Safe Milk Begins on the Farm

Barstow’s Dairy Store and Bakery visitors and large animal veterinarian Dr. Caroline Barstow of Hess McWilliams Veterinary Services enjoyed a great morning tour through Barstow’s Longview Farm for the Dairy Month Lecture Series on Sunday, June 10!

In case you missed it, we have this short recap for you:

  • Healthy and happy cows make high quality, nutritious milk.
  • Farmer and cow are co-workers, family members, and partners in the dairy industry.  Treat the cows with patience and respect, they pay the bills!
  • At Barstow’s Longview Farm, robot milkers allow the animals create their own milking schedule. This has shown to increase their happiness and milk production.
  • We recognize sickness in our cows just like we would our kids.  It is a part of our job to get to know our girls, so that we can recognize if they aren’t feeling right.
  • If one of our animals does get hurt or sick, we do what we can to make her comfortable and on the road to recovery.
  • Dairy animals cannot be routinely treated with antibiotics.  They can only be treated with prescribed by a vet.
  • There is a with-hold on the milk and meat of all animals treated with antibiotics.  That means if a cow with antibiotics in her system is milked, the milk goes down the drain, never to be used for anything.
  • At Barstow’s Longview Farm, veterinarians and farmers check animal health during “herd check” every other week.  95% of this is checking for healthy pregnancies.
  • Farmers at Barstow’s lay eyes on every single animal on the farm at minimum twice per day, but often much more than that.
  • Dairy cows don’t start producing milk until they’ve birthed their first calf, usually at about 2 years old.  But that doesn’t mean the calves and heifers, or “replacement stock”, aren’t cared for!  Replacement stock receive proper care, housing, and nutrition to become healthy and productive members of the herd!
  • Heifers and cows receive a number of vaccinations to ensure they stay healthy for their entire life.  All of this information is tracked so that if a problem ever does come up, it can be traced back to the dairy farmer and their veterinarian.
  • It is important to keep calves, heifers, and cows dry, clean, and relatively cool to keep them healthy and comfortable.
  • Bulls are dangerous to cows and to people, that is why Barstow’s, and most dairy farms, use artificial insemination.

Questions?  Barstow’s is honored to be an educational resource for our community.  Always feel free to reach out with your dairy and agriculture questions on our Contact Page.

Join us for the Dairy Month Lecture Series every Sunday in June!

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Barstow's is open. Call ahead for grocery availability / to place orders: (413) 586-2142(click to view hours)