September 5, 2017 at 3:32 p.m.

Hyde Park Holsteins exceeds 32,000 RHA

Sand bedding, quality feed, good employees, keys to top producing herd
A cow at Hyde Park Holsteins rests on sand bedding in their freestall barn.<br /><!-- 1upcrlf -->PHOTO SUBMITTED
A cow at Hyde Park Holsteins rests on sand bedding in their freestall barn.<br /><!-- 1upcrlf -->PHOTO SUBMITTED

Hyde Park Holsteins
Kerwin, Sandy, Kevin and
Kay Siewert
Employee management team: Eric Hanson, Nick Hanson, Dan Hanson and Cameron Laqua
Zumbro Falls, Minn.
Wabasha County
483 cows

What is your current herd average, butterfat and protein? Our current herd average is 32,350 pounds of milk with 1,273 pounds of fat and 1,016 pounds of protein.

How many times a day do you milk? We have been milking the entire herd three times a day since the middle of 2008, which was right before we started using sand. Before this, we milked the high producing group of cows three times a day, the low producers two times and the fresh cows four times a day. We decided to switch the entire herd to three times a day because production was up, and we wanted to make the schedule more convenient. This allowed an eight-hour interval between milkings. We now milk at 2 a.m., 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Do you use BST? Yes, all cows receive BST at 51 days in milk until three weeks before they are dried off. Only cows with two consecutive DHIA somatic cell count tests over one million are taken off BST.

Do you contract your milk? Not currently, but we have in the past. We weren't very successful. We weren't that aggressive with it.

Describe your housing and milking facility. We have a double-8 parallel parlor we built in 1995. We built a freestall at the same time. In 2003, we added onto the freestall barn, and in 2011, we built a new freestall barn. We switched from mattresses and sawdust to sand bedding in January 2009.

What is the composition of your ration? What has been one of your most recent changes that has been successful for you? The ration for the herd is about half forage and half grain. The forage mix is 60 percent corn silage 40 percent haylage. It also contains three pounds of dry matter whey, corn, canola for protein, distillers and cottonseed. The biggest change that's been successful has been adding the whey about four years ago. It didn't really boost production much, but the components really took off. The cows also seem to like the taste.

Through the years you've been farming, what change has created the biggest jump in your herd average? When we switched to sand bedding on Jan. 1, 2009. They really took off after that. In the first year after putting in sand, production per cow went up 17 pounds.

What is your herd health program? Dry cows receive J-5, salmonella and Vira-Shield vaccinations and another booster of these vaccines later during their dry period. Six weeks before calving, they also receive Guardian and clostridia vaccination. During their lactation, each cow receives two more boosters of the J-5 vaccine.

What does your dry cow and transition program consist of? We take the temperature of all fresh cows every day for the first 14 days after calving. We give cows a 50 to 57-day dry period. When the cows are dried up, we use Tomorrow tubes and Orbeseal. The dry cows receive a ration which includes oatlage, corn silage, haylage and minerals. Four weeks before calving, the cows are moved into a prefresh group where they receive a ration of straw, corn silage, haylage, protein and distillers. When the cows are two weeks away from calving, they are moved to a bedded pack pen. After calving cows that are third lactation or older are given two boluses of Bovikalc, which is a calcium supplement.

What role does genetics play in your production level and what is your breeding program? Our herd has been bred using A.I. since the 1950s. We've always tried to select the best bulls. Now we rely heavily - about 80 percent - on genomic bulls. Bulls are first selected based on net merit. We like them to be at least 1,000 pounds for milk, 40 pounds for fat and 40 pounds for protein. After net merit, bulls are then sorted based on feet and legs, udder and productive life. The cows are put on presynch system with two lutalyse shots. The second shot is given between 51 and 61 days. If we visually see a cow in heat, or it is detected through the activity monitor, we breed the cows. If a cow is not bred after the second lutalyse, the vet checks her for a CL, and then she is started on an ovsynch program. If a cow is open when she is checked for pregnancy, she is started immediately on the ovsynch program. About 80 percent of the heats are detected by sight or by the activity monitors, which were installed in two years ago. The rest of the herd is bred using the ovsynch program. We pregnancy check the cows using ultrasound between 30-36 days every Monday. They are then rechecked at 60 days. The activity monitors have really helped us detect more cows in heat.

What would you say are the three most important factors for you that helped you attain your current herd average? The first is cow comfort. Sand is the biggest aspect of cow comfort. The cows lie down more and their production went up. Their hocks and feet are amazing compared to what they used to be on the mattresses with sawdust. The second aspect is feed quality. For the past two years, we've been doing our own chopping. That has really helped. We don't have to wait for when the custom guys can do it. We can harvest on our own schedule. We also get it done on time because we can get 350 acres chopped in one day. Using Silo Stop and having a good bunker face helps feed quality, too. The third most important aspect is having a quality team of people. The four members of the management team have been with the farm for long periods of time: Eric Hanson, 13 years; Cameron Laqua, 10 years; Nick Hanson, nine years; and Dan Hanson, eight years. In addition to these four, we have four full-time employees. We all work well together, and the management team works as if the farm was their own.[[In-content Ad]]


You must login to comment.

Top Stories

Today's Edition



27 28 29 30 31 1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30

To Submit an Event Sign in first

Today's Events

No calendar events have been scheduled for today.