Dairy Barn and Animals
Dairy farming allowed the farmers in Western North Carolina to build wealth without damaging their lands. There were many benefits associated with dairy cattle both financially and on the farm itself. Farmers would need to provide healthy and spacious conditions in order to reap the benefits of dairy cattle and farms, making this type of farming exemplary of the depth of knowledge and commitment involved with agriculture.
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In the year 1946 there were a recorded 361,000 dairy cows on North Carolina farms, producing a yearly average of 693 million quarts of milk to be sold. The cumulative value of these at the time was $39,856,000. A farmer did not necessarily need to purchase a large herd and the accompanying equipment, storage, land, etc. The purchase of a few high-producing cows created a solid foundation for the farmer to begin profiting.
Dairy cows must live in healthy conditions entailing a clean environment and sterile stainless-steel equipment to ensure the milk they produce does not become contaminated with dirt or disease. Therefore, a key aspect of dairy farming is barns which must provide proper lighting, ventilation, space, and cleanliness for cattle health and production to be of the best quality.
Dairy farmers often kept their own records on feed used, size of pasture(s) available, cleanliness of barns and equipment, among many others. This was often necessary for farmers who planned to review and improve farm practices. Cattle testing is another important feature of dairy farming. A ‘tester’ would visit the farm monthly to collect data on milk production/quality, butterfat production, and feed costs. This service would have - on average - cost $4.00 for a herd of thirty cows in as well as board and lodging for the tester during his or her stay at the farm. The tester’s records helped farmers edit their own records and plans for which cows to cull, feed amounts based on each cow’s production rates, and to grow their profits while reducing costs.