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[Podcast] Grant Grinstead: elevating accuracy and efficiency with an automated feed system at Vir-Clar Farms

Progressive Dairy Published on 13 May 2020

Vir-Clar Farms near Fond du Lac, Wisconsin has elevated the accuracy of feed storage, mixing and delivery with an innovative feed center featuring an automated kitchen and on-site grain storage that saves them time and money. 

The 2,000-cow dairy is owned by Gary and Rose Boyke, along with their son J.R. Boyke and daughter and son-in-law, Katie and Grant Grinstead. We’re here at Vir-Clar today, sitting down in the feed center office with Grant. It was actually Grant’s experience in the pork industry that brought to the table concepts of efficiency, automation and accuracy that make this system work on their dairy.

Let’s hear from this self-proclaimed “pig guy” about how the automated feed center came to be, and how it’s working out at Vir-Clar Farms. 

 

 

Here is a breakdown of the episode:

  • (:57) Q: Take us back 5 years ago, to the time when Vir-Clar was growing the herd to 2,000 cows. What was the feeding system like then for storing feed and getting it mixed, delivered and fed? 
  • (2:20) Q: What “clicked” and made the light bulb go on in your head that there was a significant opportunity to save time and money by building a feed center on-site?
  • (4:45) Q: So from a concept to actually pouring concrete, what steps did you take to first evaluate the economics of a feed center? 
  • (6:48) Q: Can you visually describe what things look like at the feed center and the day-to-day operations for getting cows fed?
  • (16:38) Q: How long does it take to get the feed prepped for one day?
  • (18:03) Q: What steps did you take to construct this facility, when there wasn’t anything quite like it in the dairy industry to replicate?
  • (20:00) Q: Tell us about the technologies you’ve built into this design and how they help you to be more accurate and efficient. 
  • (23:18) Q: What are the key efficiencies and advantages you now have that you did not before?
  • (25:43) Describe what your automated system dashboard looks like, and what information you are pulling from it. 
  • (28:12) Q: How have your employees adjusted to these changes?
  • (30:35) Q: If you could start over from scratch, what would you do differently with this design? Why?
  • (33:00) Q: Do the napkin math for us. For other dairies intrigued by what you are doing, what does it take for a system like this to pencil out?
  • (36:50) Q: What opportunities for other efficiencies do you see when you look at the dairy industry?
  • (40:00) Q: When you are not thinking about ways to improve efficiencies on the dairy, what do you do for fun?
  • (40:50) Q: If people are interested in learning more about the system you have, how can people get in touch with you or find more information?

 

For questions regarding the automated feed center, Grant Grinstead welcomes inquiries via email to . Also, visit https://www.trioliet.com/.

 

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