Dale and Mariah McCullick III
Wauzeka, Wisconsin
Crawford County
40 cows

How did you get into farming? I didn’t grow up on a dairy farm, but Mariah did. I worked on my relatives’ dairy farms growing up, and in high school I worked for a hoof trimmer in the summers. In 2014, I bought a group of springing Holstein heifers and made an arrangement to keep them at and work for Chad Sime. He really helped me get my start.
    
What are your thoughts and concerns about the dairy industry for the next year? I worry about the rollercoaster ride we are on with prices. I also worry about all the empty barns you see around that will probably never have cows in them again. That makes it really hard for a young guy like me to get started.
    
What is the latest technology you implemented on your farm and the purpose for it? We just started on our own about a year ago in a rented barn, so we haven’t implemented any real technology updates. In the future, I would like to get good automatic take-offs.

What is a management practice you changed in the past year that has benefited you? Anything that is over 100 days in milk and hasn’t shown a good natural heat, we ovsynch; if they don’t have a CL, we use a CIDR. That has been working well for us. We’ve been having good success with it.

What cost-saving steps have you implemented during the low milk price? I quit feeding milk replacer and started feeding whole milk. It pencils out at $80 a bag for milk replacer versus $14 milk.
    
How do you retain a good working relationship with your employees? We are small enough we do not have any employees.
    
Tell us about a skill you possess that makes dairy farming easier for you. I have a lot of patience with the animals, even when they are being difficult to work with. I am very observant and can notice little things that might be off. I also have a pretty good memory for remembering due dates, calving dates, etc.
    
What do you enjoy most about dairy farming? I enjoy the cows. I could spend all day in the barn, but I hate driving tractor.
    
What advice would you give other dairy farmers? I would advise other dairy farmers to maintain good foot health. The cows perform a lot better with four good wheels.
    
What has been the best purchase you have ever made on your farm? We have a lot of water that will run in the one side of the barn when it rains and fill the gutter. I bought a high-powered sewage pump. It helps make the bad days not quite so bad.
    
What has been your biggest accomplishment while dairy farming? Paying off my first group of cows.
    
What are your plans for your dairy in the next year and five years? I would hope to be able to purchase a place or to find a place with a long-term lease. We are losing the lease one our current farm in the spring. I just really want to be able to stay in the game and keep dairy farming.
    
How do you or your family like to spend time when you are not doing chores? We spend a lot of time doing chores and at the barn, but we enjoy hanging out with friends, and sometimes trying to get out for a nice supper somewhere.