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Becky's Internship at Luck-E Holsteins in America

Becky's American Adventures & Internship Begin

Becky Begins Her Internship In America at Luck-E Holstiens

After eight hours of flying and four hours of waiting in customs, I finally made it over to America ! I walked out of the airport doors into a roasting 27°C and was greeted by a stretch limo that had been sent to take me to the farm. I first met Matt Engel one of the Engel brothers of Luck-E Holsteins, who showed me around the house before leaving me to settle in.

I was up for 5am the next morning to milk the cows, we are milking around 150 cows, taking around three hours in a 38-stall barn with 19 milkers. It took me a few days to get used to where everything was and what needed feeding and bedding but I soon got used to their routine.

There are about 30 calves in calf hutches, they are fed milk replacer every morning and evening together with a corn mix. A few days after I arrived they travelled a 500 mile round trip to pick up 12 IVF calves which cost around $25,000 to rear. We were then taken to another farm down the road where they rear the in-calf heifers which they call ‘springers’ and also dry cows. These are fed protein pellets and maize silage.

I feel settled now which is good, Next it was time to start bringing in the maize silage, the weather was good for about a week or so and then things were about to change so we needed to get it in before the bad weather came. As happens when you race the weather, we didn’t manage to get it all in so that will be another day.

We are now getting ready for classification of the cows which involves my favourite bit of the job, clipping! In this case, the whole herd. We started preparing the cows for classification this week. Classification of dairy cattle provides an unbiased, accurate evaluation of your cattle, helping to give a clear understanding of each animal's strengths and weaknesses. It compares your herd's type pattern to breed averages and defines type trait trends from one generation to the next. Information received from classification can be used to make important mating decisions and identify the most profitable and valuable animals in your herd. Preparation involves clipping off all the hair on the cows so they keep clean and look smarter, it also makes them eat more. The hair on the cows udder also gets clipped off, again keeping them cleaner and enabling easier viewing for scoring.  On classification day we were up at 3.30am, we had to milk the ones which were not being scored but leave milk on cows that were. Leaving milk on a cow shows the size and capacity of the udder. We classified just over 50 cows and had a successful day.

We then had college students from around America come to see the farm and have a training judging day. This consisted of judging four different classes with four cows in each class. Again just as we practice our stock judging skills in the UK it helps build up a picture of desirable traits which enable young breeders to understand how to get maximum potential from their stock. We had a brilliant day and learnt lots.

The farm was going to be very busy for the next few days as the tours began, people from all around the world came to visit the farm. They were shown around the heifers, cows, calves and dry cows. It was lovely meeting new people and getting involved.

Next stop….Madison, World Dairy Expo !

Source Details

Becky Walters, Lifton Mill

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