Hyde’s Dairy Farm LLC in North Franklin is the 2022 Connecticut Outstanding Dairy Farm. Owner Dave Hyde and his team will be recognized at the New England Green Pastures award ceremony at the Eastern States Exposition in September. Dave’s father, Harry, helps wherever needed, Samantha Hoffman is herdsman, and there are also three part-time employees.
Dave and Harry purchased the farm in 2006 and converted an old barn into a step-in parlor with six units and automatic takeoffs. They are currently milking 55 cows and are producing 4,000 pounds of milk per day with an average 4.0% fat and 3.2% protein. Their somatic cell count is under 100,000, an indication of the high-quality milk.
Hyde’s Dairy Farm is a member of Dairy Farmers of America and keeps about 10% of their milk for Hyde’s Dairy bottling efforts. They started bottling milk because of consumer interest in locally grown in 2021. Milk is bottled at Terra Firma Farm Creamery in North Stonington, an on-farm state certified milk processing plant.
A variety of flavors are offered, including chocolate, coffee, strawberry, orange cream and caramel. Hyde’s Dairy also produces yogurts (plain, vanilla and five flavors fruit on the bottom) and seasonal eggnog. Products are sold at 13 local farmers’ markets and stores. Hyde’s Dairy offers online ordering with Barn2Door to deliver milk, meat and more direct to consumers at home. Their tagline is #milkoneverydoorstep.
“Bottling our own milk has given us the ability to donate chocolate milks to many community events and our local 4-H group,” Dave says. “We also supply milk for the Terra Firma Farm Give Gallons program, which purchases milk from local farms, pasteurizes and bottles, and then donates to the local soup kitchen. As a FFA alumni I truly believe in the future of farming and have given calves and cows to 4-Hers whenever possible.”
Cow comfort is very important at Hyde’s Dairy Farm. They use a bedded pack barn with open side feed alley, three giant fans, and cow brushes for scratching. The farm is feeding a ration with alfalfa, silage, beet pulp and straw.
The herd started with Holsteins and Dave started adding other breeds since they started bottling their milk. These include Brown Swiss, Jerseys, Linebacks, and Guernseys. The farm keeps their registered, higher genetic calves to raise and sells the other heifers to local farms.
Hyde’s Dairy Farm LLC has 130 acres. Of these, 70 are tillable and he rents an additional 30 acres for corn. The farm uses no-till seeding and custom silage harvesting.
Dave has also owned and operated a livestock transportation company for the last 20 years. It currently has four trucks that move cattle to market in the northeast. They work with many other farms in Connecticut to pick up, haul and broker livestock.
Congratulations to Hyde’s Dairy Farm LLC on their selection as the 2022 Connecticut Outstanding Dairy Farm for the New England Green Pastures award ceremony at the Eastern States Exposition in September.
Learn more about Hyde’s Dairy Farm at hydesdairyfarm.com/ and the New England Green Pastures program at thebige.com/p/agriculture/ne-green-pastures.
Article by UConn Extension; photos courtesy of Hyde’s Dairy Farm