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0909 PD: Progressive Events: Southwest Dairy Day highlights newest technology

Robert Burns Published on 05 June 2009

A rotating milking parlor, weeping-wall manure-settlement basin, cross-ventilated dairy barns that work like huge swamp coolers – all were features at a Southwest Dairy Day held May 8 near Dublin.

More than 600 people and 70 agricultural business vendors attended the event, which was hosted by Sierra Dairy, said Dr. Todd Bilby, extension dairy specialist.

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Owned by the Vander Horst family, the Sierra Dairy milks 3,500 cows twice daily; fresh cows, four times a day, with a production ranging from 57 to 65 pounds of milk per cow per day, Bilby said.

“Alan Vander Horst has opened up his dairy, which is one of the state-of-the-art facilities in Texas,” Bilby said. “You can see a lot of things here that are state-of-the art, including a 60-cow rotary milking parlor and a three-way crossbreeding program.”

Attendees were also treated to a bus tour of Sequoia Calves, which is the only cross-ventilated replacement cow barn in the U.S., Bilby said.

“The facility has more than 1,000 calves under one roof,” Bilby said. “It has no cooling pads on one side, it’s just open ventilation.” PD

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