By Tom Collins
ASPHODEL-NORWOOD — A Holstein dairy farm that is routinely named top-managed herd in its county has been named Peterborough Farm Family of the Year for the third time.
David and Cathy Stockdale of Embrdale Farm at Asphodel-Norwood said their farm is a true family affair with everyone involved. It also comes in handy with milking 66 cows three times a day in a 100-year-old tie-stall barn.
David’s father, Robert, first started milking three-times-a-day in September, 1989. Not wanting to expand the herd until his kids had graduated from college, Robert started milking three-times-a-day to get more milk out of the 34 cows. Back then, no one else in the area was doing three-times-a-day milking.
“We were the only crazy ones,” said David.
Three-times-a-day milking requires a good labour force, and the family all participate. David and Cathy milk in the morning, son Brett and his wife Erin milk in the afternoon and son Steven and his fiancée Kelsey milk in the evening. Their daughter Rebecca and son Cameron and his wife Emily also help out.
“We all enjoy being in the barn and looking after the cows,” said David, adding he enjoys milking so much he wouldn’t install a robot even if they built a new barn. “I’d sooner be in the barn than out in the field.”
The farm received its second Master Breeder shield this year and has been named Peterborough’s top managed herd for the past 11 years in CanWest DHI’s annual ranking. It was also crowned as having the top BCA — breed class average that measures milk, fat and protein — in six of the past seven years. The farm was second in BCA in 2015. The top farm was owned by David’s brother.
Embrdale Farm was also named farm family of the year in 2010 and 1993.