Page 1

Volume 17: Issue 5 July 2015

BOTTOM LINE Sharing ideas, solutions, resources and experiences that help dairy producers succeed.

Soil loss = transport mechanism + source AMBER RADATZ UW Discovery Farms

Part one of two

Proper use of antibiotics — see Page 5

Protect your soil — see Page 7

Dairy Market trends — see Page 9

Right now across Wisconsin there is a nice crop canopy of knee-high corn. This growth signals the end to the most vulnerable time for soil loss. In fact, University of Wisconsin Discovery Farms® Prog ra m d a ta shows that more than 80 percent of soil loss occurs in the months of April, May and June. Amber Radatz Although we may not be able to eliminate runoff, we can greatly reduce the amount of soil carried off our fields if we understand the two pieces of the soil loss equation: transport and source. For soil to move off of farm fields it takes runoff to transport soil and a certain level of vulnerability. If there’s a source and nothing to carry it, that soil may be vulnerable but it’s not going anywhere. The same is true for

Keep fields and pastures well-managed with adequate ground cover to avoid the risk of losing the most precious resource on your farm — the soil.

transport. When transport conditions and timing combine with exposed and vulnerable soil there’s a good chance loss is going to occur. April to June primary transport times Only a small amount of precipitation actually runs off fields. UW Discovery Farms has monitored runoff from Wisconsin farm fields for the past

12 years. On monitored fields, up to half of all annual surface water runoff and almost all soil loss occurred from April to June. Runoff dislodges soil from vulnerable areas and carries it off the landscape. Minimizing soil loss means working with factors that are within your control and adapting to factors outside your control. You can’t change the weather, but you can control your tillage and use of conservation practices. See SOIL, on page 2

Professional Dairy Producers™ I 1-800-947-7379 I www.pdpw.org


2 July 2015 • PDPW • Dairy’s Bottom Line

Soil

PDPW Board of Directors

Continued from page 1

President Mitch Breunig Sauk City, Wis. 608-643-6818 mysticvalley@wildblue.net

Walkovers identify sources of loss, help manage priorities UW Discovery Farms, on a mission to pinpoint both the transport and source of soil loss, conducted walkovers on more than 60 farms totaling more than 15,000 acres. Walkovers visually assessed the areas affected by surface water runoff and identified whether current management reduced the risk of loss. The end product was a snapshot of the interaction between landscape, farm practices and surface runoff. Walkovers complement traditional conservation planning. They identify and prioritize areas for simple and targeted solutions. Areas of concern are split into three categories: areas that only need maintenance, areas that need updates and improvements within the next few years, and areas that need improvements within the next 12 months. Often, entire farms are not in need of attention; relatively small areas can contribute the largest portion of total soil loss from a landscape. Surprisingly, vulnerable areas are similar across soil types,

Vice President Marty Hallock Mondovi, Wis. 715-495-2812 marbec@nelson-tel.net Secretary Kay Zwald Hammond, Wis. 715-796-5510 rfkz@centurytel.net Treasurer Charlie Crave Waterloo, Wis. 920-478-3812 charles@cravecheese.com

A well-maintained waterway can help reduce soil erosion.

landscape and systems. Next time you walk your farm, consider ranking the parts of your landscape that are vulnerable to loss. Look for places that show signs of erosion year after year. Reflect back on what your fields looked like the past three months. Was your soil exposed? Determine what tools you can currently use to minimize loss and how you might plan for the future. To learn what factors were common concerns during Discovery Farms’ walkovers

check out part two of this series. Amber Radatz is co-director of UW Discovery Farms and has spent the past decade working with dairy farmers on soil and nutrient-loss risk reduction. She can be reached at aradatz@wisc. edu or 715-983-5668.

Directors Brian Forrest Stratford, Wis. 715-650-0267 bforrest70@gmail.com Jay Heeg Colby, Wis. 715-507-0030 jcheeg@yahoo.com Jeremy Natzke Greenleaf, Wis. 920-371-1968 jnatzke@yahoo.com Dan Scheider Freeport, Ill. 815-821-4012 dnscheider@gmail.com

Dairy’s Bottom Line is published by PDPW in cooperation with Agri-View.

Linda White Reedsburg, Wis. 608-393-3985 linda@krdairy.com

1901 Fish Hatchery Road Madison, Wisconsin 53713 Toll-Free: 888-247-4843

PDPW Advisors

agriview@madison.com www.agriview.com Editorial Managing Editor Julie Belschner 608-219-8316 jbelschner@madison.com Advertising Sales Manager Tammy Strauss 608-250-4157 tstrauss@madison.com

Dr. Steve Kelm University of Wisconsin-River Falls River Falls, Wis. Andrew Johnson Marathon County Conservation Department Edgar, Wis. Steve Schwoerer Badgerland Financial Fond du Lac, Wis. Dr. Richard Wallace Zoetis McFarland, Wis.


July 2015 • PDPW • Dairy’s Bottom Line 3

Retaining your labor force MARY ELVEKROG Badgerland Financial

In the last Dairy’s Bottom Line insert, I reviewed the cost of labor on farms and related differences from one farm to the next. In this article, I’m going to share tips on retaining valuable employe e s o n yo u r dairy farm. Mary Elvekrog One reason your labor costs could be higher than normal is that employee satisfaction and retention is low. Your long-term employees may be paid a higher salary or wage,

but their job expertise actually saves you time and money. Continuing to train new employees due to high turnover is costly and inefficient. Finding good employees — and keeping them — continues to be a challenge for dairy farmers in tough economic and political times. You might wonder, “How do I compete with other dairy farms for the same labor force? How do I compete with other non-farm businesses in my area?” Over the years, I have read various articles and surveys regarding employee job satisfaction. This is a universal See LABOR, on page 4

Hiring new employees on a dairy increases labor costs quickly. Selecting, training and keeping quality employees is key.

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topic to all businesses across all industries. Three factors that consistently rank very high are compensation, benefits and safety. I refer to these factors as the basics. If you don’t compete well with other dairy farms in these areas, you don’t do well in the labor market, period. Reflecting specifically on dairy farms I work with who have impressive employee retention, here are a few common denominators that set them apart from others: • Job descriptions for each employee. This doesn’t need to be formal, but a document where job expectations are clearly communicated to the employee. • Consistent communication. Do not assume your employees can read your mind. Provide feedback and continually reinforce what is important to you and your farm business. And be sure to have an “open door” policy for employees to voice their concerns, as well. • Competitive compensat i o n . Fa r m s w i t h g o o d employee retention don’t necessarily pay more than others; compensation is most often competitive but not excessive. • Wo r k e n v i ro n m e n t . Would you work for yourself? Create an environment that is safe and positive. • Walk the walk. The old saying, “Do as I say, not as I do” is humorous, but is a serious error in managing people. You set the example and lead the way of what is acceptable behavior on your farm. • “Thank you.” These two words go a long way and make

employees feel appreciated and proud to say they work for your farm. It doesn’t cost you a dime. One manager I know (non-farm business) makes the rounds every Friday afternoon to thank his staff for their work and wish them a good weekend. While that’s not exactly practical for a 24/7 dairy farm, the message is the same – express appreciation and take an interest in your team members. Of course this list isn’t all inclusive, and there are certainly other employee needs to keep in mind. For instance: • Achievement. Employees generally feel more satisfied when they feel they are part of something bigger than themselves. Help your staff enjoy and take pride in the work they are doing. And then recognize and reward employees when appropriate. This ranges from buying pizza for lunch to a cash bonus. • Workload stress and/or small daily hassles. If there is a workplace incivility, intervene early on before a problem escalates. Proactive management, verses reactive, reduces these hassles or stressful situations. Dairy farming is hard, but very noble work, for both you and your employees. Take advantage of opportunities presented by industry groups, Extension and others to learn more about employee management and refine your skills. With mutual respect and teamwork, together you can keep your farm successful – all recognizing the responsibility and reward in caring for animals that produce safe and excellent quality milk. Mary Elvekrog is a dairy lending specialist with Badgerland Financial. Badgerland Financial is a proud Mission Sponsor of PDPW.


July 2015 • PDPW • Dairy’s Bottom Line 5

Peace of mind.

Collaboration between dairy farmers and veterinarians is essential in producing safe and quality dairy products.

Ensuring food safety takes teamwork DR. DAVID RHODA Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association

When veterinarians and owners make decisions of what antibiotics to use on farm, food safety — for both meat and milk — and proper drug use should be two key objectives. This discussion will be limited to the consideration of food safety issues, concentrating on protocols where label applications will be effective, addressing the risk of potential residues if extra label drug use of antibiotics is needed, and planning for David Rhoda veterinary oversight of all animals that have received antibiotics. Extra label drug use is any deviation from the drug label specifications which may include changing the dose, route,

frequency of administration, condition treated, duration of treatment or class of animal the drug is approved to treat. The Animal Medicinal Drug Usage Clarification Act very clearly defines the requirements a veterinarian must meet if a decision is made to use a drug in an extra label manner. This decision requires the involvement of a veterinarian and cannot be done solely by an owner. An extended withdrawal time is mandatory and no illegal residue can occur when an animal receives an extra label drug treatment. An algorithm based on documenting the ineffectiveness of label antibiotics is used by the veterinarian when faced with the need for extra label treatment.

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6 July 2015 • PDPW • Dairy’s Bottom Line

Food Safety Continued from page 5

results identified extra label drug use as the reason for the residues. While the results showed a low level of residues found, they also demonstrated the dairy industry should focus on continued improvement and education concerning extra label drug use. The drugs found in the survey demonstrate the next drugs we should target — the antibiotics that have a label restriction against their use in dairy animals greater than or equal to 20 months of age. Some examples would be: Draxxin (Tulathromycin), Micotil (Tilmicosin), Tylan (Tylosin), and Nuflor, Nuflor Gold, Resflor Gold (Florfenicol) and their extra label use in lactating dairy animals.

Drugs that are approved for use in lactating dairy cows have an established tolerance level which is based on how quickly the drug is broken down in the body of an animal to reach a safe level for food. These tolerance levels are used to establish the withdrawal times on the drug label. If a drug is used in a class of animal that is not approved on the label (Example: A drug labelled for use in calves is used in a lactating dairy animal) the tolerance level is now zero. If a veterinarian can justify, through the Animal Medicinal Drug Usage Clarification Act, the use of one of these antibiotics in a lactating dairy animal, that animal cannot be returned to a food production status until 100 percent of the product h a s b e e n d e g ra d e d a n d metabolized.

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Farms have the opportunity to become Food Armor™ certified when they can demonstrate implementation and maintenance of a complete HACCP plan which meets all Food Armor™ certification requirements. Currently, it is required that every load of milk is tested for the Beta Lactam antibiotics. These routine tests screen for the majority of the antibiotics that are labeled for lactating dairy cows. In coming years, routine antibiotic testing of milk may change depending on drug use risk assessments leading to increased transparency and accountability of the dairy industry. What Matters® and Food Armor™ In 2010 the Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association and the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin partnered to form the What Matters® initiative. The focus of the initiative was to educate the dairy industry about food safety and proper drug use, centering on the veterinarian/producer relationship. Improved drug use can be accomplished through the development and implementation of a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points – HACCP — plan which includes six separate, yet interrelated areas to manage: The Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship, Drug List, Protocols,

SOPs, Records and Oversight. An on-farm HACCP plan for proper drug use allows responsible people to develop a responsible drug use plan specific to the diversity of management styles used on individual farms. The HACCP Plan for drug use has recently evolved into the Food Armor™ farm certification program, allowing for transparency and accountability of what and how drugs are used on farms. This program allows for easy identification of any extra label drug use, those drugs with a zero tolerance level for residues and allows the veterinarian and producer team to put in place appropriate control steps to ensure the safety of the products the farm produces. The Next Step Consumers will continue their quest for more information on how and where their food is produced. What Matters® and Food Armor™ will allow those in food production to remain diligent to food safety and consumer confidence. Farms have the opportunity to become Food Armor™ certified when they can demonstrate implementation and maintenance of a complete HACCP plan which meets all Food Armor™ certification requirements. Food Armor™ certification demonstrates to the processor and consumer a continued dedication to the production of safe and wholesome food products and long term proper drug use. Dr. David Rhoda is a member of the Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association Food Armor™ Committee.


July 2015 • PDPW • Dairy’s Bottom Line 7

Walkovers highlight soil loss considerations KEVAN KLINGBERG UW Discovery Farms

Part two of two New technologies that make it possible to reduce erosion through less aggressive tillage are incredible — a true innovation of the pa s t seve ra l decades. This new technology does not mean conserKevan vation pracKlingberg tices are now irrelevant. When paired with conservation practices, using reduced tillage can nearly eliminate soil loss, according to University of Wisconsin Discovery Farms®

Program data. Walkovers conducted by UW Discovery Farms saw firsthand the continued need for landscape-appropriate tillage and well-managed grass waterways on landscapes across Wisconsin. Protect soil from vulnerability Without canopy cover or plant material on the soil surface there is very little left to act as a rain barrier. Even on uniformly gentle slopes without obvious waterway areas, Discovery Farms staff observed that intense spring rains caused sheet and rill erosion. Are there ways you can maintain more cover during See SOIL, on page 8

An example of an ineffective waterway in need of reshaping. Water should exit through the grassed area, not beside it.


8 July 2015 • PDPW • Dairy’s Bottom Line

Soil Continued from page 7

the vulnerable months of April, May and June? Walkovers observed an obvious soil protection benefit from fields with less disturbance and more surface cover. Ways to increase surface residue and reduce soil disturbance include: 1) Plant a cover crop after corn silage on your steepest fields; 2) Consider where in your rotation no-till crop establishment may fit; 3) Limit the number of secondary tillage passes before planting; 4) Equip your planter with aggressive trash movers for s e e d b e d p re p a ra t i o n i n high-residue settings; 5) Investigate tillage implements that chop up residue while creating less soil disturbance. Provide route for runoff Runoff is going to happen. Where does your water flow? All fields have natural paths where runoff leaves the field. It is important to identify this escape route and manage it to prevent erosion. If properly placed and maintained, grass waterways can offer a safe exit for water. Do you see an area where water flows year after year resulting in erosion? It might be time to consider a waterway. If you already have waterways in place, check to make

sure they are working properly. On many walkovers waterways existed but weren’t functioning well. Waterways must have adequate width and depth to handle the amount of water draining off the land. Tillage and herbicide operations can reduce the size of waterways over time. If you notice your waterways getting smaller, it is likely the result of an intrusion from these operations. Soil accumulation causes waterways to crown in the middle. Deposition from either runoff or tillage equipment that passes over the waterway results in soil accumulation. If you notice crowning it is time to reshape your waterway to prevent water from flowing through a part of the field that is less equipped to manage it. Reshaping, reseeding and maintaining waterways keeps a functioning runoff route that prevents unnecessary soil loss. Too much disturbance and inadequate waterways were the most common factors impacting soil loss identified during walkovers. These vulnerabilities existed across soil types, landscapes and systems. Use new technologies and proven conservation practices to your advantage so you won’t lose out. Kevan Klingberg, outreach specialist for UW Discovery Farms, conducted walkovers on thousands of acres in Southwest Wisconsin. He can be reached at kevan.klingberg@ces.uwex. edu or 715-983-5668.


July 2015 • PDPW • Dairy’s Bottom Line 9

KEEPING YOU CLEAN AND DRY SINCE 1994!

Dairy market offers risk and opportunity KIM VOIGTS Atten Babler Commodities

Definition of Risk: The possibility of loss or injury; peril. Dairy producers are familiar with Risk. It is present everywhere, every day. Even as I am writing this article, a devastating storm blew through southwest Wisconsin, splattering buildings and rooftops everywhere. We see pictures of flattened houses and wind-broken trees that will need to be picked up, hauled away, fixed and replaced. Most dairies carry insurance coverage for just these occasions. We don’t plan on storms, but we know that they occur and we plan accordingly. Insurance won’t pay for all the costs to rebuild, but hopefully most of it. When we are thinking about our Risk in the marketing arena, are we thinking the same way? Are we protecting ourselves and our dairies against the worst? Current milk prices in the Midwest at this writing are averaging about $16.70 for 3rd quarter and

$16.80 for 4th quarter. Add a couple dollars for premiums and you’ve got a decent $18.50 milk check. Granted, it’s not $24.50 like last year, but it’s not $14.50 like our friends on the West Coast are getting. Our world competition in New Zealand and Europe are currently getting prices equivalent to 2009. Remember that year? Oh, yes, you do. I do, too. Not good. Our Risk is that the U.S. prices will go down to meet those world prices. We don’t know if that will occur or not, but that is our Risk. How long can we continue to be priced above the rest of the world? How long would you continue to shop at a store that consistently charged more for their products than all the other stores in town? The products at that store must be of higher quality than the others to continue to attract your hard-earned dollar. The European Union countries are now free to produce as much See RISK, on page 10

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10 July 2015 • PDPW • Dairy’s Bottom Line

Risk Continued from page 9

milk as they wish with no quota. Russia has stopped importing EU dairy products in response to sanctions put on them by the rest of the world, which has made EU prices tumble. International equivalent Class IV prices are currently significantly lower than U.S. prices, at approximately $11.75/cwt. Producers in New Zealand have cut back on feed supplements and increased culling, but cow numbers are still projected to be record high at the start of their spring flush (our fall period) leaving opportunity for them and Risk for us that production increases there again as well. The Risk is world production continues to exceed demand and the U.S. imports at the current lower world prices.

Margins I realize that current Class III prices are less than desired. However, $16.50 plus typical Midwest premiums of $1.50 to $3.00 are not historically bad levels. Should the U.S. prices decide to align themselves with the world prices, producers that have strategies in place will fare better than those who do not. Look at current prices and see

what you can do for price protection. I realize producers would prefer to protect positive margins, but sometimes protecting breakeven is a wise business decision. At this point, I suggest minimum price or fence strategies in lieu of forward pricing. This leaves room for upswings in the market and is preferable to fixed pricing at current prices. Taking out the

Risk of 2009-type prices are what we are guarding against while hoping the perfect storm passes us by unharmed. I’ll finish with this quote that I am very fond of: “Plan for the worst, hope for the best.” Success to you in 2015! Kim Voigts is a hedge broker with Atten Babler Commodities in Galena, Illinois. Risk in purchasing options is the option premium paid plus transaction. Selling futures and/ or options leaves you vulnerable to unlimited risk. Atten Babler Commodities LLC uses sources that they believe to be reliable, but they cannot warrant the accuracy of any of the data included in this report. Past performance is not indicative of future results. The author of this piece currently hedges for her own account and does not have financial interest in the derivative products mentioned within.

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July 2015 • PDPW • Dairy’s Bottom Line 11

PDPW releases March Business Conference dates The 2016 PDPW Business Conference invites dairy farmers to the Alliant Energy Center, Madison, Wis. on March 16-17, 2016. The 2015 show was sold out with the highest attendance in c o n f e r e n c e h i s t o r y. A record-breaking 1,600+ people attended, the conference boasted a sold-out trade show and the highest level of speaker talent and content depth to date. Join the PDPW Business Conference in 2016 to connect with a new idea, an old friend, a global perspective, a preferred supplier, an inspiring attitude, a leading expert, the latest technology and a trusted resource. Dairy farmers and other professionals who attend will hear from keynote speakers, engage in

Ben Brancel, secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, speaks to producers at the 2015 PDPW Business Conference.

hands-on labs, choose from specialty sessions, and learning lounge presentations during the two-day conference. In addition, the Hall of Ideas and Equipment Show features a larger number of exhibitors each year. The 2016 PDPW Business Conference theme is “INSPIRE,” highlighting all the ways dairy producers can inspire one

another and themselves to achieve true greatness. Some of the conference sessions will be accredited trainings with the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine and veterinarians may receive CEUs. The conference will also be considered by American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists and animal scientists may

SAVE THE DATE! 2016 PDPW Business Conference When: March 16-17, 2016 Where: The Alliant Energy Center, 1919 Alliant Energy Center Way, Madison, Wis. Who: Dairy farmers, students, and other industry leaders and professionals. Contact PDPW at 1-800-9477379 or mail@pdpw.org for more information.

receive CEUs for their training time. Share successes, learn ways to improve your animal care, and be inspired by the heroes of the dairy industry. Watch for details on the developing list of dynamic speakers. Visit www.pdpw.org for more information.

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July 2015 • PDPW • Dairy’s Bottom Line 13

Community leaders and farmers to convene Four Wisconsin dairy farm families will open their farms to the neighborhood during August as part of the Agricultural Community Engagement® — ACE — On-the-Farm Twilight Meetings. Each dairy farm tour begins at 6 p.m., with an ice cream social served at 7 p.m., and a Q&A session to close the evening event. This is a free, open invitation to community leaders, local elected officials, conservation officials, dairy and livestock producers and community members interested in learning from each other so Wisconsin communities can grow to be green and vibrant. The Q&A session and discussions will conclude by 8:30 p.m. The ACE On-the-Farm

Twilight Meetings are offered through a partnership between Professional Dairy Producers, the Wisconsin Towns Association and the Wisconsin Counties Association. The dates and locations for each ACE On-the-Farm Twilight Meetings tours and discussions are: • Thursday, August 13: Kinnamon Ridge Dairy LLC, S3175 White Road, Reedsburg, Wis. Kinnamon Ridge Dairy is a four-generation dairy farm. Owners Jerry and Linda White bought the family farm in 1981 from Jerry’s parents, and the original home-farm of Jerry’s great grandparents from the 1930s. Beginning their business, they milked 48 cows and have

Kinnamon Ridge, owned by Linda and Jerry White, is located outside of Reedsburg. The family is hosting an ACE On-the-Farm Twilight Meeting, Aug. 13.

grown in stages during the past two decades to incorporate their adult children into the dairy business. The Whites now milk 800head and crop 1,000 acres. They also have 550 youngstock cared

for on the home farm and 300 off-site, being raised in Wisconsin and Iowa. Jerry and Linda’s children, Ryan and Nathan, are active on the dairy and have See MEETINGS, on page 14

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RENAISSANCE NUTRITION 14 July 2015 • PDPW • Dairy’s Bottom Line

The Natzke family, including, back row, left to right, Dan Natzke, Paul Natzke, Jeremy Natzke, who is holding Caitlin Natzke; middle row, left to right, Barb Natzke, Nicole Natzke, and Heather Natzke, who is holding Cora Natzke; and front row, left to right, Taylor Natzke, and Tanner Natzke will host an ACE On-the-Farm Twilight Meetings, Aug. 18.

Meetings Continued from page 13

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leading management roles: Ryan is the lead mechanic, and Nathan is the cropping enterprise and feed manager. Jerry manages the milking parlor, maintenance and marketing; Linda is the chief financial officer, personnel manager and in charge of the dairy herd; and, both Linda and Jerry care for the youngstock. • Tuesday, August 18: Wayside Dairy LLC, 3603 Wayside Road, Greenleaf, Wis. The Natzke family has a long history tracing back to 1863 when its German ancestors first settled on the land. Since that time, the family dairy business has evolved and now includes the fourth and fifth generations of dairy producers. Today, Dan, along with his son, Jeremy and nephew, Paul, run the 1,250-cow dairy farm. Cows are milked three times a day in a double-20 milking parlor. Each cow produces 80 to 85

SAVE THE DATE! ACE On-the-Farm Twilight Meetings • Thursday, August 13: Kinnamon Ridge Dairy LLC, S3175 White Road, Reedsburg, Wis. • Tuesday, August 18: Wayside Dairy LLC, 3603 Wayside Road, Greenleaf, Wis. • Wednesday, August 19: Heeg Bros. Dairy LLC, F2394 County Road N, Colby, Wis. • Thursday, August 20: Bomaz Farms, 1603 County Road Z, Hammond, Wis. Visit www.pdpw.org or contact 715-526-3157 or wtowns@ frontiernet.net for more information.

pounds of milk a day, which adds up to the farm handling 100,000 pounds of milk each day. Wayside Dairy was completely rebuilt in 2002, after a barn fire destroyed the milking center and many of the outbuildings. The need to rebuild allowed for construction of state-of the-art facilities, which were built to be as comfortable as possible for both the cows and the 25 full- and part-time employees.


July 2015 • PDPW • Dairy’s Bottom Line 15 In addition to dairy cows, the farm produces corn silage and haylage from its 1,500 acres of cropland. Also, cottonseed is merchandised to dairy producers and feedmills. • Wednesday, August 19: Heeg Bros. Dairy LLC, F2394 County Road N, Colby, Wis. In 1999, a partnership was created with brothers Mark, Gary and Jay Heeg. At that time they built a new freestall barn and parlor. Farming on separate farms, the families decided to combine dairies and milk at one location and raise heifers at their parent’s farm in Unity, Wis. By combining the two dairies each member’s management skills were better utilized to create a more efficient business. Mark is the farm’s general manager, Gary is the heifer manager and Jay is the dairy and human resource manager. The three brothers share fieldwork responsibilities; their father, August, 82, serves as the milkman. Mark’s son Nathan and Gary’s son Cory are employed at the dairy, making three generations working together. Currently the dairy has 995

The Heeg family, located near Coby, Wis., in Marathon County, will host an ACE On-the-Farm Twilight Meeting, Aug. 19.

cows with a rolling herd average of 29,196 pounds of milk. The family strives for consistency with the cows and with employees and tries to keep processes as simple as possible. The farm crops 2,500 acres of corn and alfalfa and employs 20 full-time employees. • Thursday, August 20: Bomaz Farms, 1603 County Road Z, Hammond, Wis. Brothers Bob and Greg Zwald own and operate Bomaz Farms, along with their wives, Kay and Irma. Their family dairy farm has a strong focus on production through cow comfort, quality feed and outstanding genetics. In 1953, when Bob and Greg’s

The Zwald Family, located near Hammond, Wis., will host an ACE On-the-Farm Twilight Meeting, Aug. 20.

father purchased the farm, they milked 100 cows. Since then, they have grown to care for and milk 650 registered Holsteins, raise their own young stock, including bulls from the top 5 percent of the herd, and manage an extensive embryo program. Due to the high genetic potential of their herd, the family begins their excellent animal care at the birth of each animal. Calves are cared for on-site until they are dry and comfortable. The calves are then taken to their calf barn, about 1 mile from the home farm. The Zwalds also grow their own haylage, corn silage and corn on approximately 1,200 acres of cropland.

According to the University of Wisconsin Department of Agriculture and Applied Economics, agriculture in Wisconsin contributes $88 billion to the state’s economy and provides the state’s residents 413,500 jobs. Dairy is the majority share of that contribution, bringing $43.4 billion to the state’s economy. There is no charge to attend the ACE On-the-Farm Twilight Meetings. For planning purposes, the Wisconsin Towns Association asks that you register by contacting 715-526-3157 or wtowns@frontiernet.net. Visit www.pdpw.org for more information.

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Dairy's Bottom Line July 2015  

Dairy's Bottom Line July 2015  

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