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           Innovation
        Gordon Peterson took over management of the Colbrit farm in Agassiz from his father Barrie Peterson in the late 1990’s. Barrie, along with his parents, moved from Saskatchewan in 1943 with just a few cows on the farm. Gordon’s family consists of his wife Ruby, son Eric and daughters Amanda, Christine and Kimberley. Today Gordon, Ruby and Eric run the farm. Gordon thoroughly enjoys being his own boss, loves caring for his herd and being outdoors. The farm is entirely family run with no outside staff.
FARM FACTS:
• The farm currently milks 61 cows.
• The herd averages 41 kg/day milk/cow and 3.8% butterfat.
• The family farms 85 acres.
• Their crops are split evenly with 50% grass and 50% corn.
ADVANTAGES:
• The labour savings are substantial as less manpower is needed since the milking robots have been installed.
• Cow health has been good, and foot health has dramatically improved due to the addition of the sand lane.
• A significant technological update was the Holm and Laue Milch Taxi, pasteurizer, and milk dispenser, as it saves so much time and is
automated.
• Automatic feed pusher allows higher fresh feed intake.
CHALLENGES:
• The fire in 2018 was a challenge as it required a complete rebuild. The family’s cows needed to be kept at a neighbouring farm that had space, where they paid a
barn rent fee for close to 15 months.
• It took a few days for the herd to get used to the new milking systems technology.
• The planning took time. The Petersons looked at a couple of dairy farms in Chilliwack, as well as their neighbours and attended farm tours over the years to help them come
up with more creative layout ideas for the farm.
RECOMMENDATIONS:
When asked what recommendations he would provide to dairy farmers, Gord advises them to look around, do their homework in terms of what’s going on inside barns as that’s very important when
considering a remodel or re-build.
Speaking about his experience, Gord recommends that farmers have a good relationship with
those they choose to undertake this type of project. “Ensuring you’re surrounded by and working with good people will help you, in terms of builders, electricians and plumbers,” he
says. “They know what you need. It may cost more money, but having experienced people is worth it. Don’t scrimp, their recommendations and advice are important.”
 The Peterson family: (L-R) Eric; Ruby and Gord; Lily,
Alex, Amanda, Oliver and Hazel; Christine and Marshall;
Kimberly and Mike.
COLBRIT HOLSTEINS
By Reet Sidhu, BCDA
The farm name – Colbrit – is a combination of the words British Columbia, to tie in with its location and roots. Since the time that Gordon and Ruby took over the farm in the 90’s, the family’s biggest challenge was in 2018, when a fire destroyed their barn. The Petersons initiated a complete rebuild and the new barn was finished in December 2019. “Our neighbours and community were so wonderful to us during the fire in 2018 and throughout the rebuild process. The cows were kept at a neighboring farm that had space, and we’re so grateful for the support we received,” says Gordon.
The Petersons looked at the rebuild as an opportunity to upgrade equipment and add new technology to the farm. The most significant change was the addition of the Lely A5 milking robots – as the family previously used a milking parlour. The transition from the traditional-style milking parlour to robots was pretty smooth, and Gordon reports that the cows responded well. It took only five days to
learn the new digitized process. The new manure system they’ve added also saves much more time. Gordon shares that sand is the gold standard for udder health in his herd, and there’s also less slippage because of it.
“The Valmetal/US Farm systems flush system, sand lane and manure separation system installed by MB Agri Services (but now serviced by Mid Valley Manufacturing) has made the manure nicer to spread, the sand is flushed cleaner, and we save time,” says Gordon.
The Petersons’ goal for the family farm is growing the herd size somewhat as well as taking more time off. “Our current milking system could handle twice as many cows, so we have the capacity to do more,” he shares.
Visitors on Tour Day were impressed with the Lely-red epoxy feed bunk, bright, visible, fresh barn conditions, and comfortable, relaxed cows.
Fraser Valley Water Smart
      JOMAR CONSTRUCTION
            



























































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