Newspaper Page Text
A2O-Lancaster Farming, Saturday, June 6, 1998
Mifflin Co. Correspondent
BELLEVILLE (Mifflin Co.)
“This is how our farm looked 30
years ago,” Johnny B. Peachey
says while holding an aerial
photograph of Peach-Vale Farm,
located, between Reedsville and
Belleville in Mifflin County.
Compared to the Dairy of Distinc
tion it is today, the farm in the
photograph is missing a second
house and a lot of white paint. “I
wonder what it’ll look like in an
other 30 years.”
Johnny B. might not be able to
predict how Peach-Vale will look
structurally 20 years from now,
but he can be sure of one thing.
The conservative approach to
business that has served him so
well in the past will do the same
for his son Robert. Robert started
working with his father in 1986
and shares many of his father’s
views on managing a farm.
“We’re slow to jump on any
miracle products,” Johnny B. ex
plains. “Feed by-products, pre
servatives, BST it all costs
money and cuts into profits. Our
cows are already milking good.
We don’t want them under more
The Peacheys own 14S tillable
acres (plus rent an additional 25
acres) and milk 90 registered Hol
steins in a 76-tie stall bam for a
23,319-pound herd average. The
farm has come a long way since
Johnny 8., grandfather (also John
ny B.) rented it in the early 1900 s.
He rented it for 30 years. His fa
ther, John E. Peachey, was bom
there and rented it from 1932 until
he purchased it in 1954.
Johnny B. joined the farming
operation in 1968, named it
Peach-Vale, and started register
ing the herd. At that dme, the bam
housed 40 tie stalls. In 1973, 24
more stalls were added. In 1988,
Johnny B. added 12 more stalls
and built a manure pit
Robert now farms in partner
ship with his father but began as a
wage earner after spending one
year on the western wheat harvest.
He has purchased cows over the
Johnny B. Peachey holds a framed notice of his grandfa
ther’s public sale dated 1932.
Fourth Generation To Farm Peach-Vale
past nine years, examining pedi
grees and studying cow families.
Last year, he purchased half the
herd. Robert lives in the main
farmhouse with his wife Lisa and
children Chelsie, 8, Zachary. 6,
and Taylor, 2.
While Johnny B foresaw the
marketing advantages of regis
tered cows, Robert is the one who
is in charge of the herd’s breeding
“My goal is for a good type
herd. It’s better now than it was
five years ago. We have more old
er cows in the herd, and we’re not
culling as many cows as we used
to. The udders are holding up bet
ter because we’re using more type
bulls,” Robert explains.
Robert is building the herd
around five main bull families.
He’s seeing a more uniform line of
cows with good udders, feet, and
legs. Neither Johnny B. nor Rob
ert have any desire to expand the
herd, but Robert says he wouldn’t
mind merchandising a couple of
cows each year and sees some ex
tra profit in selling fresh or bred
heifers. “I’d like to flush a couple
of deep-pedigreed cows and get a
couple of Excellent cows in the
bams,” Robert reflects.
Robert manages Peach-Vale’s
feeding program too. Because of
the tie stalls, the Peachey’s can
feed each cow individually. The
cows in the 70-pound group get
one-half com silage and one-half
haylage, two to three pounds of
baled hay the first thing in the
morning, 18 pounds of high mois
ture com, and seven pounds of 36
percent protein. Anything above
80 pounds gets 20 percent top
dress. The Peacheyks used to feed
one-third com silage and two
thirds haylage, but have changed
their ration for a number of rea
sons better herd health, less hay
acres, and the availability of more
com silage and high moisture com
storage over haylage storage.
While Robert oversees the feed
ing and breeding programs, John
ny B. manages the crops 95
acres of com and 70 aeries of an
alfalfa and orchard grass mix.
Taylor, Zach, and Chelsie Peachey (on the four-wheeler) are the fifth generation at
Peach-Vale Farm near Belleville. Johnny B. (left) and son Robert are in partnership.
Robert’s wife, Lisa, helps feed calves and keeps the farm records. The family dog
managed to get In the picture too.
Managing 90 registered Holstelns In a 76-tie stall barn enables Johnny B. and Rob
ert to feed and care for the animals Individually. Johnny B. and Robert are Joined by
Zach, Chelsle, and Taylor.
Johnny B. believes good forages
are the key to profit.
Lisa feeds the calves each
morning, keeps the books, and
milks occasionally, and except for
Johnny B.’s niece, they hire no ex
tra help. While no major changes
are planned for the operation,
Robert would like to install a sta
tionary mixer, a bunk feeder, and
tunnel ventilation in the bam to re
duce the noise.
“We’re both picky,” says Rob
ert. “We work well together. If
you hire someone, you get into
Social Security and workman’s
comp. And you need someone
who already knows how to milk.
Sometimes it’s easier to do it
yourself. Maybe we’ll get some
part-time help this summer.”
As it is, each gets one Sunday
evening off a month. But Johnny
B. still sees the everyday advant
age to farming and running your
“There is less physical work
than years ago. But there is just as
much stress if not more. You’re
dealing with a bigger operation
9nd you have to stay on top of
things. You have to have good
nerves. I like managing my own
business rather than managing
help. This way, I always have a
job; I’m never laid off; I’m my
Peach-Vale Farm, a Dairy
of Distinction, Is located In
the heart of Big Valley, mid
way between Reedsvllle and
Belleville, Mifflin County.
own boss; and I’m not working the
hours someone else is telling me I
have to work. Whatever work we
do, we reap the benefits.
Mifflin Co. Correspondent
Gail Strode, a Lancaster Farm
ing correspondent for die past B'A
years, enjoys highlighting the peo
ple and events in Mifflin, Hunt
ingdon, Centre and Juniata coun
ties. She writes advertising for the
"County Observer" and writes
features and brochures for the Big
Valley Area Business Associa
tion. She just completed a
400-level Copyediting course at
Gail graduated from Penn State
with a degree in Agricultural Eco
nomics and Rural Sociology. Gail,
'her husand, Dennis, and children
Evan, 14, and Aaron, 10, live on
their 27-acre farm near Belleville.