By Jeremy Johnson, The (Oil City) Derrick

Contented and healthy cows are productive cows, and you can, uh, milk productive cows for more moola and higher quality milk

COOPERSTOWN, Pa. — Rolling Spring Farm owners Charlie and Denise Bean are trying to milk their cows for all they’re worth.

In order to do so, they’ve taken a more pampered approach to dairy farming than the many generations before them.

The Beans last year built a new, state-of-the-art barn on their more than 130-acre farm in Canal Township, in northwestern Pennsylvania, that capitalizes on the concept of cow comfort because they believe that, much like people, a happy cow is a productive cow.

“[The new barn] has mostly improved cow comfort and cow health,” Denise said. “And that was really our main purpose behind building it in the first place.”

But the real benefit — aside from a more humane approach to raising cows, according to Mr. Bean — can be seen in sheer production numbers and milk quality.

Since the new barn was constructed, the cows have produced 10 or more extra gallons of milk a day, he said.

While that may not seem like much moola, a quick calculation over 365 days (after all, cows never quit making milk) reveals a potential for tens of thousands of extra dollars in revenue.

“Based on the improvements we’ve seen these cows produce up to an extra 10 gallons of good milk per day, and that alone will probably pay for the barn in the long run,” Mr. Bean said.

Using local ingenuity, a lot of field research (including a study of other farms in the state), donations from state farming supply companies and resources from the Pennsylvania Center for Dairy Excellence, the couple went about constructing a 100-cow barn on the hill just above their old milking barn.

“Dairy farmers have long been innovators when it comes to giving optimal animal care,” said John Frey, executive director of the Pennsylvania Center for Dairy Excellence. “And what you’re seeing here is an example of that.”

The new barn includes a more-than-ample walking track for the numerous bovine guests, with open stalls that permit cows to move freely (or rest peacefully) throughout the space.

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