WT Block Jr -- Dairy Farm
Dairy Farm’s End Stopped Wonder Bra for Milk Cows
By W. T. BlockReprinted from Beaumont Enterprise, Saturday February 13, 1999.
NEDERLAND—Please mo-o-ve over, my editorialist friend Dave Grimes (Enterprise, Jan. 30) and permit me to tell you about the world’s second-ranking milk producers in Nederland. Lohmann Brothers, who owned Port Arthur’s Home Laundry, also owned two cattle businesses, one of them being the Lohmann Ranch at Hamshire.
The other business was the Lohmann Brothers Dairy at Nederland, which in 1935 occupied all the land now owned by Doornbos Park, Hillcrest Elementary School, and a few neighboring sub-divisions.
The dairy owned a herd of sixty registered, highly in-bred Guernsey cows, the best of which could only produce 13 gallons of milk daily. And unlike the record-breaking cow Lucy, which had to drag its 12-foot-long udder across the prickly-pear pastures of North Carolina, the Lohmann cows got to stay in the big cow barn all day to eat their three square meals.
I remember too that I was infinitely qualified to discuss cow udders because in my youth, I had emptied at least 10,000 of them, entirely by hand and without the convenience of those huff-puff machines.
I suppose one of the joys of farm life was to squirt long streams of warm milk all over the barnyard cats’ heads and watch them lick each other bone dry.
Lohmann Brothers were cognizant of the bovine pain caused by a cow’s udder holding six gallons of milk. So they devised a "bovine brassiere," made of burlap sacks, to transfer the weight to the cow’s backbone.
As I sometimes walked through the big Lohmann dairy barn, I thought surely this place must be "bovine heaven." Lights were never turned off there because the cows’ third daily milking was at midnight.
A host of dairy employees worked on shifts to keep the barn scrupulously clean, weigh and deliver the cow feed ingredients, weigh milk and keep accurate records for each cow, hook up and empty the milking machines, and scour all machinery.
However the dairy herd may have been weekend by inbreeding, which accounted for the frequent veterinarian visits. The herd reacted to extremes of rain and cold, resulting in distemper-like illnesses, so they stayed all day in the barn.
Dairying was both a sideline for the Lohmann Brothers, as well as an experiment in livestock breeding and milk production. Eventually they grew weary of the venture, and they sold out in 1939 to Walling Jersey Farm, which quickly disposed of the Guernsey herd.
In 1935, Nederland was "Dairyland USA," for Rayford Guzardo, the feed store man, counted 36 dairies that were once located within two miles of the Nederland post office.
The passing of the dairy in 1939 was a sad day for me too, for I was just preparing to install machinery to manufacture from burlap the "bovine brassieres" for the Lohmann cows. However World War II came along about that time, and I quickly and "udderly" forgot all about my cattle brassiere plans.
W. T. Block of Nederland is a historian and author. His website is very large (350 articles) and is intended as an area history source for students.