Perspectives - Winter 2016 - 25

Pasteurization equipment installed behind the
milking parlor receives unsaleable "waste milk"
from freshening cows and those undergoing
treatment. Once the milk is pasteurized it's
cooled, and transported once a day to the calf
barn where the radiant heating raises it back to
a temperature of 70-75 degrees.
At first, they started with just one group
of calves, continuing the traditional feeding
practice of milk replacer heated to the higher
100-degree level for the rest. Starting the
experiment in winter, Chad admits they were
nervous about the lower temperature of the
pasteurized milk.
"We had to trust the research, and we had to
have faith, but the difference was clear pretty
quickly."
Not only were the calves on free-choice
milk healthy, but they also grew and filled
out more quickly. The business achieved an
enormous savings by no longer relying on milk
replacer, and with milk available around the
clock, the calves ate much less grain than those
on timed feedings.
"Before, when you weren't here with the
milk, they'd be nibbling on the textured grain
all the time you were gone, but now that pallet
is just sitting there." Chad points to a stack
of unopened grain bags. "The grain company
thought we'd switched suppliers because of the
drop-off in orders."
Along with the constant pursuit of
improvements and greater efficiency, Chad
notes that much of his job now is in field work
rather than hands-on management of the cows.
A good deal of time is also spent in support
of his staff, seeing what they need to get their
jobs done, whether it be a quick check-in at the
milking parlor or a road trip to replace a broken
part with a new one.
"They pretty much know what they're
doing. I'm just blessed to have a real dedicated
team," he says, and includes Jon Audy, the
nutritionist from Phoenix Feeds & Nutrition
who manages the herd's dietary needs. He
comes once a week. In fact, he came once a
week even before Barber was a client.
"Jon would come around every Tuesday."

Chad shakes his
head, laughing. "I
remember thinking,
'Man, this guy is
persistent,' but he
said it was a nice
area and he liked
visiting. Then, one
day we had a bunch
of sick cows, and I
was down pitching
off feed because
everyone thought it
was spoilage on top
of the bunks. I was
so frustrated with
everything that was
going wrong, but Jon
found something off in their diet."
After testing Jon's recommendations with
three different groups, Chad saw the results
and was convinced. "He can come in and see
things I don't because I'm here every day. I
trust him."
There's a sense of satisfaction in seeing
things work, in seeing risks pay off and ideas
come to fruition, but the achievements in
farming are hard-won and often tempered
by hardship. Like others, Barber Bros. Dairy
has seen its share, and added to them in the
past several years was the loss of its secondgeneration leader, Clint Barber, who passed

away in 2012 after a long illness.
Although he'd been preparing for the role
all his life, along with the weight of grief, Chad
now shouldered the weight of a responsibility
that was suddenly very real. He credits his
mother, and his father's older brother William,
with helping him through a difficult time.
"I want to be sure that's mentioned," he
says. "I appreciate what those two do. They've
been a big support in helping me get on my
feet, and I couldn't have done it without them."
Since then, there have been ups and downs
that would challenge anyone's resilience-
one milk market lost and another one found, a
milking parlor fire, cracks in the cow barn, and a
nearly catastrophic plunge through the skylight
of a snowy roof. Tested, but undeterred, Chad
Barber remains a farmer.
"My Dad used to joke about what we'd do
if we won the lottery, all the big improvements
we'd make around here." He smiles. "We
wouldn't stop farming, but we'd probably have
more fun doing it."
He now thinks about his duties as a thirdgeneration "ten-percenter" and the process of
preparing his children-three daughters and
a son-for whatever role they may choose to
play in the fourth generation's stewardship.
"I had him out with me in the payloader last
night," he says, referring to his two-year-old
son. "He wants to steer and work the bucket."
Seems like a good start.

phoenixfeeds.net/magazine

Perspectives Magazine

25


http://www.phoenixfeeds.net/magazine

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 - 21
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Perspectives - Winter 2016 - 24
Perspectives - Winter 2016 - 25
Perspectives - Winter 2016 - 26
Perspectives - Winter 2016 - 27
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Perspectives - Winter 2016 - Cover3
Perspectives - Winter 2016 - Cover4
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