September 5, 2017 at 3:32 p.m.

A day in the life of Cullbarr Farm

Brothers beat the snow, run 80-cow dairy
Barry and Cullen’s father, Dale, comes to the farm every morning to feed the calves after stopping at two other locations where the dairy steers and replacement heifers are housed.
Barry and Cullen’s father, Dale, comes to the farm every morning to feed the calves after stopping at two other locations where the dairy steers and replacement heifers are housed.

By by Missy Mussman- | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

LOWRY, Minn. - March was starting with a vengeance as snow blanketed everything at Cullbarr Farm near Lowry, Minn., the only dairy left in Ben Wade Township. The snow piling up rapidly did nothing to keep the Anderson brothers from their daily chores.
Barry and Cullen began milking their herd of about 80 dairy cows in their double-four step up-walk through parlor at 5 a.m.
The cows step up 14 inches to their parlor stalls, and Barry and Cullen follow their wash, dry, strip and apply milking routine.
"We use hot water with a pump of udder wash to wash the cows teats prior to milking," Cullen said. "Then we use a one percent iodine as a post dip."
"Sometimes if it is below zero, we won't do a post dip," Barry said.
The Andersons didn't always milk in a parlor. When Barry and Cullen's grandpa, Bill, bought the farm in 1951, they were milking their cows in a stanchion barn. Their father, Dale, continued the family farm and raised Barry and Cullen on the farm.
As soon as Cullen graduated in 1995, he came straight to the farm.
"I enjoyed farming," Cullen said. "I liked being my own boss."
Barry followed in his brother's footsteps, and came straight to the farm after high school as well.
"We were milking 36 cows until Barry graduated from high school in 2000," Cullen said.
Cullen and Barry started to slowly grow their herd from within.
"I always said I wanted to milk 80 cows and run 2,000 acres of land," Cullen said. "We have the cow numbers, and we are close in the number of acres. We are running 1,750 acres of land."
In 2001, the Anderson brothers renovated the farm to accommodate their growing herd. They built the parlor and a Coverall hoop barn filled with 70 freestalls, using sand for bedding.
"In August of 2005, a storm had taken out our hoop barn," Barry said. "We rebuilt the barn later in November. We really like the hoop barn. It is still bright in there even on days like today."
The Andersons' herd average is around 23,000 pounds and their somatic cell count ranges from 150,000 to 180,000. Barry and Cullen credit the sand bedding for their SCC being where it is.
Between 6:30 and 7 a.m., Barry starts mixing feed for their beef and dairy herds, while Cullen finishes milking, cleans the milking units and pipeline and power washes the parlor.
The Andersons raise around 100 beef cattle on their farm. The beef herd's ration is mixed first using ground hay, sweet corn silage and dried distillers grain (DDG).
"We raise all of our own feed with the exception of DDG, soybean meal, protein mix and sweet corn silage," Barry said.
The Andersons usually sell all of their beef each year, but this year they have kept 12 to breed back as replacements.
"This is our fourth spring with the beef herd," Barry said. "I wanted beef cows because it is something different."
"It has given us diversity on the farm," Cullen said. "It is good to be diversified, it gives the potential for a different source of income."
While Barry finishes up feeding the beef herd and starts mixing feed for the heifers and Cullen starts to move snow Dale comes over to start feeding calves.
"I usually stop at the other farms to check on the steers and youngstock before I come here," Dale said. "I had up to 25 calves drinking milk out of a pail, but we don't have that many now since the boys don't usually calve during January, February and into March to avoid the cold."
"While Barry was in Montana one winter, we had nine cows calve in," Cullen said. "All of them had frozen teats, calves were not surviving, so we said enough of that."
"The SCC was through the roof too," Barry said. "The calves also take off better when it isn't cold."
After feeding calves their milk, Dale gets the homegrown calf feed from the bin near the polydome calf hutches. He feeds the older calves the grain mixture and the younger calves get calf starter.
Dale still enjoys coming to the farm to help his sons.
"It is fun to walk in the barn on a winter day and see the cows all lined up," Dale said. "I can't help but be proud of my boys. They like to work hard."
Before Dale started to milk cows with his father, Bill, he was in the Army working on helicopters.
"I liked the cows," Dale said. "I still have the paperwork from the Army. There is always a question on there asking if you are going to stay in the Army. Mine says: plans to go home and farm with his dad. I followed in my dad's footsteps."
Once calf chores are done, Dale takes off for his daily trip to town to have coffee with friends.
Cullen is still moving snow, and Barry is finishing up feeding the heifers while the milking herd's ration is mixing. Barry mentioned he mixes the dairy herd's feed once, but feeds twice a day saving him time in the evening.
The TMR for the dairy herd consists of dry hay, haylage, corn silage, earlage, soybean meal and DDG.
"The TMR feed is great. There is no other way to feed," Barry said. "We used to feed small squares of hay and straight silage. They licked up the silage, but wouldn't always eat up the hay. This way it is all mixed in, and they don't waste anything."
As morning chores have been wrapped up, Cullen and Barry head to the house for breakfast with Cullen's wife, Angie, and their sons, Tate (5) and Tavin (4 months).
Angie also works on the farm. She hauls straw, does bookwork, does tillage in the spring, runs the second combine for the wheat and bean fields during harvest and hauls silage and haylage.
"I fill in where I can," Angie said.
Even though the boys are young, they have been active in the farm as well. Tate helps bed the calves during the summer time, and Tavin hauled his first load of big square bales of straw at six weeks of age with Angie.
Besides their normal work on Cullbarr Farm, the Andersons haul straw that is sold and purchased, spray all their own crops and sell Wensman seed.
"There are lots of irons in the fire," Angie said. "It's always busy."
That afternoon, Barry and Cullen spent a lot of time moving snow. Cullen was leaving that evening to head out to Montana for a snowmobiling trip.
"We go for the snow to snowmobile," Cullen said. "Barry and I never go at the same time, so one of us is always here."
"It's a different kind of snow," Barry said with a chuckle. "We don't have to move it."
As Cullen was preparing for his trip, Barry took a cornstalk round bale with the skid loader and traveled down the road to a farm their dairy steers are housed at to put some bedding down and deposit more grain in the feeder.
He then heads back to the farm where he will meet up with a young man that comes to help milk most evenings and start milking by 5 p.m. After milking is done, Barry feeds the cows the rest of the feed in the mixer and heads back home for the evening.
"We've been milking cows together for about 13 years," Barry said. "We always find something to do. It's fun."
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