Ostendville Farms - The Hartman Family
Steve Hartman believes that the main focus of Ostendville Farms is having fun - and part of that fun includes producing organic milk.
The Hartmans started farming with Marg's parents 27 years ago. In 1992, when the older generation retired and moved to St. Marys, Steve was intrigued and fascinated by his first introduction to organics at a meeting in Linwood, Ontario. "It was different from what I was taught at college,” he says, “but it made sense - working in harmony with nature instead of against it." Steve and Marg Hartman have five of their own children who help out on the farm.
Their 60 milking cows - a mixture of Dutch Belted, Holstein, Swedish Red and cross-breeds - spend much of their time outside year round. In the winter, the cows are fed corn silage, balage, dry hay and an oat/barley/pea mixture. In the summer months, they are rotationally pastured, usually coming to the barn only at milking times.
To support their dairy farm, the Hartmans also grow pasture, corn, soybeans, hay and mixed grain for cash crop.
Here's a great video that the Hartman's shot in the fall of 2010 and it shows how they bale hay to ensure that their cows get the highest quality feed during the cold winter months.
When the calves are group fed they are often fed organic milk through a group feeder. This video demonstrates what it looks like and how its used.