The cows at the Norling dairy farm in Beresford, S.D. are fed self-produced feed.
A family dairy farm in Beresford, South Dakota was put on display Saturday one day before June Dairy Month begins.
The Norling family just built a new stall barn on their property and held an open house to give the public a look at the dairy process.
The open house featured a tour of the barn, which holds 56 cows.
Lunch was also served.
The whole Norling family is involved in the farming operations, and it's a good chance to give the public a look at what they do.
"We just decided to do this instead of having a bunch of individual tours for people," said farmer Ted Norling. "Everybody could come on the same day, we could feed them and educate them about the dairy business."
The open house was put on by Ag United, which promotes South Dakota agriculture.
So how is business done at the Norling farm?
"It's a 365-day job," said farmer Jeff Norling.
Planting, harvesting, feeding and milking cows - eight hours of chores per day - all of it happens at the Norling's dairy farm in Beresford. And it's the only way to get the maximum output of milk.
"It works out to about 9 gallons, 8 gallons," said Jeff. "Seventy five pounds per cow."
The goal of every dairy farm is to put out the best possible product. But to have good milk, you need to keep the cows happy - and in the Norling's case, well-fed.
"We try to put up the highest-quality feed we can," said Ted. "Whatever you put into that cow is what you're going to get out."
And the feed they put into their cows is self-produced.
"It almost costs more because of the feed price," said Jeff. "Costs more than what you can buy it for. But you're raising your own stock, you know what genetics they have."
Meaning they know what their cows like to eat and how to take care of them - key knowledge for producing the best milk.
"The better care they take, the more they're going make off it," said Ted.
And that helps business, especially when the cost of milk is high.
"Right now it's good," said Jeff. "Milk's up there higher than it was, it's above feed costs, so we're making money."
But they know that things can change quick.
"The milk price will go down again," said Ted. "We just have to be prepared for it and just do the best job managing you can.
Because there are people counting on their cows.
Jeff Norling started milking cows on his dairy farm in 1981.
Jeff and Ted do most of the actual milking of the cows.
Jeff's other son Tom handles the farming of the feed for the stock.
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