Last Friday, 10/09, we received two new cows from Iowa. They were purchased from Knapp Guernseys, very near Wisconsin.
The reason for the purchase is that demand is outstripping supply, and right at the time of year that grass-fed cows naturally begin to produce less milk. Also, we have three good cows on pre-calving vacation.
I was in one of our retail partners yesterday and there was just one milk left on the shelf in natural. That was a Wednesday. We had just stocked the store Tuesday, and will not be back until Saturday. Yikes!
We do our best to meet the demand, but we’re working with seasons and live animals, and with grass. If we were a conventional dairy, we could double the output of these ladies, no problem. However, it would not be by feeding them the long-stemmed organic forage that they do get. We would be feeding corn silage, sorghum, alfalfa, and a whole lot of each, and who knows what else.
Instead, we are striving to produce the most healthful product possible from A2A2 Guernsey cows on grass and grass hay/haylage. When it comes to production, we get what we get. During the late spring, entire summer, and early fall, we have great per cow daily average production, but nowhere near what we would get in a conventional operation.
During the true fall and most of winter, our numbers drop considerably – just as the days really shorten, and there is literally nothing we can do about it. It’s just the natural cycle. We still think it’s good production, but the industry certainly wouldn’t think so. We have been doing it long enough and keep detailed daily records, and our production is entirely predictable, and that’s all we’re looking to do – meet the predicted numbers. If we don’t, then for sure, something is wrong.
So back to the new cows: meet Tingle and Lovestruck. They’re helping us put more milk in the tank now, but they have to learn to graze and be organic cows like the rest of their co-workers who have 4 legs up on them, many having been born here.
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Loved your New Cow announcement! Such pretty, dark-faced girls.
My husband was up at the Bonners Ferry Super-1 about 1:30 pm today. I have him trained to go check the Dairy-case 1st thing and get me my milk! Today, he could see from far away that there was just 1 bottle left, so he scurried over and got me the very last bottle! Your milk sure is popular! Thank you, your family, and all those beautiful cows for such excellent and healthy milk!
Very nice to hear he got a bottle and thank you for the compliment on the new girls!
Good job, Paul. Quality and not quantity is what we’re all about, too. Actually if we were to do a nutritional analysis of your milk compared to conventional milk or even compared to other raw milks that don’t take such good care of their soil, your nutritional content would probably be much higher. Too bad farmers can’t get paid for what’s IN the product rather than just the number of items or pounds of liquid.
An interesting point on quality is that the few times we have had to buy new cows in milk from Iowa or Wisconsin, they show up here with very white milk compared to what we are used to seeing. This happens even when they are Golden Guernseys. It is because those farmers are raising the girls primarily on corn silage, with very little to no grazing. It takes a couple if months on our grass diet before they accumulate enough beta carotene in their fat to turn the milk a golden color. We also have to baby them when they get here. They get hay and isolation in a barn at nights while the rest of our ladies sleep out on pasture, because this is what the new girls are used to. Within a few days they begin to want to go out with the herd just in the middle of the grazing day to try out being “real” cows.
What an excellent problem to have–trying to meet demand! We always consider it a treat to be able to grab your milk at Super 1 in Post Falls both because we don’t grocery shop very often and also because they’re often out. Which makes me celebrate your success! 🙂 I’ve had digestive issues with dairy products for about 15 years, and I am always impressed with how your milk doesn’t seem to bother my gut at all. As my husband said last time we relented and purchased a mainstream brand of milk in order make some masala chai (almond milk just isn’t the same in it)–we’ve been ruined for anything other than Pleasant Meadows! 😛
Nice comment! We have more milk on the way to stores today than the past 8 weeks and should be back up to full production, meeting most demand, by this weekend. Cows have been calving and coming off vacation.