When we buy milk, it's already in the carton or gallon at the store, but the milking process begins much earlier.
"This is where we milk the cows. There are twenty cows on this side and twenty cows on that side. It takes about ten minutes to milk a cow, including preparation work and so we milk forty cows at the same time. In total we milk about 1,000 cows three times a day." Pauline and John DeVos own Fox Dairy, located just seven miles from Plainview. With just eleven employees, the Fox Dairy milks 1,000 cows and produces 8,000 gallons of milk per day.
Once the milking is complete, the milk goes through the filtering process. John DeVos explains, "The milk from the cows comes through the pipeline into this tank, from his tank. It's being pumped out into the milk filters. In here it cleans all the debris that comes from the milk, cleans it all out from there, it goes through this line to the plate cooler where milk gets cool."
6,000 gallons of milk is stored at 36 degrees in two tanks. Then a milk truck comes and picks up the milk for processing. "From here, it goes to the processing plant where they do all sorts of things to it." John says, "This milk has about 3.2 percent body fat. They'll take out 1.2 percent body fat out and pasteurize it."
After the cows have been milking for two or three months, they will start breeding so they can have a calf and start the milking process all over again. "When they're pregnant, from 40 days to 180 days, they still milk to 210 days. Then we dry them and they take two month break and come in fresh again." Victor Mendoca is the Fox Dairy's herdsman who takes care of the cows. "We feed them in the morning and again in the afternoons. They got all kinds of grains and minerals. We got a nutritionist that comes once a month." That's important, because cows that are pregnant have a different diet than those who aren't. "All these cows they're dry cows, they're the ones on a two month break right now, they're not working."
Working is what the Fox Dairy cows have been doing since the dairy opened in September of last year, shipping out over 2 million gallons of milk and counting.
The DeVos moved their dairy operation from Canada to Plainview last year. Pauline says the dry, hot climate allows you to have a much bigger dairy and is cheaper to operate.
For NewsChannel 11's Consumer Connection, I'm Sharon Maines.