Here are a few notes from the family, in their own words:
a few things that we like about our setup are:
-chilling our milk in a water bath utilizing rubbermaid bins inside a chest freezer and plugging the chest freezer into a external thermostat to keep the water bath just above freezing.
-milking with a machine
-having water plumbed into the barn and having a small hot water heater
-having such a wonderful cow from such wonderful people (jay/michelle family hill farm)
a few things that we would want to be different:
-smaller sleeping quarters for reese. so clean up would not be such a big job.
-different bedding options. we are pretty limited to straw.
-combination of smaller sleeping quarters and wood shaving bedding would be ideal.
-a heated insulated barn.
-a floor with a drain in it.
per month average we spend $415 (or $435 with monthly medical savings):
for the past 6 months we’ve been spending close to $600 a month and more, but it’ll average out the next 6 months.
220 on hay and alfalfa
125 on grain (organic)
25 on straw/bedding
25 on supplies (filters, paper towels, wipes, dip for teets, ointment etc)
20 on medical (AI, milk testing, oils etc)
we just bought 120 bales of hay (3tons of first cutting local) for $1k. that should last through summer. we have little pasture. reese gets over an acre of pasture in the summer but we still supplement with several flakes of hay a day when she is dry (no alfalfa when they are dry, or grain for that matter)
we bought 5 tons of alfalfa (112bales) for $1413 (and had it tested and it is GREAT quality 22% protein) and that should last until summer
so that makes:
our use of alfalfa 10 months out of the year (2 months reese is dry) and approximately 11 bales a month, so about a bale every three days.
our use of grass hay 12 months out of the year , 10 bales a month, so almost a bale every three days (these bales are smaller than the alfalfa bales)… we feed more alfalfa than hay right now.
if you have pasture you are in a much better position for cutting cost on hay prices.
and, remember if you breed three months after calving, you have two months a year that your cow is dry. so, you are still incurring costs and not getting any milk.
the monthly average does not include emergency/extra medical expenses. for example; we have had to breed reese twice this year, plus have the AI tech out a couple other times to check for heat, plus give reese estrogen to get her heat regulated. that for example adds over $200 in medical expenses. last year we put her on pasture without hay supplementation which led to a magnesium deficiency which would have cost more to have the vet out but thankfully we knew some dairy folks who came over with a bolus gun and helped me give her 8 cmpk (calcium, mag, phos pills). etc so, you could add a medical savings of $15-20.00 to the monthly budget and that would help.
the monthly a√erage does not include all the start up supplies:
here are a few things that you need etc:
Jars (azure, $4each including lid roughly for gallon)
Filters (feed store or azure)
Milking system (unless you milk by hand, price varies)
Wipes (country store, chlorahexadine wipes)
Hoof trimming once a year (20)
Minerals (dry cow and lactating cow, complies with organic)
AI once a year ($60; clyde at select sires)
Emergency supplies (meds on hand)
Bedding (straw, sawdust)
Local Hay (we get our hay from westlyn feed, by the ton)
Grain (in season farm, 336.50 a 1/2 ton)