Farmers Feeding the Flock Update

Greensburg, Indiana –The Greensburg Community Bread of Life this year has a corn field that will be harvested as corn silage in late August or early September. This year’s 30-acre field is provided by Hulsbosch Dairy Farm located in southern Decatur County. Roel Hulsbosch is pleased with the good stand provided by the germination of the seed and said the field withstood the heavy downpours this summer with only a very few drowned out spots. The corn is in the tassling state and the stalks are big and strong with good green color. “We are quite pleased with the field so far and hope for a good harvest of corn silage.”

The harvest will involve chopping the cornstalk and the ear of corn before it starts drying down. The chopper is a magnificent piece of equipment that goes at a very rapid pace through the field, chopping the stalk and all into pieces less than ¾ inches. The chopper fills silage wagons as it harvests. The wagons then haul the silage where it is unloaded and packed down and covered with plastic to keep the oxygen out and moisture in, helping fermentation. Harvesting and taking care of the corn silage properly will provide for better digestibility for the dairy cows and in turn they will produce more milk.

One acre of corn silage will produce about 45,000 pounds. A cow will eat about 45 pounds of corn silage a day. Therefore, one acre of corn silage can feed 2-3 cows for a year.

Farmers Feeding the Flock coordinator, Merrill Smith, said the FFF project has three objectives:

  1. To utilize a local resource to help increase funds for the Bread of Life.
  2. To help educate our community about the cost and risk of crop farming.
  3. To promote agriculture in Decatur County as agriculture truly is the “Bread of Life.”

This year’s field inputs, including seed, nitrogen, row fertilizer, planting, insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, field tillage, crop insurance and harvesting of corn silage, comes to a cost of about $380 per acre. The Bread of Life is now accepting donations to sponsor an acre from businesses, organizations, and individuals. Your donation can be made out to the Bread of Life, PO Box 42, Greensburg, IN 47240

Feeding time at Hulsbosch Dairy Farm.

“A bonus this year,” according to Smith, “is that we also get to learn about dairy farming compliments of the Hulsbosch Family. In a recent tour, given by Roel Hulsbosch, we were amazed at the efficiency, the technical capabilities and the comfort and care provided for each cow.” Hulsbosch Dairy milk 6200 cows three times a day. The average cow produces about 93 pounds of milk per day or over 10 gallons per day. Their best cow produces around 155 pounds of milk a day or about 18 gallons. They have two milking parlors. “The milking parlor we visited could milk 60 cows every 8 minutes!” states Smith. They sell about 12 semi loads of milk per day; each carrying approximately 50,000 pounds of milk each. However current milk prices paid to the dairy farmers is down despite the rise in price at the grocery store.

Hulsbosch Dairy employs many people. There are five veterinarians on staff and one is always at the farm. They have six employees that artificially inseminate all the cows to breed them. The have a birthing parlor as they will have 5 to 20 baby calves born each day. “We even got to see one born while on our tour,” states Smith.

They have employees working in the milk parlors, feed mixing and hauling, maintenance, mowing, record keeping and many other areas. In total, they employ 60-65 workers.

They are inspected by the Decatur County Health Department and the State Health Department numerous times a year. Milk is handled by milking machines, weighed as the identified cow is milked and then piped through filters, cooled and piped in the semi tanks. The entire process is clean, efficient and records of each cow are computerized.

Automated misters and fans keep the cows comfortable in the barns. Cows are bedded in their sleeping areas with sand and fed three times a day, with access to water all the time. Roel explained that top priority is given to cow comfort and health as that results in better milk production.

Melissa Foist, Executive Director of the Bread of Life, would like to give a special thank you to the Hulsbosch Dairy farm for providing this year’s 30-acre field, tour and information on dairy farming. “They expressed interest in doing our Farmers Feeding the Flock project because they wanted to give back to the community and help people in need. They also like the idea of providing information on crop farming and especially dairy farming. They realize how important agriculture is to our community and the world.”

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