I began keeping milking records when my first cow, Blossom, started milking in September 2004. I milked her twice a day and would weigh her milk every morning and evening and record the weight on my paper chart.
My paper charts worked well, but I needed to add the daily totals at the end of every day and then the monthly totals at the end of every month--all by hand. Shortly after I discovered Microsoft Excel I spent a weekend programming a new milking chart that did all the math for me.
If you are milking a family cow--or a dozen on a small dairy--and want to keep daily milk records, I trust that my milking chart will be a handy resource for your farm.
The benefits of keeping milking records
The milking records that I keep for my cows is a handy resource, as I like looking back at previous years and never remember the details!
For example, one year I had a first-calf heifer that tried to dry herself off eight months after she calved. The next year she tried to dry herself off early again, and when I looked back at the my records from the previous year I noticed that there was a pattern. She was a funny cow that always tried to dry herself off eight months after she calved, and thanks to my milking charts I always knew to breed her back early.
One year I didn't get one of my first-calf heifers bred back right away, and when I finally dried her off seventeen months after her first calf was born I looked at my records and noticed that she was giving me about twenty pounds of milk a day when she first calved and was still giving me twelve pounds of milk a day when I dried her off.
Recording your weights
This milking chart was created in Microsoft Excel 2010, and will work with Excel 2007 and newer programs.
There is one sheet per year, and this milking chart will keep your going for eight years (2016 to 2023).
There are four rows per month: one for the morning milking; one for the noon milking (for fresh cows or cows that are being dried off), and one for the evening milking. The fourth row is for the daily total, which adds any weights that you've entered for that day.
The milking chart is programmed for recording pounds and ounces because weighing milk is more accurate than measuring it. (And yes, before you ask, I am a Canadian...but the weigh scale that I inherited from my grandparents is not metric!)
If you are looking to buy a weigh scale, I'd recommend the 7750 Digital Hanging Scale from Pelouze.
If buying a scale is outside of your budget, no worries; you can convert your volumes to weights, keeping in mind that one gallon of milk weighs about 8.6 pounds.
How to add additional sheets to your workbook
If your cow is still milking in 2024 and beyond, you can add additional sheets to your workbook. I highly recommend that you create a new sheet for 2024 before you begin filling in the 2023 sheet, because copying the sheet will copy all the weights that you've entered as well. But if you've already entered weights before you copy the sheet, no worries; you can delete all the 2023 weights from the 2024 sheet after you've created it.
To create a new sheet, right-click on the 2023 tab and then left-click on 'Move or Copy'. Scroll down to the bottom of the 'Before Sheet' box, left-click on '(move to end)', tick the 'Create a Copy' box, and then click on the 'Okay' button.
After your new sheet is created, right-click on the new tab, left-click on 'Rename', type in the desired year, and hit the 'Enter' key on your keyboard. Congratulations! You've created a new sheet in your workbook.
Leave a comment below to share where in the world you farm and what breeds you raise. I'd love to 'meet' you and your girls!