|milking cows barn area|
The farm was very clean, and there was no odor. They use a state-of-the-art manure mangaement and recycling system whereby manure is used as a natural fertilizer at nearby farms. They try to reduce their environmental "hoof-print" through water stewardship, reduced fuel consumption, responsible packaging, and manure/methane management . The farm keeps a closed herd, meaning no new cows are introduced to the farm. The cows are artificially inseminated, and all calves are raised from these cows to ensure the highest quality dairy stock. The night before we toured the farm, 19 calves were born.
|sheltered calf nursery area|
The most interesting part of the tour was the milking barn. Milking goes on for 21 hours a day. It starts at 5:00 am and ends at 2:00 am the next morning. The cows are milked twice a day. A lead cow moves her group into the milking area. Each cow is showered before milking, they get into place, their udders are wiped with iodine and then dried with a towel. A separate, clean towel is used for each cow at each milking. That's a lot of towels and laundry. Then the milking apparatus is put on and milking commences. When milking is completed, the milking apparatus drops off automatically and the cows walk out of the milking barn. All the cows seemed very used to the routine and knew what to do.
|lead cow moving her group into milking area|
|feed storage area|
Organic feed for the organic herd is grown on their own pasture. Shamrock Farms is the first dairy in Arizona to receive the USDA organic certification. The organic milk goes from the cows to the grocery in less than three days.
cow with ear tags