Erica Hermonot observes one of the four robotic milkers at Fairholm Farm in Woodstock
ROBOTIC MILKER: Erica Hermonot observes one of the four robotic milkers at Fairholm Farm in Woodstock.

Next adventure for Connecticut dairy farm of the year: Robotics

Fairholm Farm is the winner of the 2018 Connecticut Dairy Farm of the Year.

Editor’s Note: This is the latest in a series of stories on the New England Green Pastures Program winners. They will all be honored at the upcoming Big E next month.

The owners of Fairholm Farm in Woodstock, Conn., pride themselves on providing the highest level of care for their animals. They also pride themselves in being on the cutting edge of dairy technology.

Fairholm Farm is the 2018 Connecticut Dairy Farm of the Year.

BARRETT LEGACY: Fairholm Farm in Woodstock has been in the Barrett family since 1920.

As more than 300 cows enjoyed a cool breeze flowing through the farm’s modern free-stall barn on a recent day, the judges who evaluated the farm talked about the changes four generations have made since the property was purchased in 1920. 

Strawberries, cottage cheese and high-quality milk are things the Fairholm Farm family — Diane Morin and her husband, Todd, and their daughter Erica Hermonot and her husband, Jon — have become known for.

The farm grows 800 acres of corn silage and haylage. The harvested feed is put under plastic to ferment for year-round feeding. The challenge is keeping the air and water out of the stored forage to reduce losses due to mold. Todd said that he wishes the crows, looking for corn under the plastic, would hang out somewhere else other than the top of the silage pile.

The farm has seen many improvements in the past 10 years, such as a new barn, shop and manure storage. The family’s most recent "adventure" has been the installation of four DeLaval robotic milkers, which have reduced labor costs and provide extensive computer data to the herd management team.

FAMILY BUSINESS: The current owners of Fairholm Farm include Todd (left) and Diane Morin, and Erica and Jon Hermonot. Also pictured are the Hermonot's three children: Kenzie, Ben and Alex.

The new office is welcoming for evening computer viewing. There is a white board covered with cows to watch, benchmarks to reach and goals needed to allow the farm to remain profitable despite the low milk prices. 

Source: University of Connecticut Extension

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