Dairy displeasure over time tweak

Sunday’s coming, and it’s going to hurt. Especially for area dairy farmers who may typically launch their work day at 3 or 4 a.m. They’ll have to dig deep to arrive an hour earlier when daylight saving time begins.

The cows won’t be that happy about it either, according to John Mueller, manager of Willow Bend Farm in the town of Manchester.

“Cows love routine just like people love routine,” said Mueller. “Every eight hours like clockwork — they know when it’s time to get milked and fed. They’re comfortable with that routine. So the time change does throw them off. But it’s temporary.”

Willow Bend is one of three partnering farms — along with Spring Hope Dairy in Hopewell and Bonna Terra Farm in West Bloomfield — in the Willow Bend Farms family. Together they employ 75 workers, farm 9,000 acres and milk 4,000 cows, which produce 35,000 gallons of milk each day for Upstate Milk.

“When I first started 20 years ago we’d ease them into it gradually, but the last dozen years or so we just go cold turkey,” said Mueller. “The next couple of days they get it all worked out. It’s not life or death, but it does throw them off a routine.”

Hal Adams, dairy farmer and owner of Black Brook Farm in Farmington, has a similar take on the time change.

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