‘Round We Go on the “Cow”ousel
Shane and Sid Munk are 3rd generation dairy farmers in Northern Utah and just opened a brand new barn with a carousel milk parlor that the kids like to call the “cow”ousel. Over the years, the Munks have had parallel and herringbone style parlors but recently decided to make the switch to a rotary-style parlor. “It is cleaner, more efficient, and speeds up the milking process, plus the cows really enjoy it,” says Shane’s wife Tammy. Just like people, getting acquainted with a new job has a bit of a learning curve – it took the cows about a week to get used to their new system, but now they walk right in, hop on the “merry-go-round” and back out of the stall at the end of the 7-minute ride.
The Munk’s state-of-the-art milking machines test each cow’s milk for safety, measure flow rate and quantity, and when the rate of milk slows, automatically drop from the udders while the cow finishes her cycle on the carousel. On the Munk dairy, each cow is milked three times per day to keep her from being uncomfortable and too full of milk. When they are not being milked, the cows spend time eating and sleeping in the new barn. The open-air, spacious barn has lights that turn on at night to keep them comfortable. “Cows don’t like the dark,” says Tammy, “so these lights turn on when the sun goes down.” Each of the Munk’s 500 cows has a sandy bed and the design of the new barn keeps it warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
With the new barn up and running, the hay crop just about ready to cut, and the corn in the ground, the Munk Dairy has hit its summer stride. Shane and Sid’s sons (farm generation #4) are the next in line to keep the family farm running and the legacy of father, grandfather, and great-grandfather alive.