The BIG ideas and Tiny details behind the Putnam Family Farm and Maple Hill Farms.
Putnam Family Farm is currently milking 65 cows, two times each day. The cows eat a variety of foods including hay, silage, grain and green chop as well as grass, within the pasture. The farm grows and produces the hay and silage to be used on the farm. The current milk cows are provided approximately 20 acres of pasture to roam during the summer months. In the wintertime these cows spend most of their time in the milking barn, with minimal time outside in a small pasture, during barn cleanings. The milk cows are currently producing about 700 gallons of milk, every two days.
There are about 40-50 heifers who have either been bred or are waiting to be bred. They are usually located in a smaller barn with an attached paddock. They are also transferred into a larger pasture of approximately 60 acres to graze during the warm summer months. Within the large pasture, the heifers have access to grass, daily hay and a pond for unlimited water access. As the pregnant heifers approach their due dates, they are moved to a birthing paddock, behind the hay barn.
Also, the farm currently has approximately 25 calves located within the dairy barn. These calves are currently drinking milk provided to them from the milking cows. Once the calves are done drinking milk, they are moved to another barn, away from the dairy cows. These calves are also given hay and water. Male calves are sold at a local auction between 2 and 3 months of age.
Early in the spring, manure is spread, fields are plowed, large rocks are picked from the fields, and the fields are prepared for planting corn. Once the corn is planted the farmers wait for it to grow through its full cycle. In the Fall, the corn is harvested using a Harvester that chops the corn stalks into pieces and are blown into an auto-unloading wagon. From there the corn pieces are transferred into a corn silo.
Once the silo is filled, plastic is used to cover the corn pieces which is now considered silage. This silage is used to feed the cows from November to late Spring, depending upon the weather conditions.
Early in the spring, manure is spread, fields are plowed, large rocks are picked from the field, some fields are Disked, some fields are Chisel-Plowed and then a Cultimulcher is used to flatten the field for planting. Alfalfa, Broom Grass, Clover and Timothy seeds are planted to produce hay.
Once the field is grown to the appropriate length it is often cut to make hay. During this process, the grass is cut and tedded within the same day and is left out in the sun to dry. It is then raked into rows within the fields and later baled. The baler kicks the bales into wagons which are later unloaded by farm help and family members. The hay is placed onto hay elevators and stacked in the hay barns. Some hay is sold to customers as well. During hay season, there are many late nights on the farm trying to make sure the hay is safely put away in the barns.
Maple Hill Farms cuts down trees and drags them to a specific location to be cut and split for firewood. The firewood is sold to customers and used as fuel in the Evaporator. There is an ongoing forestry management program that selectively encourages the growing of Maple Trees for Maple Production.
Maple Hill Farms continues to tap maple trees with approximately 1700 taps using the Maple Infinity Spile®. The sap is boiled down resulting in maple syrup, which is used to produce multiple maple products sold locally and online at https://maplehillsyrup.com.
Family Farm Day
Near the end of August, every year on a Saturday, there is an open house at Maple Hill Farms. During this time, Free Samples of many maple products are handed out to those interested in tasting. Throughout the day, free, hour-long, Hayrides touring our farm are provided and enjoyed by all ages. Several counties participate in this annual event. On average, families visit three to six farms during this day-long event!
During the warmer months, Maple Hill Farms sets up at farmers markets to sell their maple products. Maple products are sold and sampled at the Delmar Farmer’s Market from the first Saturday in May to the last Saturday in October. The hours are 9:00AM to 1:00PM, at the Bethlehem Middle School.