Until recently, the Downing Farm was home to a herd of Holstein milk cows -- those black and white ones that are so fashionable of late. Dan had about 35 adult cows that he milked twice each day -- yes, that's seven days a week and 365 days a year. He could take a day off if he arranged for someone else to do his milking (and feeding!), but the cows would be very uncomfortable and unhappy if they were not milked every day.
The photos below show a little about how a cow is milked. The milking machine is attached to the cow's udder. Suction keeps it in place. The suction is created by a vacuum pump at one end of the barn. White plastic pipe runs from the vacuum pump over both rows of cows all the way to the end of the barn. A hose from the milking machine is attached to a fitting near each cow (see red arrow). The vacuum is used to create pulsations that cause the rubber cups in the milking machine to squeeze the cow's teats just like if she was being milked by hand -- like in the old days.
Another hose connects the milking machine to the stainless steel milk pipe (see blue arrow). The pipe slopes gradually toward the milk house at the end of the barn, allowing the milk to flow there for collection.
Below is a photo of the milk house. The large stainless steel tank on the left is where the milk is collected and cooled until it is picked up by the milk truck.
A milk truck from the Burnett Dairy Cooperative across the river near Grantsburg, Wisconsin, came every-other day to pick up the milk. As a cooperative, Burnett Dairy is owned by the farmers who ship their milk to the company. Burnett Dairy operates a cheese factory, and has won many awards for their high quality cheeses. You can order cheese from Burnett Dairy and have it delivered to you -- or your gift recipient -- via mail. For more information and to order, visit Burnett Dairy's website at
Below is Cicily, Dan's prize cow. She won an award one year as the top milk producer in the Pine County Dairy Herd Improvement Association. She gave 39,360 pounds of milk during the official 305-day testing period, and about 45,000 pounds for the whole year. That's more than 5,000 gallons!
EASTER SUNDAY SURPRISE!
Twin calves were born Sunday, April 23, 2000.
Usually only one calf is born at a time.
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