Mom and I met Grandpa, Grandma and Aunt Janet at the Fair Oaks Dairy the other day. The farm that we visited is one of 10 that make up the Fair Oaks Dairy operation. Though this particular Dairy has 3,000 cows and at least 6-8 calves born each day, a cheese and ice cream factory on sight, an education center, and a birthing barn it does not draw on the local electrical company for it's operation.
The farm uses four anaerobic digestors to break down the cow manure and create methane gas which is then used to produce electricity. Enough electricity, in fact, to power their entire on sight operation (milking 2,800 cows three times a day) and still have enough to sell back to the grid!
This ginormous wheel moves very slowly and milks the cows as they take a ride. They are creatures of habit so they know when to get on and off. Kind of crazy. The cows take a ride three times a day, giving up about 86 lbs of milk a day each(12 gallons).
We took a tour of the farm on a bus full of middle school students, therefore, some of the facts about the farm were lost due to the distraction created by 39 adolescents gagging and choking due to the farm smell, the closeup view of a cow pooping, or who knows what else. It is sufficient to say these were 'city kids'. And they were getting an education.
We just missed the birth of the twins. They were about 70 lbs each.