Doubledale farm is located north of Syracuse, where cows, fields and trees outnumber houses. It is a beautiful drive to Sharon and Dan Rossiter’s Doubledale farm. For over ten years, the Rossiter’s have earned recognition for “Super Milk” From Byrne Dairy.
“It’s nice to work with Byrne Dairy because they take pride in the quality of their products,” Dan Rossiter says from his living room that overlooks the farm in their backyard. Living in the North Country can be daunting to say the least, with cold weather, winds and lots of snow coming from Lake Ontario.
“There are times during whiteouts when I can’t even see the barn from the house,” Sharon says looking out her window. “The cows like the cold though. It’s a good place for the cows.” It’s true that cows are much happier in cooler weather than warm, which is why Upstate New York is home to so many successful dairy farms. And the people at Byrne Dairy know that. No matter what the weather- rain, snow, or ice- the Byrne Dairy milk truck shows up at Doubledale Farm, every day of the year to collect thousands of gallons of milk.
Running a large farm of 800 Holsteins and 1,250 acres is a tall order for any family. “Its evolved over the years,” Dan said. Sharon’s family is in its eighth generation of farming, and Dan learned his farming skills from his father. One of the many family pictures the Rossiter’s have on display in their home is a black and white photograph of a young Dan sitting on a tractor with his father, at their family farm. “I still have that tractor behind the barn.” Today the Rossiter’s have kid-sized pedal tractors, one that Dan used to play on, and a John Deer combine in their home for the grand children to play on when they visit.
The Rossiter’s- who partner with Sharon’s parents, Ted and Dianne- also utilize technology to make their operation run smoothly. They use two computer-based systems, afimilk® and DairyComp305® for everything from herd management, to tracking the steps each cow takes, to the conductivity of the milk each cow produces. This helps the Rossiters know if a cow is healthy, is producing milk as well as she should and if she is ready to breed.
The ankle bracelet that each cow wears is part of the system, and as they step into the milking parlor, the Rossiters can track a wide variety of helpful information for each animal. “It’s like having a person around 24-7,” Sharon said. Sharon is clearly interested in how technology can help her farm. Though Dan has been hesitant to turning farm management over to technology, he sees the value in it. He just recently test drove a tractor with GPS that knew exactly where to drop the blades, when to pick them up and when to turn on a new row.
The Rossiters like their spot on the earth, despite the cold winters. On occasion they get to take a break from the farm to relax on the shores of Lake Ontario. “Farming and Byrne Dairy have been good to us,” Dan said. “You get to see Mother Nature at her best,” Sharon said. “And her worst,” Dan adds with a grin.