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Peruse practical information for the dairy producer on essential topics including management, A.I. and breeding, new technology, and feed and nutrition.

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Thirty years of standing over an air-hammer breaking out perfectly good dairy barn floors because the top eighth of an inch on the surface is wrong gives someone a lot of time to think, “There has to be a better way!”

Is it possible to install a floor texture to give livestock good traction without costing a lot of money; not creating problems with falls (too smooth) or hoof wear (too rough)?

The answer is yes!

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With milk prices having reached near record highs just a year ago and the outlook for international demand for U.S. dairy products remaining strong, it is understandable for dairy producers to be looking at future expansion plans. However, these plans should be contemplated with a number of considerations in mind. Here are several points to keep in the forefront of planning an expansion.

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Building a new milking facility is a stressful time for everyone involved, especially the cows. In the midst of stress, it’s absolutely critical that you focus on the cows – their performance and health ultimately dictate the profitability of the new expansion.

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Maurie and Rita Young, owners of Emerald Spring Dairy in Plainview, Minnesota, saw an opportunity in November 2005 to expand their 500-cow operation. Heijwood Dairy, a neighboring farm located directly across the highway from their farm, went up for sale. Although the Youngs believed purchasing the farm would be advantageous, they also knew it would tighten their equity position and decided it was more of a “squeeze” than they were comfortable with taking.

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A necessary evil in the business world is change. Capitalism stretches every business to adapt to changes in the marketplace or be replaced by a business that will change. Each of us knows the phrase “no pain, no gain.” The business of dairying is not immune to these principles. For good or bad, the lifestyle that dairying has availed us for many years is being pushed by the marketplace to become more efficient. Don’t get me wrong, I know that innovation and husbandry will always be a part of the dairy industry, but efficiency and adaptability to changing markets are two principles that cannot be overlooked.

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Even at 11 years old, Jouni Pitkaranta of Seinajoki, Finland, knew he wanted to be involved with agricultural architecture.

“I did my first cow barn drawing, and I could say that even from that moment, I thought this is my future,” he recalls.

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