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

A day in the life of the Klug family

Jan. 5 brings unusually warm weather
Matt preps a cow during morning milking on Jan. 5. The Klugs’ herd, which is milked in two shifts in a 50-cow tiestall barn, consists mostly of registered Brown Swiss. photo by Krista M. Sheehan
Matt preps a cow during morning milking on Jan. 5. The Klugs’ herd, which is milked in two shifts in a 50-cow tiestall barn, consists mostly of registered Brown Swiss. photo by Krista M. Sheehan

By By Brista M. Sheehan- | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

SPRING GROVE, Minn. - Wearing short-sleeved shirts and light sweatshirts, the Klugs went about their daily chores on Jan. 5. The record-high temperatures in the low 50s made the January day a pleasant one for farm work at Cozy Valley Dairy Farm.
Steve Klug farms with his sons, Darrel and Matt, along with his son-in-law, Scott, near Spring Grove, Minn., where they milk 103 cows. Although each of their wives - Ann, Krista, Myriah and Julie - works off the farm, they also help with chores on the dairy whenever they are able.
"When it's 30 below and snowing I'd rather have a desk job, but this winter we haven't had to deal with that yet," Darrel Klug said.
The day started out like many others with Steve going out to the barn at about 5 a.m. to push in feed, scrape down the barn alley and prepare for milking. Darrel and Matt arrive a little later to start milking by 6 a.m. The Klugs milk their herd in a 50-cow tiestall barn in two shifts. Half the herd is housed in this barn while the rest is housed in a sandbedded freestall barn built in 1992.
"We used to use lime, but it compacted like concrete in the stalls so we thought sand worked much better," Matt said.
Almost the entire herd consists of registered Brown Swiss with a handful of registered Holsteins brought in mostly by Myriah. Steve's dad started in the Brown Swiss business and the next two generations followed in his footsteps.
"They have higher components, so it means a lot more money in the bank," Steve said about why they like the Brown Swiss cows.
The Klugs herd currently has an average of 4.3 percent for fat and 3.5 percent for protein with a rolling herd average of about 19,000 pounds of milk. In addition to producing a bigger milk check, Brown Swiss cows have a nice temperament and durable feet and legs, Matt said.
"I like the registered business period, whether it's Brown Swiss or Holsteins," Matt said.
He said having registered cattle is more fun, allowing them to participate in shows and attend meetings.
"The extended family atmosphere and the relationships you create in the registered cattle business makes it a worthwhile experience rather than just milking cows," Matt said.
The warm weather wasn't the only aspect that made the day different. Steve, who usually handles the calf chores, left early on Jan. 5 for a Swiss Valley Cooperative board meeting. Many of the Klugs participate in some sort of agricultural organization.
Matt recently finished his term on the board for the National Brown Swiss Association, Myriah is on the board for the Houston County American Dairy Association, and Darrel is a coach for the Houston County dairy judging team. The family also allows 4-H members who don't live on farms to lease their animals to show at the county fair.
"We are all active voices for the dairy industry," Myriah said. "We put a lot of emphasis on youth events."
Steve's absence on Jan. 5 also meant others in the family had to step up to do his chores.
"That's the nice thing about having a family farm. Everyone knows how to do all the chores and they know what needs to be done," Darrel said.
The family aspect of the farm is one Steve is happy to see.
"It's always been my desire to get them (my children) started farming. The farm is here if they want to continue it, but they can leave and do what they want," he said. "We always need more farmers. I don't care if they have a big or small farm."
Steve and Ann bought the farm in 1972. In 1992, Matt returned home to the dairy after attending college at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. Darrel attended college in Calmar, Iowa, for ag mechanics and worked at Mabel Farm Equipment for six years before returning to the farm in 2001.
After Matt and Darrel finished milking at about 8:30 a.m., Darrel took over his dad's calf duties for the morning, while Matt let the cows out and scraped the tiestall barn. The brothers had to step up again when their brother-in-law, Scott, had to attend to an emergency that morning. Scott usually scrapes the freestall barn and mixes feed for the animals.
The warm weather made the daily task of hauling manure a lot easier for the Klugs. After a few other tasks around the farm, Matt and Darrel went home in the early afternoon for a rest before evening chores started at 4 p.m.
When the two arrived back to the farm that evening, the routine repeated, milking the two shifts of cows. By 5:30 p.m., Myriah stopped by the farm to help and chat after her day of work. Steve returned home from his board meeting by 6 p.m. and helped finish the rest of the chores. Although everyone agreed the warm weather was unusual for January, it made the day enjoyable for the most part.[[In-content Ad]]


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