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Nearly 400 attend Pennsylvania dairy open houses

Published on 11 August 2010

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The Center for Dairy Excellence in Pennsylvania hosted “Open House and Dairy Tours” at three dairy farms this summer. The events were held at Central Manor Dairy, owned by the Harnish family in Washington, Boro; Woodedge Dairy, owned by the Kauffmans in Reedsville; and Zylstra Dairy Farm Inc. owned by the Zylstra family in Freidens.

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Nearly 400 people attended the three events, with folks coming to see other farms’ best management practices, get new ideas to take back to their own farms, and to learn more about Center for Dairy Excellence resources. A key aspect of each event was the opportunity to tour the farms, showcasing new innovations recently invested in by the host families.

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The Harnishes recently build a new compost barn capable of housing 48 milk cows and 24 dry cows. According to their veterinarian Dr. Robert Stoltzfus, the barn has helped to improve cow comfort.

The new barn has aided in the Harnishes’ transition cow management, with very few metabolic disorders in the herd.

At Woodedge Dairy, the Kauffmans have done an excellent job utilizing existing facilities while expanding their herd to 120 cows. The Kauffmans recently built a 126-cow open front freestall barn and renovated their existing tie stall barn into an eight-cow, step-up, walk-through parlor.

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The Zylstra family came to Pennsylvania in 2008 from California and has brought a different mindset to dairying in Pennsylvania, according to their veterinarian David Welch, who says that, instead of focusing on everything, Andy Zylstra focuses on the cows and he does it very well. The Zylstras built a double-ten rapid-exit parallel parlor and house their animals in a freestall barn bedded with a neighbor’s digested manure. PD

Information and photos provided by Jayne Sebright of the Center for Dairy Excellence

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