Lancaster farming. (Lancaster, Pa., etc.) 1955-current, December 30, 2000, Image 22

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    A22-Lancaster Firming, Saturday, December 30, 2000
Bowman Family: ‘We Just Do
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mans’ families.
Said Gary, “we receive a lot of
help from our families. Both
sides pitch in, either with milk
ing or the fieldwork. They help
make it all work.”
Gary has seen a big difference
in the industry in his years of
farming. “It is changing fast and
I don’t know how to feel about
that. It’s more of a business,
which takes some of the fun out
of it, but it’s different for every
farmer’s situation.”
Regarding trends of the busi
ness, Bowman has noticed more
fluctuation in milk price. “The
margin of error isn’t what is
used to be. In order to make a
living, it’s a more detailed busi
ness than in the past.
“The trend is to the bigger
herds and expansion. I don’t see
doing that myself, but it does
seem like that is the trend. It
seems like you have to keep
milking more cows to make a
living. For us, instead of milking
more cows, we went to three
times a day that was our ex
pansion. I still like small herds,
tiestail barns, and the individual
attention I can give to each
No Trade Secrets
According to Gary, milking
three times a day is a large
factor in the herd’s low somatic
cell count, as the extra milking
takes stress off of the cow and
the udder. The cows are milked
at 5 a.m., 1 p.m., and 8 p.m.
“The biggest issue is labor,”
said Gary. “We have five people
we can call if we want to go any
where, so we’ve been fortunate
that way.
“I think that in lowering the
somatic cell count, three times a
day milking has made the big
gest difference. I’m not here to
push it (milking three times a
day). You have to want to do it,
it’s not for everyone, but we
have seen a difference.”
“If a cow is a heavy milker
and gets milked two times a day,
you’ll have a better chance of
mastitis if she’s leaking all day
and laying in her stall,” said
The rolling herd average is
25,000 pounds, with 994 pounds
of fat and more than 750 pounds
protein. The rolling average ceil
count is 70,000.
“The first thing people always
ask is, ‘What is your secret,
what’s the trick?’ said Gary.
“The second thing they want to
know is what kind of teat dip we
use. We’ve tried all different
The brand, according to .
Jenny, is not the trade secret; Da,r y P roducers - their spouses employment tax reports, and
however using teat dip is im- ar| d anyone else who is interested determining cost of production
portant. The couple uses a basic m sharpening their computerized per unit. Participants will receive
iodine dip. accounting skills are encouraged a sample file with a chart of
Gary believes that teat dip is to attend a four-part training accounts that is setup and ready to
relied upon too heavily. “You series designed to improve and use for their farm,
can’t dip a cow and then let her standardize dairy farm accounting Tim Beck, Regional Dairy
lay in mud and expect the teat procedures. The hands-on Program Coordinator, will
dip to take care of everything. computer training sessions will be instruct two days of the workshop
As far as a secret or trick, there offered in four counties focusing on specific computer
is none. throughout the Capital Region skills and knowledge required to
However keeping the cows including: Lancaster, York, operate the accounting system.
clean an not emg em ic Franklin and Adams counties. Participants will practice geneial
down in a dirty stall is key, said „ 4 v K . , 6 , ,
• 33 Basic computerized farm program operation including data
Routinely budgeting time for accounting concepts will be entry, setting up the program and
stall maintenance is another demonstrated using Quickßooks printing reports. Specific topics to
reason for a lower cell count. Pro for Windows. Instruction be addressed include;
“We try to just keep the stalls includes basic operation of the • Introduction to Software
cleaned and bedded every day. accounting system, special dairy • Setting Up the Program
There is no real trick to it, we farm accounting issues, entering • Basic Operation of the
just make sure that we do,” said feed costs, and enterprise Accounting System
Gary. accounting. Report • Generating Reports
Bedding, while not a major demonstrations include cash and Brad Hilty, Dairy Alliance
factor, also contribute to accrual profit-and-los§ statements, Information Management .
The Best Job We Can’
Mark, 2, makes friends with the farm’s resident cat,
some trouble with mastitis,”
said Gary. “The vet recom
mended we go to softwood shav
ings, so that’s what we did and
we like them better.”
The Bowmans also practice
careful herd management to
keep somatic cell counts low. “If
we have a cow that’s consist
ently high, she usually ends up
going for beef, even if she’s a
good milker,” said Jenny.
Fresh air and ranging over the
pasture also gives the Bowman’s
herd a health boost.“We turn
the milk cows out in the summer
overnight and in winter for ex
ercise in the morning if the
weather’s cooperating. I’m a big
fan of giving the cows exercise. I
think that’s important,” Gary
Workday Focus
Although field work takes
time from the Bowman’s work
day, “most of our day is spent
working around cattle,” he said.
They breed 100 percent AI.
“I used to breed the cows
myself, but when we went to
milking thee times a day we got
busier, so now we have a techni
“We focus on the udders,
that’s the first thing we look at.
We also look at the feet and legs
and overall cow. We breed more
for type than for milk, since we
want to breed for a cow that’s
going to last for many lactations.
“We feel that with nutrition
and milking, we can get milk out
of them since we don’t breed
straight for milk. We don’t sac
rifice type for milk.
Dairy Farm Accounting - Computer Training
“Getting milk boils down to
good forage. If you don’t have
good forage, it’s tough going.
That’s what we found.”
Producers can make up a
good ration, said Gary, “but if
the forage didn’t test well it’s
harder to get good production
out of the ration.”
The Bowmans buy shelled
corn and a concentrate, but
grow the remaining feed on the
farm’s 100 tillable acres.
Gary said, “We do have a lot
of help with the fieldwork, and
we get some custom work done.
I enjoy fieldwork, but the cows
more. After a while, I’d sooner
be in the bam.
“We also spend a lot of time
with our dry cows, and we try
not to neglect them,” said Gary.
As soon as a cow is dry, the Bow
mans put her out on their 20-
acre pasture.
“It seems to be a good, clean
environment for the cow. It is up
on a hill, so there are no mud
holes. I found that to really help.
I also vaccinate the dry cows
with a J 5 vaccine.”
They noticed more mastitis
problems in the winter than in
the summer when the cows are
on the pasture more often.
The couple has also had suc
cess with double-dosage dry cow
treatments. “If a cow calves and
is consistently high in cell counts
for her first lactation, over 3.5
cell count, when I dry her off I’ll
give her two instead of one dry
cow tube per quarter. But some
cows are just consistently high,’’
said Gary.
Gary takes care of the morning feeding. “I enjoy field
work, but the cows more. After a while, I’d sooner be in the
barn,” he said.
Jenny hangs up the milkers in preparation for one of the
three-times-a-day milkings at the farm.
The Bowmans make sure to
run an antibiotic test on all the
fresh cows’ milk before shipping
Finding Fulfillment
The opportunity to put down
roots keeps the Bowman family
at Four Leaf Acres. The couple
is not looking to expand or leave
the farm, where they are “pretty
content,” Gary said. “We’ve
moved too many times already.
We don’t want to move again.”
“We like this farm and we
have a good relationship with
our landlord. We are also thank
ful for our good neighbors,” said
accounting practices during two
days of the course. To properly
analyze and benchmark financial
information, producers need to
consistently categorize and record
transactions regardless of the
accounting software used to
maintain farm records. Working
with industry financial leaders
throughout Pennsylvania, Brad
has developed a standardized
chart of accounts to record dairy
information m a consistent
mannei. During two days of the
program, participants will learn to
use this chart of accounts and will
receive mstiuction on developing
and mterpietmg reports.
Topics to be covered include:
• Standardized Chart of
• Understanding Financial
jrj K T t ’ , * T r. r
Although dairy farming may
be demanding, the work also
offers fulfillment. “There’s defi
nitely satisfaction in it,” he said.
“You get out of it what you put
into it. I do enjoy cows and
working with cows. I guess
farming has always been a chal
lenge to me. You could say it’s in
our blood. As with any job, there
are times when I wonder why
I’m doing it, but being able to
raise our family on a farm is im
portant to us. It teaches them a
good work ethic and that not ev
erything in life goes as planned.
The fact is, we enjoy working
with cows.”
• Enterprise Accounting
• Benchmarking and
Analyzing Data
All sessions are conducted
from 9:30 AM to 3.00 PM.
Locations and dates are as
January 15, 19, 23, 26,
Lancaster County Extension
January 22, 25, 29, Feb. 2,
York County Extension Office
February 5,7, 9, 12. Adams
County Extension Office.
February 19, 21, 23, 26,
Franklin County Extension Office
Registration fee for the four
day sessions is $75 for each
participant. Lunch is on your
own. Space is limited and
registrations will be accepted on a
first-come basis. To register,
contact the Customer Service
desk at the York County
Extension Office, 112 Pleasant
Acres Road, York PA 17402.
Telephone 717-840-7408, FAX
717-755-5968 or email Tim Becl^
, ~, r *