September 5, 2017 at 3:32 p.m.
Peter and Stacy Salzl - along with their 10-month-old daughter, Kaylee - own an operate Salzl Blue Power Farm near Albany, Minn., in a corporation they formed with Peter's father, Lloyd, in 2004. On July 7, the family was joined by Lloyd and Peter's three nephews - Jeff Salzl (21), Kyle Weinmann (18) and Skyler Salzl (4) - to get the day's work done.
Life on the Salzl farm July 7 began at 4:40 a.m. when Peter (31) and Stacy (28) - who also works part time as a veterinary technician in Albany - went to the barn to begin morning chores, which included cleaning the mangers and feeding the 75-cow milking herd. By 5:30 a.m., the two were milking with eight automatic take-off units in their 70-cow tiestall barn.
"I always liked dairying, even when I was younger," Peter said of dairy farming.
By 7 a.m., milking was complete, and while Peter washed the milking equipment, Stacy fed milk to their 22 young calves. Then, it was to the house for breakfast at 7:30.
By 8 a.m., Peter and Stacy were back outside, along with Kaylee. Hoof trimming, repairing equipment, baling and cutting hay were all on the schedule for the day.
Hoof trimming is done every three to four months on the Salzl farm, Peter said. When the hoof trimmer arrived at 8:30 a.m. on July 7, Peter and Stacy - with help from Skyler - had the 15 cows to be trimmed separated from the herd and ready to go. They worked to push cows through the chutes as Kaylee watched from her stroller.
"Even Kaylee's helping," Peter said, laughing, as Kaylee waved her hands at the cows.
Lloyd (75) was also on the farm helping, but was limited in what he did due to an injured hand. Last fall, while he was combining, his right hand got caught and was taken off. He spent the next 21 days in the hospital, where doctors were able to reattach Lloyd's hand, and has since been in physical therapy. His hand is expected to make a 90 percent recovery.
Although he is at the farm every day, Lloyd said he misses not being able to help with everything.
"It's hard when I can't do something myself and I have to call Peter to do it," Lloyd said. "But I'm glad I can still be involved (on the farm) and help out where I can."
Jeff and Kyle arrived at the dairy around 10:30 a.m. and were put to work doing maintenance on equipment. Jeff - who grew up in St. Martin, recently graduated from St. Cloud Technical College with a degree in land surveying and civil engineering and also works as a bartender in St. Martin - welded a part on the rake. Kyle, a senior at Albany High School with plans to attend college for a degree in motorcycle mechanics, greased the round baler, put knives in the baler and fueled the tractor. The cousins said they enjoy helping on the farm when they are able.
"If I won the lottery, this is what I would do," Jeff said of farming.
Hoof trimming was finished around Noon. At that same time, the equipment Jeff and Kyle had been working on was ready to go in the field.
"We've been baling hay every day for the last week," Peter said. "Today, we have 10 acres of meadow hay to bale and 10 to 15 acres of custom work to do for our neighbor."
Peter began baling around 12:15. After a short time, Jeff took over and Peter went back to the yard to have lunch with Stacy and Kaylee. The rest of the afternoon was spent in the fields, with Peter, Kyle and Skyler picking up bales - Skyler's favorite activity on the farm - Lloyd cutting hay and Jeff baling. Stacy spent the afternoon on the farm with Kaylee.
By 4:30 p.m., Peter, Kyle, Skyler and Lloyd were back in the yard to begin evening chores. Although Peter said everything in the fields went fairly smooth, they did have one misshap when a rock flew up from the baler and broke out the back window on the tractor.
"That didn't stop us from continuing to bale," Peter said. "We just kept going."
Before milking, Peter and Kyle mixed TMR for the milking herd while Stacy fed the heifers. Lloyd and Skyler top-dressed the TMR as it was fed.
Jeff came back to the farm around 5:15 p.m. Although Jeff had baled most of the day, Peter said they still had around 10 acres left to do because there was more hay ready at his neighbors than expected.
At 5:30 p.m., Kyle and Jeff left for home and Stacy and Peter began milking. Skyler helped milk as Stacy showed him how to clean each quarter for milking. Lloyd worked on mixing feed for the next morning to save Peter and Stacy some time. He left for home - a couple miles down the road - around 5:45 p.m.
After milking, Stacy cleaned the milk house and fed calves while Peter went back to the field and finished baling hay. Stacy spent the rest of the evening making supper and putting Kaylee to bed around 8:30 p.m.
Jill Warren contributed to this article.