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Heifer facilities go on display

Karen Lee Published on 19 November 2009
A tour offered by the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin (PDPW) highlighted an array of heifer facilities in Northeastern Wisconsin on October 20. The busload of dairy producers traveled to four farms to learn about the structures and protocols implemented to raise healthy heifers.

Wiese Brothers near Greenleaf displayed barns that are set up in individual pens when the calves enter. However, when the calves reach 6 weeks old, dividers between the pens are removed, gates are swung and it opens up to a bedded pack barn for groups of eight.

Schneider Farms shared how it converted from a 700-cow dairy to a 3,800-head wet to springing heifer operation in Hilbert, utilizing a force-ventilated barn with individual pens, small freestalls, bedding packs, slatted flooring and large freestalls to house heifers for four nearby dairies.

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Group feeding with automated calf feeders was the focus at 3-D Dairy in Malone. They added 100 feet onto an existing calf barn, left 40 individual pens for calves birth to 7-10 days old and built four 25-calf group pens with automated feeding stations.

Abel Farms near Eden raises 1,450 wet calves and 1,300 heifers a year from its 1,500-cow dairy. Calves are housed in three tunnel-ventilated barns with individual pens. Bull calves are raised on the farm to sell as feeder calves at weaning. PD

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