That's fresh and unpasteurized, Ukrainians wouldn't have it any other way, they want to make their own cottage cheese at home and other products. Although not all milk is as high quality as ours, since not much milk goes into a refrigerated bulk tank, and some sellers are said to water it down at some point in the chain. which is why all the talk of selling milk to the EU is hard to believe, Traditionally the biggest market for Ukrainian milk was Russia, and that has been gone since they closed the borders to Ukrainian milk when the war began last year.
We hope to move the milk cows into the freestall barn in the next month, as soon as the parlor is ready (it needs to be assembled, now that the electricity is finally flowing into the transformer. They are coming to hook the barn to it Monday, the transformer had to "warm up" over the weekend.) Right now, they switch the cows in the stalls and the ones in the pen in the side at every milking, three times a day.
|our transformer (they guys dug a trench for the cable Friday)|
Economically everyone in the country is finding it hard to make ends meet, which is another reason for the low price of milk, people have less money to buy it. Everything has generally doubled in price, and imported stuff has skyrocketed. Last year the grivna tanked against other currencies, and although it has stabilized this summer to around 22 to a US dollar, (for years it was 8:1). It has really hurt regular people, fuel prices have doubled, and clothing, food, medicine but salaries and pensions have remained the same, and many people have lost their jobs due to the economy. Not to mention that electricity and gas prices are more than doubling, partly due to the loans Ukraine got, which demanded market driven pricing. Most houses in the village are heated by natural gas, but last winter when prices went up the first time, some people were burning wood to stay warm (some got cut off by the gas company, literally the cut the pipe to the house). There may not be many trees left next spring.
So this year we do not anticipate making a profit from the dairy end of the business. We pay three ladies to milk the cows, plus the students. Last year milk sales covered a lot of the expenses of running the school, but student salaries are about 27,000 grivna a month this year, since there are twice as many students. Then there are salaries for the group home parents and Maria too.
The corn crop looks unbelievable and is drying down nicely now. They didn't have to harvest many acres for silage to get more than last year in the bunker, and it looked yellow because of all the corn kernels in it. I was teasing Garry it looked like real silage this year. Most years he starts chopping it because the plants are dying instead of ready.
In a couple weeks they should combining the corn for grain to sell. They plan to feed more wheat than corn and sell corn and sunflowers, except what they owe for rents (there are 37 people who take crops and goods instead of cash for rent, they get 150 kilos of sunflower seeds, among other things) This year are feeding three times as much hay as other years and only buying a little brewers grain. Other years they have traded sunflowers for mucoka (the stuff that is left after they press the seeds for oil) to use as a protein supplement, but there is so much good alfalfa hay for the cows' protein needs, they won't need to this year.