GULLEYFARM, Est. 2017
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Canadian Holstein herd
Our barn was built in 1979, to replace the old barn after a terrible fire
Our 42 cows, head to head, tie-stall barn is fully insulated, stays cool in the summer and nice and warm in winter. A lot of fans are installed in the walls and at the ceiling and the windows can all be opened up. Once a year we clean out the barn with high pressure. All the stalls have rubber mats. The manure gutter is automatically cleaned twice a day. There is a pipeline installed and we milk the cows with four milkers. The 3000 litre milk-tank is emptied every other day. We own 40 KG quota of butterfat. The cows give an average of 32 litres per day with 4% fat and 3.2% protein. Our Canadian quota system prevents us against overproduction and bad market prices. This gives us more financial security.
We grow our own feed for the herd, and with the TMR-mixer we are able to provide for a balanced complete feed. We grow corn-silage, dry-corn and hay which contains timothy- and English ryegrass, alfalfa and clovers. We also grow 10 acres peas and oats, which is cut at 6 weeks after seeding. In 2019 for the first time we did grow soybeans, it was a difficult and short season, so the crops didn't grow so well, but it's a very good to addition. We also add vitamins and minerals. For example vitamin E addition is very important in our area, the soil lacks vitamin E.
We feed the soil with the manure of the cows, but unfortunately we don't have enough animals to keep all the land good, so we need to add artificial fertilizer on some fields. But we also use the crop rotation method, which helps to get a good balance in the soil, which usually rotates as follows: one year corn, one year grain and five years hay mixture. The hay mixture helps itself because the alfalfa and clover adds nitrogen to the soil which the grasses need to grow. We only plow the fields when it's necessary, most of the time, discing is enough. This helps to keep the rock lower in the ground, but even though there are some fields who needs to be cleared from rocks in the spring. luckily our land doesn't contain a lot of them.
The heifers, until a year, stay in the barn too. The oldest are loose and eating through a feeding gate. The young ones each have there own space of two square metres and are fed with cow milk until three months, next to fresh water and hay.
Dry cows and heifers
Dry cows in the former hay barn and the heifers in the walk-through shed
The dry-cows are provided with a separate housing in the former hay barn, which is directly connected to the barn. We turned it into a pack barn with feeding fence and a heated water bowl. They also find the rest to give birth and are able to go outside into the pasture next to the barn.
The heifers from one year until their first calf is born, are living in the large walk-through shed with feeding fence area. They have year round access to a large hilly pasture with a lot of trees and a creek, which streams into the Bonnechere River at the south border of our property.
Fields, woods and creeks
Our farm is surrounded by pastures, hay and crop fields and trees, the creeks and the Bonnechere river shores
are boarded by our woods.
The Gulleyfarm earned his name years ago. The former owners
noticed the many gullies on the property. Two of them have flowing
creeks, one of them on the East side, has the name Little Halliday Creek.
The other one on the west side even has a waterfall. It's in the pasture of the heifers.
Our farm originally is a combination of three farms, in the early days farmer immigrants were provided with 100 acres blocks. Our farm nowadays is 288 acres, half of it is still not cultivated, the trees and bushes are abundantly growing in the gullies, in the pastures and at the river shores.
The map from google shows a natural cross in the middle, at the left of it and south of the community centre, until the shore of the river you see the fields and woods from the Gulleyfarm. Next to our property, we farm the land of two neighbours who still live on their property, what the map is showing right of the natural cross and north of Castleford Road. So in total we work 300 acres of cultivated land.
Part of it is hay, which we harvest in wrapped round bales and sell.
There is a lot of wild life living in the woods which makes it very special to live here!