Our Doors are Open at Fairmont!

As much as we love farming, we love sharing it with you!  While we welcome tours regularly and have incorporated hosting summer camps and weddings into our summer routine we are very excited to be participating in Cabot’s Open Farm Sunday for the first time this fall!

IMG_0810.JPG Mark your calendars for October 9, 2016 and get excited to see our parlor, new maternity barn and calf barn, enjoy a wagon ride, hear about our farming practices, learn about our history, and try some Cabot Cheese!

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We are hoping to see many of our neighbors along with anyone in the area who is interested in seeing a dairy farm or learning more about what we do!  Please help us start to spread the word now, we are looking forward to a fun filled day with lots of visitors!

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Organization – A Key Aspect of Farming

“Knowledge is Power” – The more one knows, the more one will be able to control events. Francis Bacon published this concept in 1597 and almost 420 years later it is just as relevant.  Just like any business we continually look for ways in which we can improve, but in order to identify areas of improvement we have to first know how we are doing.  This is why records play such an important role for us.

IMG_0721This year we are making some upgrades to our crop record keeping.  We currently manage about 3,600 acres of tillable land, 1,500 accounts for our corn crop and the remaining 2,100 acres is used for haylage.  With 3,600 acres of land, we cover almost 300 fields and employ 7 full time people, with another 10-15 people that are seasonal or part time.   With this amount of people and fields, organization becomes a top priority.  A couple years ago we developed a numbering system for all of our fields, these fields are mapped and kept in binders with their numbers.  In our binders we keep management notes including areas that require buffers, our nutrient management plan and spreadsheets to keep record of manure spreading, fertilizer applied, planting dates and varieties.

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Map of our fields around the “Home Farm” on Lyle Young Road in East Montpelier

To supplement our maps we are excited to add field signs this year!  Thank you to our friends and neighbors, Mike and Cheryl Rus, at Sign Here, Inc. for our new signs.  We have just started to put them up, so you may begin to notice them around town.  The goal for these signs is to assist our record keeping.  They will be located at the entrance to fields that we manage, both owned and rented, with our logo and field number on them.  This will make it simple for our operators to keep records for each field.  As an added bonus for those that may not know, when our cupola logo is at the entrance to a field you know that we are managing it.

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Our new field signs!

Another addition to our crop records this year is a new weather station!  We have a station ordered and on the way that will be able to remotely tell us accurate weather information such as how much rain we have had when it happened, the temperature, humidity, wind speed and wind direction.  This is something that will be accessible remotely as well which will be a huge help for deciding on start times for our land here around East Montpelier but also for our farm in Craftsbury which we travel to.

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Excited to retire our Rain Gauge and get an upgrade!

Last fall we installed a scale on the farm which we used for our corn harvest, we are looking forward to have it for a full growing season this year so it can be used for our haylage as well.  Having a scale is the last step to the records, after keeping track of all the field inputs this gives us an accurate picture of what the results were.  It also gives us a definitive number to use for our feed inventory.

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Picture taken during 2015 Corn Chopping – this shows our truck driving over the scale, the green light indicates that the scale has registered the truck and acknowledged that truck’s “tare” weight which will then record and store the date, time, and net weight of the load.

We are looking forward to the 2016 growing season and excited to see what we learn from the improvements we have made.

 

Rescue…The Most Influential Family at Fairmont

Co-op Moonboy Rescue-ET (VG-85, 86MS, 2Y) , “Rescue”, has become quite a powerhouse for us at Fairmont.  Currently the #9 cow in the breed, Rescue is +2627 GTPI, +786 NM$.  The only cow in the top 10 of the breed without Mogul, Supersire or Robust in her pedigree.  With 7 Very Good and Excellent dams behind her, an out-crossed pedigree and high genomics is not her only strength.

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Co-op Moonboy Rescue-ET (VG-85, 86MS, 2Y) +2627 GTPI, +786 NM$

At 3 years and 6 months old, Rescue now has over 40 offspring (~20 daughters and ~20 sons) on the ground.  She has 51 pregnancies coming with 44 pregnancies by daughters already and 38 pregnancies by her Stoic son “Ragen”; that accounts for about 175 descendants in the next year and she has not reached 4 years old.  She currently has 20 offspring over +2600 GTPI, 5 of which are also over +2700 GTPI.    She currently has 8 sons in A.I. and some of her oldest daughters now have offspring as well.

Sons at Genex (currently available):

Younger Bulls at Genex:

  • Fairmont Bayonet Rebel-ET +2753 GTPI
  • Fairmont Bayont Rockstar-ET +2769 GTPI
  • Fairmont Damaris Rambo-ET +2626 GTPI
  • Fairmont Damaris Raider-ET +2731 GTPI
  • Fairmont Bayonet Roscoe-ET +2691 GTPI
  • Fairmont Damaris Rocky-ET +2670 GTPI

Rescue also has sons by Altivo, Ledoux (+2635 & +2751) and Testarossa

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“Rescue” pictured in the middle of her 1st lactation

With all the exciting bulls Rescue has produced we are also excited about her heifers!

Top Daughters:

  • Fairmont Sprsht Ramira-ET +2720 GTPI
  • Fairmont Draco Rhian-ET +2652 PTPI
  • Fairmont Supersht Romina-ET +2647 GTPI
  • Fairmont Avenger Roxanne-ET +2640
    • Currently flushing
  • Fairmont Halogen Rudely-ET +2621 GTPI
    • 1 Daughter by Delta +2661 PTPI
    • 1 Daughter by Damaris +2640 PTPI
    • Pregnancies by: Damaris, Jedi and Magnus
  • Fairmont Josuper Regan-ET +2616 GTPI
  • Fairmont Tuffenuff Ridge-ET +2610 GTPI
    • 2 Daughters by Delta (+2667 & +2778)
    • Pregnancies by: Sharkey, Jedi, Damien, Piledriver, Gatedancer, AltaSuperstar, AltaPainter, Jerald, Magista, Damien, Ambassador and Modesty
    • Tremendous flush heifer, made over 120 embryos in just 10 flushes
    • Due September 2016
  • Fairmont Altivo Rashel-ET +2608
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“Rescue” pictured just a couple weeks fresh in her first lactation

This family has been great to work with, excellent results from both conventional flushing and IVF.  Your chance to get in on this amazing cow family is coming up this June.  We have two exciting consignments for the 2016 National Holstein Convention Sale:

  • Fairmont Supersht Romina-ET +2647 GTPI
    • Our highest Rescue daughter to sell yet
  • Fairmont Delta Rella-ET +2778 GTPI
    • Our first grand-daughter to sell!

Please contact Tucker Purchase with any questions or to get more information, 802-249-3539.

Why Dairy Farmers Love Sand like a Child at the Beach

There is something about building a Sand Castle at the beach that is so satisfying and spectacular.  The sand feels wonderful beneath your toes and molds to your body.  The sand can be formed into anything your heart desires.

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Image from parade.com

On our dairy farm, our cows are equally excited about sand.  Sand is their bed.  Sand is the best bedding we can use for both our cows comfort and health.

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Freshly Raked Sand Beds

At Fairmont, we use “deep sand beds” which means there is not even a floor to the bed, it is all sand.  The sand molds to cows bodies, just like ours at the beach, making a custom bed for each animal.  This type of bedding has proven to be the top choice for dairy producers when it comes to leg comfort, providing a soft spot for the cows hocks to rest and an easy material to get back up in.  Sand also beats out other bedding choices due to the nature of it being non-organic (not related to or derived from living matter), meaning the growth of bacteria is a non-issue compared to bedding with shavings for example that comes from a living organism.  The growth of bacteria in bedding can lead to infections of the udder, called mastitis.  That is why it is very important for our cows health and the quality of our milk to use the best bedding we can find.

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Our girls enjoying their beds!

With all of the positive aspects of sand, finding a plentiful and consistent source for our bedding is often troublesome.  With our recent purchase of the Norman Dix property on Route 2 in Plainfield, we found sand!  If you are local to our Central Vermont area, you may have seen the project we were working on this winter.  We have been digging sand and running it through a screener to ensure a high quality bedding product for our cows.  By extracting the sand we were able to improve the field by making the unused hill in the middle of the field usable!  Another added bonus was driveway material that was screened out of the sand.

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Our trucks have been busy this past winter hauling sand to the main farm in East Montpelier to stockpile top quality bedding for all the beautiful ladies at Fairmont Farm!

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This girl is captured getting some beauty rest in a clean and comfortable sand bed!

Our cows…the reason why we love sand like a child on the beach.