“The cows are happy, which makes us more profitable, and in turn, everyone enjoys working in a comfortable environment.”
For the last 30 years, Hildebrandt Farms has worked to improve cow comfort, no matter the herd size or facility. The farm originally milked 150 cows in a tie-stall barn, then increased to milking 400 in a double-10 herringbone parlor. The family is currently milking 800 cows three times per day on the DeLaval parallel rotary PR3100HD.
Every expansion has had the comfort of the cows and future of the family farm behind it. With the most recent expansion to 800 cows, a rotary looked like the best fit for both. The Hildebrandt brothers, Ken and Don, have farmed together since after high school and are now looking at the role of the next generation on the family dairy. “We thought that’s where the technology would be in the future. Our children are coming home to farm and this is where the technology and efficiency are going to be,” says Amy Hildebrandt, co-owner.
Hildebrandt says the biggest benefit she’s seen with the rotary falls right in line with one of the goals they’ve always had. “Cow comfort – the cows like going on [the rotary], the robotics are efficient, it’s less labor intensive.”
A DeLaval teat spraying robot TSR accompanies the rotary as another measure to maintain cow health. The Hildebrandts have also paired the DeLaval DelPro™ farm management system with DeLaval activity meters to help monitor reproduction, feeding and animal health.
Additional cow comfort solutions include cross-ventilated barns equipped with fans, good lighting and curtains for temperature control. Cows are bedded with composted bedding – yet another way for the Hildebrandts to keep the cows comfortable and the farm sustainable for generations to come.