Indiana now feels like home and the weeks are flying by on the Dairy Career Development Program. I am busy as ever working at the dairy. I also took a trip with the farm manager to the USA national farm machinery show in Kentucky last week. We saw a lot of large tractors and harvesters, nothing like we have in Ireland! There was also some tractor pulling and plenty of new agricultural innovations so it was a great day out.
The weather here is still quite cold, usually around -12°C and we are getting a lot of snow recently. Last weekend we had almost 20 inches over two days! When I woke Monday morning and looked out the window, I could barely see my white Honda civic hiding amongst the blanket snow but it still got me to work! As schools and businesses take “snow days”, the show must go on at Herrema dairy and the cows must be milked. The four legged ladies love this weather and have a much higher feed intake than during the summer when it is hot and humid.
Recently I sent away some feed samples to Alltech’s IFM (In vitro Fermentation) lab in South Dakota. The IFM model is a tool that simulates rumen fermentation and evaluates the nutritive value of total mixed rations in terms of feed efficiency and digestibility while also estimating the amount of energy lost as methane. The results were very interesting and showed that Herrema dairy feed high quality TMRs, only the best for the cows here!
Over 130,000 litres of milk leave here every day and go to 4 different locations across America. The majority of the milk supplies the consumer liquid milk market, however some is also used for cheese production and powdered products. Fair Oaks cheese plant and the Farmhouse restaurant are just around the corner from the dairy and I often go there for lunch. It is remarkable to be able to taste various cheeses, chocolates, chocolate milk and ice cream all produced locally and quite possibly from some of the cows I work with every day.
While working on a dairy farm and with livestock, I have learned you must take the good with the bad and that things aren’t always very predictable. That said, I think I thrive working in a changing environment and always look for new opportunities. I am lucky to enjoy what I do every day and as they say; “Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life”.