A 28-cow herd in Pennsylvania, where one-third of the milk is sold through a CSA (community-supported agriculture) subscription, does things a little differently.
First, heifers aren’t bred until three years of age. Cows get a full-year between pregnancies, with a six-calf maximum. And newborns stay with the dam for six full months.
Bull calves are put to work on the farm, providing the horsepower (or cowpower) to plow fields and haul firewood.
To make it all work, Gita Nagari Farm charges $10 per gallon to cover those costs, as well as that of retirement costs for older cows. The setup requires the certified organic Grade A farm to consider heavily the expansion of each cow, since another calf is a 20-year commitment.