I’m here to dispel one of the rumors going around about farmers.


There are a lot of lies, half truths and rumors out there about farms and farmers. The one that I have been thinking about a lot lately is one that is near and dear to my heart. It is such a prevalent rumor that even other farmers believe it and spread it around. Making this one pretty tough to stomp out.

Sunset from our front yard.

Sunset over a neighbors farm.

All farmers are morning people/All farmers get up before dawn/All farmers get up with the sun & go to bed before dark.

It’s simple not true! While many of the dairy farmers on our road and in our area start milking cows between 5 and 6 am, not all of us are ready for such vigorous activity so early in the morning. Hubs and I are not morning people. Surly, cranky and extremely irritable are the best words to describe us before about 8am. Honestly it’s so bad that we have made a pact to not even talk to each other for at least the first hour of the day. Now this doesn’t mean that night owl farmers do less work in the day or that our day is shorter that other dairy farmer’s day. It just means that the start and end time of our day is shifted to match our personalities.

Here are the facts-

Dairy cows are milked either two times a day or three times a day on dairy farms. The milkings are usually spaced out evenly in a 24 hour time frame. Most of the dairy folks that milk 2 times a day around us start milking at 5am and 5pm or 6am and 6pm. The farms that milk 3 times a day usually space the three milking times 8 hours apart and the times vary to whatever fits their farm. The average Wisconsin dairy farm milks about 100 cows. Milking 100 cows will take anywhere from 2.5 hours to 4 hours depending on the setup the farmers milk in. FOr those of you not good at math that means at least 4 hours a day are devoted to milking the cows. The feeding, cleaning, veterinary care and any field work has to be done around the milking times. You can’t just skip a milking or move around the milking times because you have stuff to do. Dairy cows need to be milked at least twice a day and they do not like to wait!  Now not only does this schedule mean early mornings it also means that evening events that occur before 8 pm or so can be difficult to get to on time since milking is the number one priority on dairy farms. Hubs and I plan on milking at 10am and 10pm when we are running our own farm. It will enable us to attend evening functions and have one less reason to growl at each other everyday and besides, I think sunsets are prettier than sunrises anyways.

My favorite photo of all time. Sunset over Rock Lake. I took this on Hubs and my "Honeymoon" Which consisted of sub sandwiches down at the lake on the Monday night after we got married. We went back to work on Tuesday.

14 Comments on I’m here to dispel one of the rumors going around about farmers.

  1. Steph
    February 7, 2012 at 3:10 pm (8 years ago)

    Well Carrie we are 4:15am risers here. 😉 Not saying that I love it but I am glad to get so much done and the sunrise looks pretty neat coming through the barn fans. It takes us a little over 3 hours to milk which we don’t think is too bad because we have to switch out the cows and clean up etc. Of course there are alot of other things we have to take care of also, so we feel like we spend more time in the barns than the house somedays, but we take full advantage of our quiet afternoons… (nap) shhh… lol. To each farmer may the way that suits them best be the “right” way. Beautiful pictures 🙂

    • Melannie
      February 8, 2012 at 7:44 pm (8 years ago)

      We too ( or more specifically my FIL & DH) are 4am / 4pm dairy farmers, I work in town so I don’t get up till 5:30 am to complete my chores, calves, chickens, goats and a like and leave by 6:45am. My MIL leaves at 5:45am to run a pig barn returns and feeds the calves in the evening between 4:30 – 5pm. Not one of us could be considered morning people, but habit is as you do.

      Still you want the best from me, let me have 8 hours sleep and a cup of coffee before you expect me to be a sunrise.

      • DairyCarrie
        February 8, 2012 at 8:49 pm (8 years ago)

        I try to live in a world where there is only one 4 o’clock, not two.

  2. ankita kumawat
    December 26, 2014 at 4:29 am (5 years ago)

    Hi, would like to know if its true that we you milk a cow early in the morning (before dawn) then that milk is more nutritious as compared to one which are milked later. Please let me know. thanks!!

    • dairycarrie
      December 26, 2014 at 8:04 pm (5 years ago)

      No. There’s no difference in milk quality based off of what time of day cows are milked.

      • ankita kumawat
        December 27, 2014 at 8:15 am (5 years ago)

        Thanks!! and wish you a very happy new year!!

  3. Laura W.
    April 10, 2015 at 8:06 am (5 years ago)

    That “myth” was the first thing I learned as a dairy farmers wife! My husband is NOT an early riser, and would prefer to start later (7am) and work later. We transitioned to robots in December which makes it a bit easier… but hopefully fieldwork will be starting soon and then it will be sun up to sun down and then some. 🙂 Thank God for Mountain Dew 😉

  4. jenn bugelow
    April 10, 2015 at 8:35 am (5 years ago)

    We milk at noon and midnight…the nice part about it is we have kids that are involved in sports so after milking and chores, family can watch them. When the game is over, it’s back to the fields (especially in the fall for corn and spring for field work).

  5. Gen
    April 10, 2015 at 11:01 am (5 years ago)

    I’m up at 3:30am everyday, milking at 4am, done at 8/8:30am and back at it at 3:30pm, done at 7pm … And I absolutely hate gettin up so early I am not a morning person .. However, I do enjoy having most of the day to get stuff done at home before going back to milk again and getting home at a decent time to have dinner with my guy and spend a bit of time together before bed 🙂

  6. Brenda
    April 10, 2015 at 12:30 pm (5 years ago)

    I relief milk….so my day can start anywhere from 1:30am to 5:00am.
    If you have to get up to an alarm clock,it really doesn’t matter what the time is (given enough strong black coffee)…it’s trying to live with other people that keep normal hours that sucks 😛

  7. Maureen
    April 10, 2015 at 2:22 pm (5 years ago)

    We milked at 7:00am and 7:00pm when our kids were in school so we could go to after school sports and watch them play whatever sport they were doing then, We changed milking time when they got to high school so we could go and watch them then.

  8. Veronica
    February 8, 2016 at 1:35 pm (4 years ago)

    I don’t understand and please don’t laugh or anything but why do cows have so much milk? And what happened to them before people starting milking them? I want to ask a lot and I have heard so many things that are opposite it gets really confusing Thank you. PS it seems like you would be so tired all the time!

    • dairycarrie
      February 8, 2016 at 1:50 pm (4 years ago)

      Great question Veronica. Dairy cows have been bred to produce milk for thousands of years. When people first domesticated the cow, the cows that produced the most milk were the cows that they kept, those that didn’t became beef. Today we continue to use the best bulls possible to make the future generations of Dairy cattle, stronger, healthier, more feed efficient and better milkers.
      Just like how all dogs came from wolves but the dachshund was bred for digging and hunting and a labrador was bred for swimming and retrieving.

      • Tesh
        March 2, 2016 at 11:23 am (4 years ago)

        We start milking at 4am 4pm most afternoon’s if there are no hold up’s like visitors turning up right at milking time Dairying is hard work & very constant you have to have a passion for it but it is a lovely watching the sun come up what really cheeses me of is people who say o you would be millionaires what a joke!! Obviously these people have never had a dairy farm and obviously have no idea