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1409 PD: Argentina dairy one of eight virtual tours

Published on 21 September 2009

Dairy operations from coast-to-coast in the U.S. and Argentina will be featured at the 2009 World Dairy Expo, held at the Alliant Energy Center, September 29 to October 3.

Virtual farm tours will focus on a variety of management topics, including: cow comfort, grass-based forages, sexed semen, calf comfort, transition cows, modernizing the family farm, feed additives and integrating technology.

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Free tours will be presented daily, Tuesday through Saturday, in the Mendota 1 meeting room in the Exhibition Hall.

The producers and managers will present a half-hour pictorial view of their operation, including general operation information and highlights of exceptional management practices. Time for questions and discussion will follow.

Tuesday, September 29, 2 p.m.
Valley Vu Dairy, 700 Milking Cumberland, Wisconsin

Utilizing technology for cow comfort: Dan and Pam Schullo of Valley Vu Dairy understand the importance of cow comfort, especially during the summer months. Since the couple started farming in 1976, they have been quick adapters of the latest advances in cow comfort, from the advent of mattresses to a state-of-the-art sprinkler system.

When they built a new freestall barn last year, the Schullos were able to add several advanced cooling technologies, including a thermostat-controlled fan sprinkler system. As the temperature rises, the intervals between sprays are shortened. Additionally, the new barn features larger fans, increasing air flow while reducing the amount of noise.

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Installing 12-foot water troughs has also been advantageous, making sure there is enough space for all animals to drink, including less aggressive heifers.

Wednesday, September 30, Noon
Fietzer Dairy Farms, Inc., 210 Milking Manawa, Wisconsin

Grass-based forages increase profitability: When cousins Craig and Kyle Fietzer assumed responsibility for Fietzer Dairy Farms, they saw the potential in using grass forages as a means to increase herd health and productivity. The Fietzers started by balancing the ration, leading to a 20-pound increase in production.

In 2006, they started planting grass in an effort to help battle displaced abomasums. After the introduction of the grass/forage blend, the incidence of displaced abomasums declined dramatically, making the switch to grass a valuable change. Nearly 160 acres is put into an alfalfa/grass blend, which is used for silage and bales for dry hay.

Additionally, the blend has been helpful in weed suppression, making better-quality forage. With the improvement of stall comfort and ventilation, Craig and Kyle have achieved another 7-pound increase in production. Currently, Fietzer Dairy Farms has a daily production of 67 pounds per cow.

Wednesday, September 30, 2 p.m.
JER-Z-BOYZ Ranch, 2,700 Milking Pixley, California

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Success with sexed semen: Sexed semen has made all the difference at JER-Z-BOYZ Ranch. The dairy is owned and operated by Gary and Donna de Graaf, along with their two sons Dustin and Daniel, and their young families. JER-Z-BOYZ has focused heavily on marketing quality replacements to both conventional and organic dairy producers.

Currently, sexed semen is used on all heifers and approximately 90 percent of the milking herd on first and second services. The comprehensive breeding program incorporates proven sexed sires which are used predominately on heifers and selected individuals in the milking herd; sexed young sires are used in the majority of the milking herd.

Over the past three years, merchandising has shifted from selling heifers that are five to six months old, to selling heifers that are 12 to 16 months old (to calving every heifer born on the farm with sexed heifer semen and selective fresh cow merchandising).

JER-Z-BOYZ Ranch had 3,848 live calves born on the farm in 2008 and bred just over 1,000 additional heifers with the use of sexed semen.

Thursday, October 1, Noon
Tauscher Farms, Inc., 250 Milking Green Bay, Wisconsin

Calf comfort: The Tauschers emphasize the importance of calf care. The future of their dairy herd relies on the latest in technology to maximize growth and potential. Brothers Al, Ray and Mark own and manage Tauscher Farms, Inc.

In 2008, they built a 100-by-280-foot plastic covered building to help manage animals and manure better. With the calves and heifers now on the same farm as the cows, more individual attention can be given to each group. The barn provides ample light, and tunnel ventilation delivers adequate fresh air and improved circulation.

Additionally, the barn was outfitted with waterbeds for larger bred heifers while younger animals are on pillow-like mattresses. Tauscher Farms has a rolling herd average of 26,085 pounds and a somatic cell count of 120,000.

Thursday, October 1, 2 p.m.
Stone-Front Farm, 400 Milking Lancaster, Wisconsin

Facilities for transition cows: For over 100 years, Stone-Front Farm has been utilizing cutting-edge research to help make the dairy more profitable. In 1997, the farm was moved to its present location in Lancaster, Wisconsin. Since the move, the herd has steadily grown from 65 registered cows to 420 registered cows, resulting in the need for new facilities.

Stone-Front partnered with the University of Wisconsin – School of Veterinary Medicine and University of Wisconsin Extension to design and build a state-of-the-art facility that focuses on transition cow management. The new facility was designed to minimize stress on cows at this critical time.

Friday, October 2, Noon
Voegeli Brown Swiss Farm, 190 Milking Monticello, Wisconsin

Modernizing of a growing family farm to provide opportunities for continued development and the next generation: Voegeli Brown Swiss Farm expanded its operation while still using existing facilities to support a mid-sized herd. The first phase of expansion included a three-row freestall barn with 146 sand stalls.

Two years later, a new parlor was retrofitted in the original barn that had been in use for the past 90 years. The new facilities improved labor efficiency without compromising herd health and performance of the 190 milking cows on this fifth-generation farm.

Voegeli Farm was established in 1854 and since then the Voegeli family has created a long tradition of breeding, developing and marketing top-shelf Brown Swiss cattle and genetics.

Friday, October 2, 2:00 p.m.
Schutte Dairy Farm, 120 Milking Monona, Iowa

High-quality forages/Feed supplements enhancing production: Producing high-quality forages is what the Schutte family does best. Schutte Dairy is owned and managed by Lance and Jonna Schutte. Alfalfa, corn and oats are grown on 300 acres. In 2008, the haylage had a relative feed value of 182 and corn silage had 30-hour NDFD of 60 percent.

To maximize the digestibility of these high-quality forages, they feed supplemental sugar to complement starch from corn silage and ground corn, to achieve optimal rumen fermentation. The herd is a combination of Holsteins, Brown Swiss and Ayrshires that are fed a 60 percent forage ration.

By adding a liquid supplement to the ration, they can minimize sorting and increase intake consistency. The results speak for themselves. Earlier in 2009, the herd achieved a standardized average daily milk production of 101 pounds per cow per day with a rolling herd average of 31,875 pounds.

Saturday, October 3, Noon
Monte Chico, 360 Milking Ballesteros, Cordoba, Argentina

Argentine dairy integrates technolog:y Monte Chico has been in the Marinelli family for over 100 years. In that time, numerous technologies have been integrated into the farm, making Monte Chico one of the premier dairies in Argentina. Today, the dairy is home to 360 Registered Holstein cows with an additional 380 youngstock.

Monte Chico focuses on cow comfort by providing wide stalls for larger Holstein cows in the barns. To minimize stress on the milking herd, cows are milking twice daily during the coolest parts of the day. Milk cows rotate between different freestalls located across 168 acres. An additional 160 acres is used to raise crops. PD

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