AM Buffalo


Feeding 2,400 cows - Emily Lampa found out how dairy farmers get it done

"Workin' It" on a Local Farm for National Ag Week!
Posted at 3:42 PM, Mar 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-25 15:19:45-04

NORTH COLLINS, N.Y. (WKBW) — National Agriculture Week is all about educating people about where food comes from and recognizing farmers who work 365 days a year to produce food for our communities.

Each day of Ag Week 2022, AM Buffalo brought you a special edition of "Workin' It" where Emily Lampa went out to Phillips Family Farm in nearby North Collins, to show you how Western New York dairy farmers get milk from the farm to you!

One of the big jobs on a dairy farm is feeding!

Using a front end loader like a measuring cup, Farmer Dave Phillips dumps thousands of pounds of different ingredients into into a massive mixer to make feed for the cows.

The recipe is pretty specific. It was created by a bovine nutritionist.

Some of the ingredients are grown right there on the farm, such as hay and corn. Other ingredients are purchased, like soy bean meal and cotton seed.

Farmer Phillips says they also add something a little special, "They get a feed that we call chocolate feed, which is a by-product of the human food industry. If you take candy bars that are past their date...they grind them up. We feed them to cows."

After all of that is mixed together, Farmer Phillips drives it through the barn to drop it in front of the cows. They have easy access to it throughout the day. When the cows aren't getting milked or resting, the cows have freedom to roam around and return to the feeding area as they please. Each cow gets about a hundred and thirty pounds of feed a day.

Farmer Phillips says all of that is necessary so that the cow can make milk, grow their calf, maintain their body weight and their body condition.

Because cows have four stomachs, there's something pretty magical about their digesting abilities.

"Cows eat what people don't eat," explains Farmer Phillips, "like hay and corn stalks and by-products of human production. They get fed all these leftovers, and they actually turn it into product that turns out to be good and nutritious for us."