Tom Trantham's property consists of 97.6 acres on a two-lane black top road in Pelzer, SC. The 130-year old farm house is his home. The 70-acre dairy is his life. A Holstein silhouette adorns his mail box and a Holstein flag occasionally flies from the white porch banister. The black and white herd, all udder and shine, graze 60 of his own acres and 10 acres of neighboring property. New lanes connect 25 paddocks with the side-opening, single-four milking parlor built in 1975.
Even though his buildings are located in the center of the property with pastures on the perimeter, a layout considered perfect for grazing, Tom thinks long lanes parallel to existing buildings would also work. Lanes and facilities can be built or adjusted to suit the landscape so that milkers have a reasonable walk from the most distant paddocks.
A manure sediment lagoon receives only the wash water these days since the manure is scraped from the holding lot and feeding area to be stored until it is spread as needed.
The trench silo is no longer used for silage because cows harvest their own food at a more highly digestible, milk-making stage. The trench silo is now a well-water reservoir used to dilute liquid from the manure sediment pond for customized fertilization and irrigation of paddocks.
The Harvestor silo, which once held expensive silage is being converted into a three-story milk processing plant which will bottle Happy Cow milk with just one pumping from the barn through the pasturizers and into the bottler.
A 80-horse tractor, manure spreader, no-till planter and rotary mower comprise the necessary equipment inventory for this grazing dairy, but if you are Tool-Time Tom, as his wife Linda calls him, you will have more. For example, a boat came in handy for setting plastic irrigation pipe in the lagoon.
This material is based upon work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture through the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.