Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Real California Milk Mom-To-Mom Tour

Last week, we had the opportunity to host a portion of the California Milk Advisory Board's (CMAB) first ever "Real California Milk Mom-to-Mom" educational tour. This was an exciting event for us, as we're always looking for ways to share our lifestyle with others and help spread the Real California Milk story. 

The CMAB welcomed 13 mom bloggers and personally introduced them to the California dairy industry. Their trip began with a cheese course led by Juliana Uruburu from the San Francisco Cheese School and dinner in Galletto Ristorante's wine vault.
The next morning, the group toured the Charles Ahlem Dairy in Hilmar before heading over to visit us. A common misconception is that the majority of milk is produced on "factory farms". While farms have grown in size over the years, 99% of California's dairy farms are Still family owned and operated, just like here at our facility and at Ahlem Dairy. The remaining 1% of California dairy farms consist of University or prison facilities. You can meet some of these dairy farming families at Know A CA Farmer.
Liz Adams, DVM from Mid Valley Veterinary Clinic, joined us in presenting the tour and was able to provide additional insight into the care of CA dairy herds. One of the highlights of the tour was our calf facility. We introduced a heifer calf, born early on the morning of the tour and explained our facility design and individual care given to each calf. Much the same as babies are cared for in the hospital nursery, our calves are also cared for independently and monitored closely. They are the future of our heard and our livelihood depends very much on the care they receive, starting as newborns.
We then moved on to the free stall barn where our mister system, free choice free stalls, rubber mats and total mixed ration (TMR) diets were explained. The mister system is an automated water mister that is programed to come on at set intervals, once the temperature inside the barn reaches 80 degrees F. This helps dramatically reduce the stress of the cows and keeps the temperature inside the barns cool and consistent on hot days.
The rubber mats are designed and placed accordingly to help relieve pressure on the cows legs and feet while she's standing to eat or walking to and from the feed bunks. 
The TMR, seen in the photo below, assures that each bite a cow takes has everything in it that she needs... hay, silage, cottonseed, corn, almond hulls and other feedstuffs are mixed together to provide a balanced diet based on the stage of her production and pregnancy.

Cottonseed and almond hulls are by-products of the agriculture industry. The cotton seeds remain after the cotton fibers are ginned from the cotton boll, and are fed to cattle as a high source of protein. The outermost layer of the almond, called almond hulls, are a byproduct of the hulling process. They are fed to cattle as a source of fiber, they also bring a sweetness to the feed mixture. The innermost shell, surrounding the actual nut, is also recycled at our dairy. Almond shell is used as bedding in our maternity pens to provide a clean, dry area for our cows to labor and deliver their calves.
Cole joined us for the tour, he's always excited to spend time on the dairy... to visit the cows and play in the dirt!
Another highlight of the tour was a photo op with Angelina, one of our registered Holstein cows. She was a little nervous at first, but was happy to represent the Happy California Cows here at Durrer Dairy!

far left, Liz Adams, DVM, along with Chris & I and the Mom-to-Mom group... and Angelina!
The CMAB marketing team... and Angelina - Jennifer, Cami, Amy and Kris


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your warm hospitality. It was a pleasure touring your farm, meeting your adorable family and enjoying lunch in the Party Barn.

The Durrer Family said...

We are so glad that you enjoyed yourself! The lunch was fantastic, we're still waiting for Amanda to come back and cook for us again!! :)