Friday, Oct. 4, 12:00 p.m.
Hosted by: Drumgoon Dairy, Lake Norden, S.D.
1,950 Milking/Calf and Heifer Care
Sponsored by: Quality Liquid Feeds
Drumgoon Dairy made the move from Ireland to the U.S. in 2006. Rodney and Dorothy Elliott, along with their children David, James and Becky, wanted to expand their dairy, but were unable to do so in Ireland. After searching across Europe and finding limited opportunity to expand their dairy, the decision was made to build a new dairy in South Dakota. Over the last seven years, the Elliotts have focused their efforts on cow comfort and raising heifers. Calves are given the best start possible. Colostrum is collected and tested with a refractometer for quality. Within three days, calves are transitioned to one of the two automatic calf feeders. Calves are housed in small groups until they are weaned and transitioned again to a high energy diet. This helps heifers to reach a breeding weight of 800 pounds faster. Since implementing this heifer feeding system, heifers have gone from calving at 24 months to calving at 22 months. Currently, the 1,950-cow herd has a rolling herd average of 24,700 pounds of milk. After calving, heifers are moved into the cross ventilated barn to join the milking herd. Drumgoon Dairy contracts all their feed with neighboring farms. This ensures they are able to get local, high quality feed and keep their focus on cow comfort.
Friday, Oct. 4, 2 p.m.
Hosted by: Finger Family Farm, LLC, Oconto, Wis.
582 Milking/Cow Management
Sponsored by: Vita Plus Corporation
Currently in its fifth generation, the Finger Family Farm has witnessed its share of changes since the dairy's beginning in 1872. In 2008, the farm experienced marginal milk production, a high calf mortality rate and a high herd cull rate. With the dissolution of a business partnership, Jack and Nancy Finger capitalized on a fresh start with their son and daughter-in-law, Phil and Laura. They placed a higher priority on cow comfort and calf care. The family oversaw the building of a new freestall facility with wider and longer stalls for the 582-cow herd. Cows transitioned from mattresses to sand bedding which has led to improved foot and leg health. Calves moved to hutches and new heifer facilities were constructed in 2013. The family also focused more intently on feed quality and nutrition. These changes have shown in increased milk per cow. In four years, the Finger Family Farm has appreciated its average daily production to 100 pounds per day. Their current rolling herd average surpasses 30,400 pounds of milk with a somatic cell count under 150,000. They have reduced their calf mortality rate to below two percent, allowing the family to start marketing animals. All of these improvements have helped the farm to become more financially solvent in hopes to provide for the next generation.