I was invited with other local bloggers to tour Reid Dairy Farm in Jeddo, Michigan. We were joined with Dietitians, Veterinarians and other dairy farmers to answer any questions we may have before, after or during the tour. Not being a farmer or know much about their day to day processes we had quite a few!
Reid Dairy farm is a family farm that currently have 220 dairy cows as well as 190 calves and young cows. The farm is currently run by the Reid family as well as their son Jeff. It is also an eco-friendly farm, using solar panels to provide a portion of their power, grow their own feed and use the manure as their own fertilizer.
Every day each of the 220 dairy cows on the Reid farm produce about 10 gallons of milk each, that means a total of more than 2000 gallons daily! Since the cows produce so much milk they have to be milked three times a day.
Put that image of the farmer on a stool milking a cow out of your head, everything is now done on an automated system. After a test squeeze is done to make sure the cow’s milk is clean, and a sanitation of the udders the cows are hooked up to the milking machine. That is the last time the milk will touch human hands until you receive it at your home, and the whole process only takes about 8 minutes!
Once the milk leaves the cow it is instantly pumped between cooling plates and put into the large tank to wait until it is picked up every other day. The milk coming from the cow comes out over 100 degrees, but has to be cooled to under 40 degrees for food safety reasons.
Every two days a large 10,000 gallon tanker truck comes and picks up the raw milk product to deliver it to the processing plant. Between pick up and your table the milk is tested 12 times for any chemicals, contaminants and hormones making sure your milk products are as healthy as you hope. All tests and processing equipment are cleaned and sterilized daily.
So what about those cows? Besides being quite cute and quiet social animals, they’re actually quite pampered. The cows on the Reid Dairy Farm are separated in groups by their age and are well treated. The cows live in an open air barn with large cooling fans so they wont get over heated during the hot summer months (and it keeps bugs away). The barn also has walls that can be dropped down during cooler months to keep the cows warmer during the winter – but we were told they tend to like the cold weather!
Their diet consists of wheat, soybean and grains all grown on the farm with added supplements. They are constantly visited by their Vet and their health is one of the biggest concerns of the Reid family. Making sure their cows remain healthy is one of the goals so they can keep providing healthy milk for years to come.
A farm tour would not be complete without a visit to the babies. The Reid Dairy Farm have calves as new as a week old, and all were ready to greet us with kisses and adorable big eyes. The calves are bottle fed until they learn to eat from buckets and are big enough for the larger barn. They’re just at the beginning stage of their dairy farm journey!
You can find Reid Dairy Farm on Facebook!
To find out more about Breakfast on the Farm and the chance to tour local dairy farms check out my post here!