History of the Farm
Originating in Corinna, Maine, the farm existed at the same location from the time the first settlers homesteaded central Maine in the early 1800s. Bob Nutter is the fifth generation of his family to farm land, first in Maine and now in North Carolina.
At the turn of the century, Bob’s grandfather purchased his first registered Holstein dairy cow. Holsteins are black and white, and produce vast quantities of milk with a moderate fat content. These Holsteins were imported from two provinces in the Netherlands; Friesland and North Holland both sit on the cold shores of the North Sea.
Over the years, the Maview herd has continued to develop. Milk testing (DHIA) and artificial insemination (using semen from superior bulls) ahve contributed the most toward the improvement of the herd. In July 1963, the Maview milking herd and bred heifers were sold. A better milk market and climate for double cropping was found in North Carolina. Within two months the calves, farm families and equipment moved 1,000 miles to the present location. Maple View Farm was back in business milking cows in Orange County, NC.
Maple View Farm Today
Maple View Farm is incorporated as a subchapter S corporation and has five full time employees.
Mike Strowd assumed active management at Maple View in early 2008. Raised as a local boy in rural North Carolina, Mike has been involved in the dairy business from Virginia to South Carolina. Wanting to get back to his roots, Mike got involved at Maple View Farm.
Mike and Bob Nutter, known locally as Farmer Bob, are co-owners of Maple View Farm, Inc. Mike is working toward ownership of the herd. Mike’s leadership assures quality stewardship of this land in the foreseeable future.
Bob, now semi-retired, is errand runner and tour guide at Maple View Agricultural Center. His wife, Chris, maintains the farm records on the registered cattle. Other key folks in the farm operation are Bob Jackson, herdsman, and Craig Bradshaw, crops/maintenance.
An on-farm bottling operation was chosen as the best option to increase dairy farm profitability. Roger Nutter, Bob’s son, and Russ Seibert created Maple View Farm Milk Company. Mike Strowd became co-partners with Roger Nutter in 2008. Roger is the plant manager. Peggy Hopkins is the office manager.
About the Land
The total amount of land used for the farming and dairy operations is 400 acres.
In December 1995 the first conservation easement on the farm proper (107 acres) north of Dairyland Road was granted to the local Triangle Land Conservancy. This easement designates that Maple View Farm land will be used for agricultural purposes or as open land forever. An additional 80 acres was added to the conservancy after 2005.
This land use plan to protect the farm was developed with the assistance of Brian Dobyns, a conservation land planner and designer, Piedmont Planning Associates, in Efland, NC. By placing a conservation easement on the farm, the value of the land was reduced for estate taxes. The plan allows continued agricultural use while reserving a few lots for family members in the future. Rural views, natural areas and prime agricultural soils are preserved.
Best management conservation practices were applied to Maple View farmland in the early 1930’s. The farm was owned then by Will Suit. Every effort has been made over the years since then to protect the streams which run through or originate on the farm and to conserve top soils for future generations who work the land and live here.
About the Animals
The Maview herd is an all Holstein herd.
Maple View Farm, North Carolina’s longest time Progressive Breeders Herd, received its first bronze bar in 1947. Ruth and Fred Nutter were the farm owners at that time. Fred, Bob’s father, later became president of the national Holstein-Friesian Association. It is now known as Holstein USA.
The Maview Prefix
Every animal at Maple View has a name and a herd number. The first name, or prefix, of each animal bred at Maple View Farm is “Maview”. This is a contraction of the first two words in the farm name. Any registered Holstein with Maview as a first name found anywhere in the world was bred on this farm.
This is Maview Pella Supersire
There are approximately three hundred (300) animals on the farm in total. Roughly one hundred and thirty (130) cows are in the milking herd at this time. The remaining animals are bred heifers, young calves and 2 bulls. Our Rolling Herd Average (production per cow) is 26,000 pounds of milk, 3.9% butterfat and 3.3% protein. Currently the average Maple View milking cow produces about eight 1/2 (8.5) gallons of milk each day. Comparatively, that’s one hundred thirty six (136) glasses of milk daily.
Milking is done in a double six herringbone parlor. The current facility was remodeled in 1982; the previous facility was a three-on-a-side opening parlor built in 1935. The cows are milked three times a day.
It takes about four minutes to milk each cow with a milking machine. Milking the whole herd takes about three hours. Digital meters and automatic take-offs assist the one person needed in the milking operation.
Each newborn calf is kept with its mother for the first day and then is taken to an individual house called a “hutch”. A larger calf facility houses older calves 2-3 months of age. Group pens for older heifers exist in two other barns. Calves are moved to pasture at 3-4 months old, weather permitting.
It is important to feed colostrum (the first milk from a cow who was just calved) to a newborn calf for the first day or so. Colostrum contains antibodies and nutrients from the mother to protect the newborn calf from many diseases. Fresh milk is fed to calves after that; dry milk replacer is used as needed. After 3 days calf grain is introduced. Calves are weaned around two months of age.
Heifers are raised as replacement cows for our milking herd or for sale as breeding stock. Heifers are bred artificially at fifteen (15) months of age or when they weigh 750-800 pounds. After a heifer is bred and checked pregnant, she is grouped with other heifers in a separate pasture.
It is of special interest to note that a registered bull is usually in the pasture with heifers who have been checked pregnant. The bull is always from one of our best cow families. His purpose is to impregnate any heifer who for some reason may miscarry during her pregnancy.
A waste storage facility was built in 1981. The stall area is scraped daily and pushed into the storage facility. The storage facility contents are regularly used as fertilizer on the land. Liquid manure is either sprayed or injected just under the surface of the land. Tremendous savings have been realized on the fertilizer bill due to this practice.
About the Crops
Approximately one hundred fifty acres are sown in barley in the Fall to be harvested in the Spring. Also each Spring, one hundred thirty acres (130) of corn will be planted. In August, this corn will be cut for silage and stored in trench silos. The mild North Carolina climate makes the double cropping of corn and barley possible.
Barley silage (with crimson clover), corn silage, grain (including ground corn and occasionally other grains) and whole cotton seed are mixed with the silage and fed free choice at the feed bunk. We grind our own grain on the farm.
This mix is fed to increase the protein content of the milk. Protein is becoming more and more important to the people who drink milk. The protein content in the milk given by the Maview milking herd enhances the good taste of Maple View Farm milk. No rBST is used on the farm.
Cows are fed from one of the trench silos twice a day. Heifers are fed in the pastures (where they live) or in the heifer breeding lot. Their diet consists of grass and a custom mix grain. The milking cows are kept in free stall areas while they are lactating.
Drought in the late eighties brought irrigation equipment into the forefront as a means of economic survival. Irrigation during the dry summers has increased hay and corn yields. In 1997 we ran out of water for irrigation in late August. In 1998 the last appreciable rain occurred in early June; early corn was cut four weeks earlier than usual. The third holding pond was built in 1994. When the forty year old original farm pond went dry in the summer of 1999, it was dredged and enlarged to increase its capacity for irrigation purposes. Luckily winter rains filled all the ponds.
Weather forecasters predicted another hot, dry year for 1999. We hustled that spring to get corn seed planted while the ground still had moisture in it. For most of the summers since then we have experienced long periods of drought. Water tables have dropped. An existing well was extended and a fourth well completed in 2001 to meet the needs of both bovine and human habitation of Maple View, as well as for sanitizing the milking parlor and bottling plant equipment.
The Future of Maple View Farm
Over ninety years have passed since the first registered Holstein came to Maple View Farm. Progress continues through day to day application of experience, knowledge, new ideas and technology.
The future looks bright for the Maview herd under Mike’s leadership. As he and his family continue this dairy business into the 21st century, there is great satisfaction in knowing that the bovine ancestors of his herd will have roots in the Maview herd which originated in Maine so many years ago.
Goals & Objectives
1. For Maple View cows to produce the highest quality milk possible.
2. For Maple View Farm Milk Company to bottle and distribute the freshest high quality milk products for local consumers.
3. To promote milk and dairy products as an excellent source of nutrition.
4. To develop educational experiences for school children and adults and to help them understand where milk really comes from and how it is processed.
5. To preserve the rustic rural character of our naturally beautiful countryside as growth continues from Chapel Hill/Carrboro and the Research Triangle area.
6. To protect and promote preservation of prime agricultural topsoil in Orange County.