With this winters cold snap and snowstorms, it has been challenging for many dairy farmers.
Bob Hintz is a dairy farmer from flasher who owns up to 120 cows, and they all keep him on his toes this time of year.
“We have to be very careful to make sure the cows are bedded properly and kept warm because they can’t be outside,” said Hintz.
That’s because of frostbite issues and newborn calves are most at risk.
“They get cold very fast imagine coming out of the shower and going outside without any clothes on. That’s what these baby calves feel like when they hit the ground,” said Hintz.
They can easily get stressed out which results in less milk.
Cows aren’t the only ones affected during this time of the season. It’s hard on dairy farmers, especially when it comes to purchasing feed and making sure the electricity stays on.
“They always eat more and we are going to need a good summer to get feed put up. This long winter has been hard on the hay supply,” said Hintz.
Dairy farmers also have to make sure their water is not frozen, the equipment works and more. Resulting in longer hours and more money spent.
“Our day usually starts 5 or 6 in the morning and may go to midnight depending on the days. When the winter storms hit, we get the roads open so that the milk truck can be here every other day. 18 to 20 hours a day are very common,” said Hintz.
It’s a job that has its downs and ups.
“These cows become part of our family, part of our life. We are with them every day. There is not a cow in the barn that we don’t know if someone would tell me their number, I know exactly who they are and what they look like and how they act,” said Hintz.
Bob Hintz is one of three in North Dakota to have the Lely Astronaut.
It’s an automatic milking robot that makes the milking process easier, faster more comfortable for cows.
Hintz says each robot is able to milk 60 to 65 cows in a 24 hour period, three times a day. And the reason for the robots is because of the lack of dairy farmers in North Dakota.
“The dairy industry in North Dakota is struggling. But, I believe it is an industry that will never go away because milk is something that everybody needs. We produce a lot of products, we create many jobs and if our industry went away then there would be an lt more unemployment,” said Hintz.
Hintz has four robots and been using them for two months.