Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Murphy's Laws of Milk Testing

We're testing milk tonight. Generally, we have terrible tests. As evidence, our percent milk sold for the past year has averaged 94 percent. We try not to let it bother us – after all, we're not trying to set any records. But it would be nice to see the test results reflect how the cows normally milk. It seems like whenever Dan, our field man, calls, something goes wrong. Last month was so bad, that a week later Glen said he wanted to call Dan back for a do-over.

Here are the Murphy's Laws of Milk Testing:

1. When the DHIA tester calls to say he'll be there tomorrow night, you can bet tomorrow's high will top 90 degrees.

2. Your DHIA tester will schedule your test for the busiest week of your month, and often, the busiest day of that week.

3. In the 36 hours between when the tester calls and actually arrives to sample milk, the temperature will drop to -20 degrees, the silo unloader will break down and the cows will have to eat nothing but dry hay and grain for the 12 hours it takes to repair the unloader.

4. The morning before you're scheduled to test, the best cow in the barn will come down with mastitis, thus inflating your average SCC and eliminating your chances of making "The List".

5. You synch a group of cows to be in heat on Thursday. Wednesday morning your tester calls to say he's coming Thursday night. The good news is your synch worked and you've got a half-dozen cows to breed. The bad news is, they didn't milk worth a darn for the test.

And the list goes on. Dairy farming is always challenging, we just wish some of those challenges would wait until after we're done testing.

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