Dairy farmer Peter Davie, in his own words.
“We’re at Davie Farm in Delta, British Columbia, Canada. My grandfather was born in Delta and lived here his entire life,” said Davie.
“In the early ’50s he came across this piece of property that we’re on now and decided to buy it, and we’ve been farming here ever since.
“We’re solely dairy farming. We have purebred registered Holstein Friesian cows. The reason that you mostly see Holsteins as dairy cows is for their production. They are the highest-producing dairy cow bred today.
“Our top cow currently milks about 150 pounds a day, and we have an 80-pound average over the herd.”
Self-reliance is a virtue
“This is our heifer barn and milking parlor. We keep all our young stock in here. We don’t buy any replacement stock. They’re all born and raised here on the farm.
“This is our loafing barn where we house our breeding bull and some of our other young stock. Most of these animals are pregnant currently. The few that aren’t are why they’re in here with the bull.
“This is our main dairy barn. It has about 135 stalls in it to house 135 cows.”
Seven minutes in and out
“So, this is the milking parlor. You can see some cows are waiting to get milked. It was built in the late ’70s. It’s a double-six herringbone.
“And, so, the cows are going to start milking in just a few minutes here. The average cow from the time you put her in the parlor till the time she’s walking out is approximately seven minutes.
“On the farm we have five people in total working: my father, my brother, myself and two employees.”
Start early, finish late
“The average day during the summer, we start at 3:30 in the morning where myself or my brother come down and we milk for about two
and a half hours approximately. In that time we also will feed our young calves.
“We grow grass and corn crops for forage feeds for the cows. And my dad, being 73, he still comes down every morning at 4:30 to help feed calves.
“His passion, his love, has always been farming, whether it be years ago with farming with my grandfather and doing crops, vegetables and sheep or dairy, which he made the big push in the late ’60s to solely become a dairy farm.
“I think my dad’s passion for dairy was simply for the fact that he got to work every day. He loves the cows. He loves working with them. Just loves being around them.”
Good maintenance matters
“On a dairy farm of our size, we have 240 acres. We have a lot of mechanical equipment. So, maintenance is key to all of it, whether it be a manure agitator or some of the tractors.
“We have 12 or so tractors ranging from 35 horsepower to 225, and every single one needs a couple oil changes a year. They need grease every 8, 10, 12 hours. Maintenance is a big part of everything we do on the farm.”
34-year-old Ford running strong
“This is our Ford TW-35. It’s 1986 with 10,000-plus hours on it. It’s one of the most used tractors at our operation.
“We use it for everything from spreading manure to tillage to mowing our forage crops. We’ve tuned the injection pump to make it 180 horsepower than the factory 160. The dual wheels help with flotation in our softer Delta soil. They make a massive difference compared to the single 520 tires.
“It has three hydraulic remotes and a category-3, three-point hitch. Primary maintenance would be engine oil changes. Using conventional oil, they
only last about 200 hours. Switching to AMSOIL has changed that to where we only have to do them every 800 hours or so, so just an annual oil change is fine.
“This tractor, being 33 years old and having more than 10,000 hours on it, it’s a bit beat up. But the engine and transmission still work flawlessly.
“The 16-speed transmission shifter, the throttle and three-point hitch are all easily accessible and easy to reach, part of what makes this tractor so functional and well-used on the farm.”
Farming or nothing
“If I wasn’t farming, I don’t know what I’d be doing. I’d be bored, I can tell you that.
“Every day there’s something new, and that’s why I chose to stay and keep doing it. You know, tomorrow morning you might be a vet. This morning I was a welder and a mechanic, and the next day might be something different.
“So, it’s always changing and it’s always evolving and it’s always something new. And you never know what’s going to happen on the day, and it makes it fun.
“I always try and say, ‘No day is a bad day when you’re on the farm.'”