Quality is their bottom line

“We take quality very seriously. It affects our bottom line and is important for consumers. We have to have it,” says Matthew Nealy. He and his cousin Tommy and their fathers Steve and Tom operate Nealand Farms near Newville, Pennsylvania, with Tommy’s son Landon being the fourth generation involved.

The Nealys milk 410 mature cows, raising their youngstock at three locations by age, and farming 1100 acres of crops that pretty much all go to feed the herd. The herd produces 92 pounds of milk per cow per day with SCC consistently under 100,000.

In 2020, Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative honored Nealand Farms as the Producer of the Year at its 100th Annual Meeting during the Virtual Honors Ceremony that year. This top award goes to a member farm that not only achieves high quality milk, but also goes above and beyond in demonstrating outstanding overall farm management, environmental sustainability and top-notch animal care.

In a video produced by Maryland-Virginia about the farm, Steve notes that, “working together as a family and increasing the operation is what we enjoy most.”

The Nealys started farming in Franklin County in 1968. In 2008, Nealand Farms LLC was formed as Matthew and Tommy joined the business. Matthew oversees the milking herd, Tommy manages the calves, Tom handles all the feeding and Steve helps with day-to-day management.

Milk quality and cow comfort go hand-in-hand, and they love the monitoring technology from the automated calf feeders and the pedometers each cow wears to track her activity. They can breed on that activity, and “you can catch cows that are not feeling well,” says Matthew.

“The biggest thing is being hands-on as an owner. One of us is always present during the milking and helping in areas that need it,” he says, adding that they give their employees a bonus on somatic cell count. The lower it gets, the higher the bonus.

The Nealys bed freestalls with sawdust over mattresses and groom the stalls every time cows come to the parlor. They provide cow brushes that the cows love to use, and they have soft rubber matting in the parlor and in the front third of the holding pen.

“We also use Udder Comfort in the parlor. It is something we don’t cut. We do every fresh cow for a week after calving. We mark high-count cows on DHIA and do them too. It softens udders faster for better milkouts and higher quality milk,” Matthew reports. “We tried the knockoffs. They don’t work. Udder Comfort works.”

Matthew says using the Udder Comfort Spray System makes it easy and fast and uses less spray per application in the parlor.

“With more routine use of Udder Comfort, we get better results, seeing consistently lower SCCs now averaging below 100,000,” he confirms. “Quality is important, and it affects our bottomline.”

 

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