Dairy technology: happy cows, clean environment, and better milk

Better dairies through technology

Washington’s family dairy farmers are finding creative new ways to use technology to produce a higher quality milk at a lower cost.

That is particularly important now, with world dairy prices again sinking downward.

Our state’s dairy farmers also work to make the best use of dairy manure, while minimizing the farm’s impact on the environment.

Robotic milking

Austin Farm
Austin Farm, 320 Elma Gt Rd

Austin Dairy Farm near Oakville has been in the family for nearly 140 years.  They are located just west of the southwest corner of Thurston County, right off Highway 12 at 320 Elma Gate Road.

Austin Farm produces certified organic milk for Organic Valley.  They are proud to be a Washington Dairy Farmer’s “Dairy of Merit.”

In a move that would have astounded his grandparents, Jim Austin brought robotic milking to their farm, with the DeLaval automated milking machine.  The video below features the Austin family and their farm, and explains how this dairy technology works.

Besides saving Austin Farm a lot of money in the long run, the machine makes for happier cows, a superior product, and a more sanitary operation.

Turning manure into black gold, while saving water and protecting the environment

Mabton locationDutch immigrant Art Mensonides came to Washington dairy farming in 1989.  He built his current dairy in Mabton in 2002, where he now milks about 5,500 cows.

Mabton is in the Yakima Valley in eastern Washington, about halfway between Yakima and the tri-cities..

He is proud to still be an independent family farmer, rather than being a part of a larger corporation.

Mensonides’ high-tech manure operation separates the waste into solids and liquids through multiple steps.  In turn, he uses the recycled waster water–a critical need in the dry Yakima Valley area where he farms.

Using the recycled waste water from his manure minimizes the need for Mensonides to draw water from his well, or from the Yakima River.

The whole process is done over an impervious surface, so none of the manure seeps into the ground water.

Two dry by-products are produced from the manure–a superfine and a nutrient-rich compost, and a dry cattle bedding.

Mensonides’ manure processing creates a self-enclosed ecological system on his farm.

From milking to manure, Washington dairy farms are becoming more efficient and earth friendly.  Drink up in good health!

 

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