June 14, 2021 at 3:27 p.m.
COLUMBUS, Wis. – The Prossers awoke to a warm, sunny day June 1 and knew it would be ideal for chopping hay. With 60 acres waiting to be chopped, making hay was the goal for the day.“We have lots of hay down,” said John Prosser, who farms with his son, Tim, and his grandson, Jordan, near Columbus. “We’re hoping to chop 25-30 acres today.” The Prossers milk around 100 cows and farm 350 acres, growing mostly hay and corn along with some wheat and soybeans. Cows are housed in a freestall facility and milked in the farm’s 36-stall tiestall barn. The Prossers also have 30 sheep which John’s grandchildren show at the county fair. During the summer months, cows calve on pasture and several cows were relaxing in the grass that Tuesday. The Prossers started morning chores at 7. John and Tim took care of mixing feed and feeding cows while Jordan started milking. John had to head out at 9 a.m. for a dentist appointment, at which point Tim fed grain and milk to the calves in hutches. Tim came and helped Jordan finish up milking the last group of cows a little before 9:30. The Prossers’ neighbor, Alan Thorson, stopped by around 9:40 to ask if Tim could cut a hay field for his sheep. Milking wrapped up just before 10 a.m. “We’re talking about the possibility of building a parlor in the future,” Jordan said. “We also try to make updates to the tiestall barn here and there. We’ve replaced windows, fixed stalls, repaired the barn floor, and we whitewash every other year.” Jordan has been farming with his grandpa and uncle for about five years. He does the morning milking Monday through Friday and also works on the farm during the day. “I’ve been coming to the farm since I was 10,” Jordan said. After milking, Jordan hooked up the manure spreader and backed it into the barnyard. Every Tuesday and Friday, the Prossers clean barns and bed animals. Jordan ran the barn cleaner in the tiestall barn to empty out the gutters and also scraped the barn yard, freestall barn and other barns. Tim prepped tractors for fieldwork and then headed out to merge hay around 10:30 a.m. John bought the farm in 1973 and started out with 23 cows. He built a freestall barn in 2003, the year before Tim returned home to farm with his father. Prosser Farms LLC is a three-man operation that also relies on some part-time high school kids to help with evening chores. Tim’s wife, Cindy, works off the farm full time at a mortgage company. The farm is located in Dane County near the county line; therefore, the Prossers also have land in neighboring Dodge and Columbia counties. The Prossers began cutting first-crop hay about two weeks prior and had two fields left to chop from hay cut May 30-31. “We mix a little grass with the alfalfa when we seed it to help with moisture and yield,” Tim said. John, Tim and Jordan grabbed lunch before heading out to chop hay around 1:15 p.m. in a field in Columbia County just down the road from their farm. John chopped while Tim filled the bagger and Jordan ran wagons back and forth between the two. The temperature was in the mid-70s. “We kept right on with hay all afternoon and finished chopping at 6 p.m.,” John said. The Prossers chopped 23 loads of hay off of 26 acres that day. Evening milking started around 6, and that night, the Prossers finished up barn chores at 8:30 p.m. “It was a productive day,” John said. “We got a lot of hay done and accomplished what we needed to.”
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