Dairy Profile

Matthew Tyler of Tyler Farms | Granton, Wisconsin | Clark County | 120 cows

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Matthew Tyler of Tyler Farms | Granton, Wisconsin | Clark County | 120 cows

How did you get into farming? I was born into it. I am a fifth-generation farmer, with my parents, David and Karen, and my grandma, Lucille. My grandpa, Roger, was involved in the farm until he passed away last fall. It is what I always wanted to do.

What are the most significant ways your farm has changed since you started farming? In 2008, we built a freestall barn and retrofitted a parlor into our old heifer and dry cow barn to move out of our stanchion barn. We went from daily hauling manure to a liquid slurry. The size of the equipment we operate has changed. The largest tractor my grandpa ever had was a 45 horsepower, and now, our largest tractor is a 215 horsepower.

What was a challenge you faced in your dairy farming career and how did you overcome it? We went through stray voltage in the new construction in 2009 and ended up having isolators put on the incoming power. That was a really difficult time, and we lost a lot of cows. We had to work with the power company, our electrician, our nutritionist and our veterinarian to correct the problems and begin building back. It took us over three years to get through it.

What is the best decision you have made on your farm? Investing in CowManager was the best decision we have made. We were struggling to get our heifers bred. We were not catching them in heat at the right times. We went nearly three months without a heifer checked pregnant. Our breeder suggested we look into it, and we’re glad we did. It has been a lifesaver. We went from having 10 or so cows on shots each month to only having one or two. It has helped us cut down on our costs a lot.

What are three things on the farm that you cannot live without? I couldn’t live without the technology that we have available to us that helps us be more efficient and productive. I also couldn’t live without the team we have supporting us, from our family to the sale barn, the different salesmen, our mechanic, our nutritionist and our veterinarian. Regardless of your size, no one dairy farms alone. 

What are your thoughts and concerns about the dairy industry for the next year? I’m really concerned about the prices we’re facing: everything from milk, meat, corn and soybeans to parts and all the other input costs we incur.

What strategies do you use to withstand the volatile milk prices? We strive to keep our components high and focus on growing good, quality forages and grains. We also dry off tail-enders early and cull do-not-breed cows. I try to be vigilant about watching the markets to make the best decisions possible. And of course, as my dad always says, don’t break anything.

How do you maintain family relationships while also working together? We have no outside employees. Only family members work on the farm. Having family meetings and discussions helps allow for open and honest communication. That is vital to our farm being successful.

What do you find most rewarding about dairy farming? I love watching a calf that I was there to deliver grow and thrive. I enjoy watching that calf join the milking herd in two years and seeing her reach her potential. We’re small enough that we are all involved in all aspects of running the farm.

Tell us something special about your farm. We are a fifth-generation family farm. My grandpa used Allis-Chalmers tractors. You don’t see many of those around anymore. We have 18 tractors, including seven collector tractors. My grandpa was big into that.

What are your plans for your dairy in the next year and five years? We’d like to build a new heifer barn. Our heifers are housed in our renovated stanchion barn, but that is starting to get tired. Robots and a little expansion are something that we might like to look into at some point, along with possibly adding a heated shop, different manure storage, and extra feed and grain storage. Anything is possible really, and everything will depend on what the milk prices do.

How do you or your family like to spend time when you are not doing chores? I enjoy playing cards with the neighbors, watching Green Bay Packers games and NASCAR races, riding motorcycle, and deer and waterfowl hunting.

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