Perspectives - Winter 2016 - 23

Just as his own father had allowed him the
freedom to manage in a way that suited him,
Clint Barber had the vision to understand his
son needed that same light touch.
"Dad was really good at letting me make my
own mistakes," Chad says. "He wasn't a micromanager. He would let me run an idea all the
way out to figure out if it was the best way of

doing something."
And if the idea didn't work out? He grins.
"He'd just say, 'yeah, don't do that again.'"
A lot of them did work out, though. One was
to forego a costly plan for a new milking parlor
and instead expand the existing one through a
creative use of space. The remodeled version
incorporates the same pit area as the original

parlor, but a reconfiguration of the space has
allowed for the expansion from milking 12 at a
time, to milking 30 at a time, and a wider alley
means the cows can exit as a group rather than
single file.
"It's just more efficient," Chad says.
It's a word he repeats often in describing a
quest to squeeze as much expense and waste
as possible out of the farm's daily operations.
The creative thinking employed in that ongoing
effort even extends to internet bargain-hunting.
In the machine shop, Linda points out an
enormous tractor truck painted a signature
military green-an army surplus vehicle
retrofitted to serve as a feed distributor.
"He found it at govplanet.com," she says,
marveling at the steeply discounted price.
"It looks like we're preparing for the next
revolution, but it works like a charm."
One of the most significant and innovative
changes made in the past several years has been
in the area of calf feeding. The care and feeding
of the calves is under the direction of Chad's
wife Amber, who was introduced to the process
while they were dating, on weekends when he
was anxious to get through his duties as quickly
as possible.
"I convinced her to get the calf chores done,"
Chad acknowledges. "It saved me about an hour
and a half."
Often the least-coveted job on any farm,
tending calves can be messy, time-consuming
and labor-intensive, and the process at the
Barber Bros. Dairy was no exception.
"You'd have 20-30 calves on bottles and
15-20 on pails," Chad says. "You'd spend more
time bent over, washing out the pails, you'd be
soaking wet, and in the winter it would freeze
solid on you."
Despite these drawbacks-not to mention
the introduction under ulterior motives-
through patience and skill Amber made this part
of the business her own, and because she shares
Chad's sense of curiosity and receptiveness to
change, it wasn't long before she was looking
for ways to improve calf feeding. About six
years ago, the two of them attended a seminar in
Syracuse that resulted in a transformation with
far-reaching benefits.
Applying what they'd learned, the calf
barn was redesigned from individual pens to
group housing, and the animals provided with
free-choice milk twenty-four hours a day. The
feeding mechanism is simple. Small sheds
constructed in the middle of the barn house
barrel containers that are filled with pasteurized,
acidified milk and placed on sections of radiantheated cement. Individual plastic tubes-
essentially, the "straws"-running from the
barrels are connected to rubber nipples mounted
along the lower part of the shed wall.
"The standard is three calves per nipple,"
Chad says. "We decided to run two calves per
nipple so there's less fighting for space."
The milk itself is sourced internally.

phoenixfeeds.net/magazine

Perspectives Magazine

23


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Perspectives - Winter 2016

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Perspectives - Winter 2016

Contents
Perspectives - Winter 2016 - Cover1
Perspectives - Winter 2016 - Cover2
Perspectives - Winter 2016 - Contents
Perspectives - Winter 2016 - 4
Perspectives - Winter 2016 - 5
Perspectives - Winter 2016 - 6
Perspectives - Winter 2016 - 7
Perspectives - Winter 2016 - 8
Perspectives - Winter 2016 - 9
Perspectives - Winter 2016 - 10
Perspectives - Winter 2016 - 11
Perspectives - Winter 2016 - 12
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Perspectives - Winter 2016 - 14
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Perspectives - Winter 2016 - 17
Perspectives - Winter 2016 - 18
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Perspectives - Winter 2016 - 20
Perspectives - Winter 2016 - 21
Perspectives - Winter 2016 - 22
Perspectives - Winter 2016 - 23
Perspectives - Winter 2016 - 24
Perspectives - Winter 2016 - 25
Perspectives - Winter 2016 - 26
Perspectives - Winter 2016 - 27
Perspectives - Winter 2016 - 28
Perspectives - Winter 2016 - 29
Perspectives - Winter 2016 - 30
Perspectives - Winter 2016 - 31
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Perspectives - Winter 2016 - Cover3
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