Saturday, April 13, 2013

Young Farmers in Frankenmuth

Yesterday Kris and I went to the Young Cooperators Conference for Michigan Milk Producers Association in Frankenmuth, Michigan.

Could be Germany, could be pseudo-Germany!
This is my fourth time going to the conference, but this year, we helped plan and execute it!  We had a great time listening to the speakers, going on the farm tour, and - best of all - socializing with all the other young farmers. 

On our farm tour, we went to Rainbow Creek Dairy, a farm with four robot milkers.  (For my previous post all about how robot milkers work, go here.)  Basically, the cows enter the robot, which cleans and milks them without any human interaction. 

They took off the side panels to show us all the inner workings of the robot.

Could be a robot milker, could be under my car's hood
The farm also uses waterbeds in their free stalls.  Some farms use sawdust, some mattresses, some sand ... there are many options for cow comfort.  Here they had a sample:

Kris had a waterbed when he was growing up.  He said this felt the same. 
And they also use automatic feed pushers.  Every day in barns people have to push the feed toward the cows.  (As they eat it they push it away a little.  So then farmers use a skid steer or shovel or broom or some tool to push it toward them until it's all eaten.)  The automatic feed pushers work like Roombas - they continually go along the feed rail and push the feed toward the cows.  When its battery needs charging, it goes back to its charger.

They also gave us milk and cookies at the end of the tour.  Great finish!

You can see the robot behind me through the viewing window ... and my cow-shaped cookie
After our great time at the conference, we returned home where ... it rained for the eighth day in a row.  Then it snowed.  Then, for about five minutes, it snowed while the wind blew 40 miles an hour.  It looked like a blizzard. 

Weather like this makes it a lot easier to be indoors at a meeting!  I'd go even if it weren't being held in a pretend castle.

1 comment:

Julie said...

They have waterbeds?! How very plush! I love it when you go to conferences! I always learn so much!