Farm number 26 in our “30 Dairies in 30 Days” June Dairy Month series is Nor-Bert Farms!
Nor-Bert Farms of Bremen, Indiana has seen many changes since the farm began in 1945. The family farm was founded by Norman and his late wife Bertha Krathwohl. Over the past 69 years the farm has transformed into a multi-generational dairy operation involving Norman’s daughter and son-in-law, Deb and Roger Dankert, grandson Jeremy Dankert, and granddaughter and her husband, Jennifer and Monty Freeman and their 3 children Dalton, Dillon and Breanne.
Norman and Bertha started farming with 80 acres of land and milking eight cows by hand. Being the innovator Norman was, he adopted many new dairy technologies that were being used in the day.
Norman and his family have continued to adopt some of the many amazing technological solutions to help keep their cows healthy and happy. The most recent technologies embraced by the farm were the installation of an automatic calf feeder in February 2009 and three Lely robotic milkers in August 2010. Since the installation of the robot milkers, milk production and quality have improved. This technology also allows for the family to care for the 145-cow milking herd of Holsteins, Brown Swiss, Ayrshires and a few Jerseys without any outside labor. The robotic milking machines allow the cows to “milk themselves.” The cows can choose when and how many times they want to be milked, and they don’t need any help from their farmers. The automatic calf feeders allow baby calves to choose when they want to drink their milk. Both the robotic milking machines and the automatic feeders allow the animals to make their own decisions about when to eat or be milked and free up the schedules for the farm family.
Besides the dairy, the farm crops 1100 acres of corn, soybeans and alfalfa hay.