Follow their family farm on Facebook at Hillcrest Farms Inc.


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