Twin Oaks Dairy in Truxton is finishing a state of the art barn.
Co-owner Kathie Arnold describes it as a free stall barn with a milking parlor, with a lot of automation, and the latest technology.
For example, waterbeds for the cows to lay on, and an electronic sort gate that uses ear tags on each cow.
“The milking parlor automatically identifies each animal and as the cow is milked, it’ll record it’s milk weight and that information will be sent directly to our computer.”
The ear tags and sorting gate also separate cows that need special care from the others.
Kathie believes her cows will benefit from a robot feed pusher.
“It looks a little bit like R2D2,” said Arnold. “He or she swirls around and pushes the feed into the cows, because the cows sort of like to rummage through the feed, then flick it out, so this will keep the feed right up closer to the feed rail.”
(It’s difficult to determine if a robot is male or female. This one is red if that helps.)
Twin Oaks has been certified organic for 18 years and its milk goes to Upstate Cooperative, which ends up as Wegmans Organic milk and Greek Yogurt products.
Arnold says the new barn also takes advantage of energy saving devices.
“We’re having alley scrapers that will scrape the manure, rather than running a tractor through it. So, that saves energy and labor. We’ll have LED lights throughout the whole building. We’re having an insulated ceiling.”
The barn won’t be heated, but body heat from the cows and that insulated ceiling will keep them warm.
If you have a fit bit, you’ll understand this.
“The cows will also have what are called ‘activity collars’ on them, that will measure how active a cow is, so that will give us an indication of when the cow is ready to breed, which is a very important aspect of dairy farming.”
Kathie Arnold and everyone at Twin Oaks Dairy invite the public to an open house at the new barn on Saturday, December 3, from 10 am-2 pm.
The barn is at 3214 Rt 13 in Truxton. Kathie says it is 8 miles from Cortland and a mile past Poole’s Drive-In. Farmers or non-farmers are welcome.
“Kids, 4-Hers, everybody is welcome to come, see the barn, it’ll be totally clean, so you don’t have to worry about getting’ manure on your shoes.”
Or as Kathie likes to say, “See the barn before the cows do.”
A suggested $2 donation will benefit the Truxton Community Center, along with proceeds from food sales and a snowmobile auction.