Edgewood Dairy is an intensive, rotational grazing system. The cows on Edgewood Dairy are primarily on grass and enjoy all the aspects of being cows. The milk produced on Edgewood dairy is of the highest quality that offers a fresh taste, like no other. This quality raw material allows Edgewood Creamery to offer its customers a top quality product, not found anywhere else in the area.
We take extra special care with each of our cows. In order to produce a high quality milk our "girls" need high quality care. Each cow is looked after attentively and receive respect from all farm employees.
Our girls get to be cows the way cows used to be. Grazing is a natural instinct in cattle, and that is exactly what our girls get to do everyday, all year long. After each milking our girls rotate to a fresh pasture, allowing for the grass to replenish.
Our cows have relished many benefits from grazing pasture for many years. The Fletcher family has noticed an increase in butterfat and protein levels in their milk, which is perfect for producing quality cheeses. Along with a high-quality milk, the health and longevity of the cows has increased greatly since the switch to pasture-based dairying in 1997.
Edgewood Dairy is a certified ASAP farm (click here for details).
Edgewood Dairy has received awards for Innovative Dairy Farmer of the Year in 2008 and Dairy Farmers of America Member of Distinction in 2012.
Dairy Farmer, Charles Fletcher, attended a grazing school in 1997, afterwards he brought home a roll of polywire and the Fletcher family’s way of dairying was forever changed. “Cows on grass, who knew?”
Today, Charles and Melissa Fletcher, along with their children, own and operate Edgewood Dairy. The dairy is a pasture-based system located in the beautiful Ozarks of Southwest Missouri, where the prairie land meets the hills. The dairy’s 260 acres are made up of lush pastures. Alfalfa, Crab grass, and Matua are just a few of the varieties of grass the cows get to enjoy.
The rotational grazing system allows the cows to graze fresh pasture every 12 hours and as they rotate from paddock to paddock it also allows the grass to replenish and grow. This system is good for the cows and the land. It also makes delicious high quality milk. Yes, grass fed cows make the best milk!
The pasture-based dairy system has allowed a herd of 140 cows to grow to a 300+ milking herd. The cows are milked in a double 22 parabone milk parlor twice daily. “The girls” as they are called, are made up of crossbred animals. The Fletcher’s have learned over the years that a large Holstein is not the best cow suited for a grazing system. They needed a smaller framed animal for maximum grazing, so they began crossbreeding the Holsteins with Jersey, Swedish Red, and Friesian, thus they had an animal that was smaller in stature and more suitable for grazing.
The Fletcher’s raise all of their own replacement heifers in a seasonal rotation. With the majority of the herd calving in the spring it makes for a very busy February and March. They raise their heifer calves inside a calf barn for the first 8 weeks. This creates a healthy and dry environment for the calves as they are not subject to the harsh, late winter and early spring weather. Animal health is extremely important; a good start means a happy, healthy calf that will grow to join the milking herd as a quality animal with few issues.
It is a priority that the family produces high quality milk. With grass-fed cows their job is made easier, cows that are on grass are more sanitary than cows in confinement, that’s a fact. The need to keep things clean and running smoothly is something that is strived for daily. Maintaining a low PI and SCC, results in high quality milk. Perfect for creamery products!