Meet our New Farm Robots

From Green to Greener

Between the cover crop on the fields and the serious lack of snow this winter, green never really left for the season…. But without a doubt, it is looking GREENER out here! Happy spring!

It won’t be long before:

🐮 the cows are on pasture (Pasture Day is Saturday, May 4),

🌸 Mother’s Day orders are being filled (celebrate Mom on 5/12 with her favorite baked goods or a lunch date out!),

🌱 the no-till planter is on the move,

🎓 graduation season is in full swing – don’t wait to order cakes, desserts, and picnic salads for your grad party,

🥩 and the grill is hot and ready for Barstow’s burgers and steaks! (Barstow’s Steak Night is Mon. 4/22 – details here).

Really digging the farm vibes? We are hiring customer service associates and dishwashers for the busy season ahead. We are also looking for a part-time Baker/Cook who loves early mornings and a full-time Herdsperson in the barn.

Welcome Vector

We do have two new helpers on the farm we’d love to introduce you to. They are super reliable, never take a day off, and work around the clock… Vector 1 and Vector 2.

Last month we welcomed two new automatic feeding robots to the dairy barn. The Lely Vectors are big mixer wagons that prepare the total mixed ration (TMR) for the group (in perfect portions every time), and then move throughout the barn, releasing the feed at the optimal moment, pushing feed forward, and measuring feed levels as they go.

Frequent feeding has a proven positive effect on overall cow health, milk quality, and milk yield. Previously, we laid out breakfast for our herd in the morning and they ate away at it until the next morning. The Vectors provide our cows with smaller portions more regularly throughout the day. This way of feeding introduces fresher feed, diminishes selective eating, reduces feed waste, and helps to keep the pH in the rumen in balance, so our cows get all of the nutrients they need to be healthy and efficient.

Every dairy farmer knows that healthy, well fed cows produce high quality milk and more of it. This system will enhance milk quality and milk quantity by providing our herd with better nutrition. And better nutrition means better digestion – fewer bubbles and belches. The new automatic feeding system will likely reduce enteric methane emissions from our herd as they receive fresher, high quality feed consistently throughout the day. Good stuff in, good stuff out!

Feeding previously took someone around 6 hours of time, mixing and weighing the ration, filling the feed wagon at multiple silos for each load, and driving it all around from group to group. Phew! Now feeding takes around 2 hours daily. This makes us more efficient and proactive with our time. It also significantly reduces tractor usage and fuel emissions!

Thank you to the Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center for the generous grant award which helped to fund a portion of this project. We are grateful for state, federal, and private grant opportunities that help farmers become more sustainable, more profitable, more resilient, more efficient, better caretakers of our herd and land, and provide a better quality of life (for us and for our cows).

We will be offering free, full farm tours on Pasture Day. But we will also be offering two walking tours the weekend before of JUST the Vector automatic feeding system. The tours will be 10am on Saturday, April 27 and Sunday, April 28 – $3/person, kids 12 and under are free.

Barstow’s is currently open daily until 4pm! We hope we are your go-to stop for spring staples coming SOON like asparagus, strawberry rhubarb pie, hanging flower baskets, porch seating, and green pastures.

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