Today’s dairy farmers put a lot of thought into the designs of their milk farming practices. As part of a wider community, farmers take multiple considerations into account when determining the practices on their farms and the equipment and technology implemented.
At one of these dairy farms, Hillcrest Farms in Dearing, GA, everything serves to drive efficiency and conservation.
How Milk Farming Practices are Efficient and Sustainable
The farm uses freestall barns to help combat the hot Georgia heat. The freestall barn serves other purposes, as the cow waste is maintained to one area for better management and the additional pastureland needed can instead be used for crop production.
The cows in the freestall barns are also cooled with water. This water is used and reused throughout the farm to make the most of every drop. Water may be used to flush the barns, meaning the barn floors are flooded to collect and clear manure. After use, the water is collected into a system to begin separating the manure and water. The water is strained as it flows into a lagoon. Once in the lagoon, the water and manure can separate. The manure pulled is used as fertilizer on the farmland and the water is moved on to a second lagoon. Once in the second lagoon, the water is ready to be reused on the farm. Hillcrest also collects rainwater to use across the farm in irrigation systems.
Remember how the farm also grows crops? Hillcrest is continuously growing crops like sorghum and rye on the land through no-till methods to maintain the health of the soil while producing feed for their cows. The feed is stored on the farm in a way to preserve the high-quality feed for years of use without losing it to pests like birds.
To learn more about the practices on the farm, follow along on our social platforms this month as Mark and Andy Rodgers guide us through their farm and the environmental practices they perform to improve their production and maintain the land’s health.
“We are always looking for the next opportunity at Hillcrest. Me and Andy have always had that attitude, “said Mark Rodgers. “We love our closed-loop system. It’s very sustainable over the long term. We are using our manure to grow our plants that feed our cows. Then the cows produce more manure and it goes back into the system and starts the whole cycle over.
To learn more about sustainability on the dairy farm, visit our Sustainability and the Dairy Industry section.