September 5, 2017 at 3:32 p.m.
Center City, Minn.
44 milk cows
What is your current herd average, butterfat and protein? Our current herd average is 30,011 pounds of milk with 1,069 pounds (3.5 percent) of fat and 892 pounds (2.9 percent) of protein.
How many times a day do you milk? If you don't milk 3x a day have you tried it in the past? We have been milking three times a day since 1990. Lowell milks the 6 a.m. shift while the 2 p.m. milking shift is split. Jeff ends the day with the 10 p.m. milking.
Do you use BST? If so what is your protocol? We use BST on our extended lactation cows.
Do you contract your milk? Has it been successful for you? We do not contract our milk.
Describe your housing and milking facility. The cows are housed in our tiestall barn with thick rubber mats and chopped straw. We milk with a pipeline and Surge One Touch units with meters.
What is the composition of your ration? What has been one of your most recent changes that has been successful for you? Our ration consists of a custom mineral mix, roasted beans, a commercial protein mix, ground high moisture corn, with two-thirds haylage and one-third corn silage, five pounds of dry hay fed separately from the TMR. We find this ration effective and have not made any recent changes.
Through the years you've been farming what change has created the biggest jump in your herd average? Switching to three times a day milking. Before switching, cows would leak before milking. We also had a jump in production after we started using the TMR mixer.
What is your herd health program? We have a scheduled herd-heath check monthly for pregnancy checking and any other issues. The heifers are vaccinated twice with Bovi-Shield Gold. The cows get an annual booster shot.
What does your dry cow and transition program consist of? Between 45 to 55 days before calving, cows are given dry hay only to cut milk production. They are then dry-treated with Tomorrow. After that they are moved to pasture when available or are given corn silage and dry hay in a loafing pen. When close to calving, cows are fed extra dry hay with TMR, which continues until shortly after calving.
What role does genetics play in your production level and what is your breeding program? Genetics play a very important role. We have been breading A.I. since the 1960s. We try to choose characteristics to suit our needs. We have been using the Genex Map Program since the late 1970s. If they have not come into heat before 60 to 70 days, we use the Ovsynch shot program.
What would you say are the three most important factors for you that helped you attain your current herd average? The first is paying attention to detail and the second is feeding quality forages. All our forages are raised on the farm. By raising our own forages, we can control the quality. The third factor is receiving good educated advice from our vets at Grantsburg Animal Hospital, the staff at Federated Co-ops in Osceola and Mike Foust with Munson Lakes Nutrition.
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