Dairy Cattle

In addition to row crops, orchards, and forages grown in the early years of The Farm, a livestock progarm was also implemented. The dairy herd was to be the core of this program on The Farm as it would provide a good source of daily cash income.

In 1928, the dairy barn was remodeled to meet requirements for production of "Certified Milk". The Farm was the first to produce Certified Milk in this area. In 1937, two hundred and eighty-eight quarts were being shipped to Borden in Houston on a daily basis. This was in addition to the two hundred quarts being sold each day in Luling. The size of the herd was increased to meet the demand for milk from The Farm.

Extensive production records were maintained on each animal in the dairy herd. "Boarders" were not tolerated and were sold for slaughter. Heifers from top producers were retained to maintain the size of the herd.

There was a heavy demand for offspring from the herd at The Farm, both for bull and heifer calves. These calves were rigidly culled, so that only those from proven producers were sold for breeders. The improvement in other dairy herds in the area was very gratifying to Mr. Davis.

In the 1950 Annual Report, Mr. Cardwell noted, "Many bulls are sold as a result of visitors coming to The Farm and seeing our herd. The Carnation Company Field Man, from Schulenburg, bought twelve bull calves and distributed them to their milk producers in that watershed."

There was a sever drought in the late Thirties, and in 1939, all beef cattle and sheep were moved away from The Farm. Management felt the dairy herd should be protected at all costs.

This drought also precipitated some breeding problems in the dairy herd. The Farm pioneered in artificial insemination in 1941. They were enthusicastic over the results. in 1949, eighty-one cows were bred in this manner.

In 1949, due to the continued demand for milk, some grade Holstein cows were added to the herd at The Farm.

In general, the decade of the Forties was good for dairy operation.

The Texas Jersey Cattle Club Certificate, "Champion Jersey Herd of Texas" for herds of over one-hundred cows, was awarded to The Luling Foundation Farm in 1946 for producing three hundred and twenty-five pounds of butterfat per cow. This award was also won in 1947, 1948, and 1949. These records were established over a period of three hundred and five days.

As previously noted, the sever drought of the Fifties began in June 1950.

The renovation of the dairy building was completed in June 1950 with the installation of pasteurizing equipment, a refrigeration vault, bottl washer, etc. The Farm began producing Pasteurized Certified Milk on October 22, 1950. This made Luling one of three towns in Texas to have access to milk of this quality. The other two were San Antonio and El Paso.

That same year, a shed with six individual stalls was constructed to be used in connection with artificial breeding.

In 1951, The Farm was supplying milk to the Warm Springs Foundation and the Elks Hospital at Ottine.

In 1952, the drought caused excessive feeding of concentrates and purcahse of alfalfa hay. Too many non-breeding heifers were produced.

In 1953, more ensilage than normal was fed in an attempt to maintain a constant flow of milk. There was still a heavy demand for milk from The Farm. The bacteria count remained unbelievably low. "Breeding difficulties continue. It seems there is a condition that affects our heifers as they mature to breeding age. The Veterinary Department at A & M College has agreed to make a special study of this herd."

Management was concerned about declinig bulk milk prices. The enormous amount of butter and cheese held in storage by the government was having a depressing effect on fluid milk prices.

IN 1954, the abnormal weather conditions continued. Continuous grazing was not available. Cows were fed silage that was harvested in prior years. The practice of total breeding by artifical insemination was discontinued. Natural breeding by F9 ( a Luling Foundation bred bull) was used with a group of young heifers. Older bulls were bredd naturally to some of the older cows. Results looked promising.

Plans were made to discontinue the bottling and sale of Pasteurized Certified milk after January 15, 1955. Only bulk milk was sold to processors after this.

The dairy herd was dispersed in October, 1956. Modern forty-hour work weeks, with weekends, off, made it difficult to keep interested employees in this department. It was felt that the demonstration of the dairy farm had served its purpose. No farmer could maintain an operation that was not profitable and, in keeping with the policies of The Foundation, The Farm would not attempt it either.

 

This information has been taken in part from the booklet titled The Luling Foundation, written by Zona Withers.

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