Jake transitioned back to the farm after leaving a position as an architectural engineer when the decision was made to put in robots.
Q). What have been some of the biggest differences between before and after milking your cows with robots?
A). Who was managing the cows, to start! My dad was managing the farm before robots. The robots were for me to manage. Since robots, the cows are noticeable calmer in the barn, which I’m happiest about. These days if you walk in the barn and someone bolts, I want to know why. As far as my lifestyle, the flexibility is irreplaceable.
Q). What is your favorite report in T4C?
A). A bunch! It is hard to pick just one! I like report 16- Milking Herd Overview. I look at it at least once a day. When I use it, I am looking for trends: butterfat, protein, and milk production. You can easily see the effects of changes you made on the farm. At the end of the day, that’s what the farmer cares most about- components and production.
Q). What advice would you give prospective robot customers?
A). Get out and see barns. There isn’t one setup that is the same, and it is not one size fits all. There is so much to gain from seeing different setups.
Q) What is your biggest tip for success?
A). A clean barn, and barn hygiene. Farmers who buy robots with the idea that they won’t ever have to be in the barn are setting themselves up for failure. Manure management and stall management are directly tied to success with robots.
Q). How do you feel about your decision to come back to the farm?
A). I’m not trading it back for my desk job! Sometimes a 9-5 would be nice, but I’m not going back. It was getting harder to answer to someone else as I was getting older and I couldn’t take the monotony of doing the same thing every day. There are things we do every day on the farm, like fetching cows, but at the same time every day brings a unique challenge.
Q). Do you have any advice for people considering transitioning back into the farm?
A). You must have a big support system behind you to fully get back into the family farm. You need to have people off the farm that you can just unload on, and it helps to have people on the farm that can cover for you when you need to get away!