DFA farmer-members Casey and Stacey Phillips of Dry Valley Farms in Radford, Va., answer commonly asked questions about their livelihood and the industry in this months’ #AskAFarmer Friday.
The Phillips are active members of DFA’s Young Cooperators program and the online dairy community. You can find more snapshots from the farm on Dry Valley Farms’ website, as well as on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Q: How long has your family been a part of the dairy industry?
Casey: I am a third-generation dairy farmer. My father and granddad started milking cows in 1960.
Q: How many cows are milked on your farm daily? How long does it take?
Stacey: We milk a range of 120 to 140 cows twice a day. All together, it usually takes two to three hours per milking.
Q: What does your day on the farm consist of?
Stacey: A day on our dairy farm will always consist of these two things, feeding the cows and milking the cows. Our cows always come first. Other responsibilities will vary with the weather, season and what machinery is down.
A typical day begins with feeding the cows, then analyzing the data from the milk session and cows to determine if one may need additional care. If necessary, I will then give the necessary care before moving on to crop work, working on machinery and any other job that needs to be done. We then repeat the morning work that afternoon.
Q: Do you use any tools to keep track of your cows?
Casey: All our milk cows wear an identification collar that is also a pedometer; we like to describe it as a “Fitbit for cows.” This allows us to know how many steps each of our ladies is taking and can alert us when one of them is in heat or if one is not feeling well. It also allows us to keep track of how much milk she produces. These collars link to the barn computer, and the data from each cow’s collar is uploaded into a herd management program, which is also accessible via smartphone.