The Daugherty Family
Dairy farmers from Coshocton, Ohio
Father-son duo Bill and Kyle Daugherty are sixth and seventh generation dairy farmers. Together with Bill’s wife Caroline and father Martin, the family cares for 220 dairy cows and farms 1,600 acres in Coshocton County, Ohio.
What does it mean to you to carry on the family legacy?
Bill: My dad’s been farming here since 1948. We’ve lived here all our lives. I am the baby and I’m the one who decided I wanted to farm. Kyle is the baby of this family, and he went to ATI for two years, graduated in 2018 and came home and started farming with us. I always wanted to farm and Kyle was the exact same way. From the time we could walk, it seemed like we were involved in the farm. Something we’re very proud of is our generational legacy and of all the work my dad did to get to where we are now.
Kyle: My sisters and I grew up on the farm and learned how to work. We got home from school at four, we put our boots on, milked cows for three hours and came home to eat supper, do homework and go to bed. That instilled a lot of work ethic in us and made us who we are today. And we wouldn’t change it for the world.
You recently built a new barn. What features did you include to help keep your cows comfortable?
HEAR FROM THE FARMER
Hear Bill Daugherty explain how he reuses water, sand and manure on his farm.
Bill: We visited a lot of farms before we built ours – probably 20 to 30 robotic farms before we built. We looked at nine different spots on our farm and decided to build on top of the hill. We have very good natural ventilation up here to help with cross ventilation for the barn to keep the cows comfortable. So that was the main reason we chose the site. We’ve got the barn set at a 2% slope for our flush system and we’ve also included 32 three-phase variable speed fans in the barn.
We also have sprinkler systems over the feed bunks. If it’s over 80°F, the outside fans slow down for 40 seconds, the sprinklers soak the cows for 40 seconds, then the fan speeds up again to basically help evaporate that moisture off of the cow. It’s most efficient way to cool a cow and that’s worked very well to keep our cows comfortable throughout the summer. We installed cow brushes and the cows absolutely love them. They brush their head, brush their back and brush their butt. There’s usually a line of cows lined up to the brushes. They really enjoy them.
What are some sustainability practices on your farm?
Bill: We have a flush system in the barns on a 2% slope. So basically, we’re recycling used water and flushing it down the alley seven times a day. It does a great job of keeping the alleys clean and keeping the cows’ hooves clean. The cows also lay on sand beds. We recycle the sand and use a sand shooter to blow the sand back into the free stalls. So we’re recycling the water, we’re recycling the sand and basically recycling the minerals as organic fertilizer to put on the fields.
Dad started planting no till corn in about the mid-1970s and we’re pretty much 100% no-till planting now to try to keep the soil in place. My forefathers were able to build this farm up for my generation. We hope to make it even better to pass on to the next generations. We’re doing everything we can to be environmentally conscientious by taking care of our land and taking care of the earth. It matters because we have new generations coming.
Learn more about how the Daughertys have updated their farm with new techonology or meet more Ohio and West Virginia dairy farmers.