Page 2 • Dairy Star • Saturday, March 24, 2012
DAIRY ST R www.dairystar.com
ISSN 020355 522 Sinclair Lewis Ave. Sauk Centre, MN 56378 Phone: (320) 352-6303 Fax: (320) 352-5647
Published by Dairy Star LLC General Manager/Editor/Sales Mark Klaphake (West and South Central MN) 320-352-6303 (ofÀce) 320-248-3196 (cell) 320-352-0062 (home) firstname.lastname@example.org Ad Composition Janell Westerman 320-352-6303 email@example.com Nancy Middendorf 320-352-6303 firstname.lastname@example.org Consultant Jerry Jennissen 320-346-2292 President Dave Simpkins 320-352-6577 email@example.com Staff Writers Krista Sheehan - Assistant Editor SE MN/NE IA 507-259-8159 • firstname.lastname@example.org Jennifer Burggraff 320-429-1084 email@example.com Ron Johnson 320-429-1233 firstname.lastname@example.org
Online Editor/Online Sales Andrea Borgerding 320-352-6303 email@example.com Advertising Sales Main OfÀce: 320-352-6303 Fax: 320-352-5647 Deadline is 5 p.m. of the Friday the week before publication Sales Manager - Jeff Weyer (National Advertising, Northern MN, East Central MN) 320-260-8505 (cell) firstname.lastname@example.org Mark Klaphake (West and South Central MN) 320-352-6303 (ofÀce) 320-248-3196 (cell) Laura Seljan (SE MN, Central WI) 507-250-2217 (cell) fax: 507-634-4413 email@example.com Jerry Nelson (SW MN, NW Iowa, South Dakota) 605-690-6260 (cell) firstname.lastname@example.org Lori Young (Central MN) 612-597-2998 • email@example.com Lori Menke (Eastern Iowa, Southern WI) 563-608-6477 • firstname.lastname@example.org Deadlines The deadline for news and advertising in the Dairy Star is 5 p.m. Friday the week before publication. Subscriptions One year subscription $28.00, outside the U.S. $110.00. Send check along with mailing address to Dairy Star, 522 Sinclair Lewis Ave., Sauk Centre, MN 56378. Advertising Our ad takers have no authority to bind this newspaper and only publication of an advertisement shall constitute Ànal acceptance of the advertiser's order. Letters Letters and articles of opinion are welcomed. Letters must be signed and include address and phone number. We reserve the right to edit lengthy letters. The views and opinions expressed by Dairy Star columnists and writers are not necessarily those of the Dairy Star LLC. The Dairy Star is published semi-monthly by Dairy Star, LLC, 522 Sinclair Lewis Ave., Sauk Centre, MN 56378-1246. Periodicals Postage Paid at Sauk Centre, MN. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Dairy Star, 522 Sinclair Lewis Ave., Sauk Centre, MN 56378-1246.
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Dairy proÀle Jim (holding grandson, Declan) and Pam Benitz Tom and Laura Benitz holding daughter, Heather (6 weeks) Tim Benitz Maiden Rock, Wis.; Pierce County; 165 cows How did you get into farming? Jim and Pam: We both grew up on dairy farms then went off to college – Jim at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and Pam at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. It was our dream to farm. We started in 1980 renting a barn, and then moved and bought our current farmsite in 1990. The only way we got through the 1980s was through renting. Tom: I’ve always liked farming since I was little. I returned to the farm after graduating from the UW-RF in 2004. Tim: I came back to the farm after getting an agricultural degree from Chippewa Valley Technical College in 2007. What are your thoughts and concerns about the dairy industry for the upcoming years? Tom: Finding enough land to feed our animals. We want to expand, but land is expensive and hard to come by. Tim: If young people want to run their own dairy they’ll probably have a tough time having the means to do it. Jim: But dairy farming is a young person’s game. If he or she can weather the lows it will be ok. You have to have love for the work and the lifestyle, though. What has been the best purchase you’ve ever made on your farm? Jim: This farm. It’s great land. Tom: Our TMR mixer. Tim: The skidloader. What has been your biggest accomplishment while dairy farming? Jim: We survived some tough times, but we were able to sustain and became the county’s Ärst herd to have the rolling herd average go over 30,000 pounds in the mid 90s. Another accomplishment is that we’re still farming together as a family. I’ve tried to keep things modern and updated to keep it a positive experience for the next generation. What is your favorite thing to do on the farm? Tim: Feeding cows and heifers. Tom: Planting corn. Pam: Taking care of the farmhouse and yardwork. It’s where the hustle and bustle is. Jim: The variety of work to do on the farm – driving tractor, milking cows and taking care of calves. Laura: Starting and raising a family on the farm. It gives kids a good work ethic. What is your favorite tool? Jim: Stall scraper and my cell phone. Tim: Our Patz mixer. Tom: All of our tractors. How do you like to spend time when you are not doing chores? Jim and Pam: We like to go to about four dairy breakfasts each year. We also go to movies and try to get to a Packers game every once in awhile. We also like to travel. Tom: During the summer I like to do some custom baling for others. Tim: I like to golf and go to Brewers games. Tell us about your farm: We have two farmsites – both tiestall barns. Our other barn is Äve miles away. We bought it a few years ago. We hired a young guy, Sean Stoudt, to help us on the other farm. He would like to get in the dairy business some day. We own 225 tillable acres and rent 200 acres. Jim and Pam have a daughter and son-in-law, Jana and Dominic. They both work off the farm and have a son, Declan.
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USED EQUIPMENT TRACTORS
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NH 166 inverter, STD table, consigned .......................$4,500 NH 644 RB, 4x5, auto tie, wide pickup, nice ...........Just In Gehl 262 3-point, rotary rake ......................$1,950 Massey Ferguson 124 small square baler, above avg. $2,500 IH 430 small square baler, works good ........................$950
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CHOOSE KRONE KW Tedders Krone KW Tedders work hard to speed up your drying time while being gentle on your crop. These rotary tedders impress with their rugged design and innovations such as the OctoLink 8-finger drive clutch and maintenance free gearboxes for the rotor drive. Tines wrap around the tubular tine arms five times for increased strength and the angle of the tines ensure even ground contact, reducing crop contamination. Available in working widths of 18’, 22’, 25’7”, 28’10”, 36’, 43’ and 50’.
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320-352-6543 • Sauk Centre, MN • www.modernfarmequipment.com
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Continued from FENCE | Page g 15
From Our Side Of The Fence What is your career since you exited the industry? Bernie Uilk Pipestone, Minn. Pipestone County Describe the dairy farm you had. We milked 140 cows, farmed a couple of thousand acres and had a few beef cows. We also fattened out our steers. When did you sell your cows? Dec. 7, 2005. What was the main reason for you exiting the dairy industry? We felt we either had to get bigger or get out. Our youngest son, Danny, had just finished college and wanted to join our farming operation, so we looked at building new facilities at that time. We figured we would need to expand to 300 to 500 head to generate the amount of income we needed. In the end, we decided that the margins were just too tight, so we decided to get out instead. What have you done since selling your cows? We expanded our beef cow herd and greatly expanded our custom silage chopping and bagging operation. The first winter after we sold the milk cows, we bought our first selfpropelled silage chopper. We knew that larger dairies were moving into the area and saw an opportunity to serve them. We really enjoy working with our dairy farmer customers. We now have five choppers and a crew of 25 people. Running our custom chopping business takes a lot of coordination. Do you have any advice for others who are considering this same choice and advice for those who wish to stay in the dairy business? My advice is that there is life after dairying. You need to have a plan for what you’re going to do after you quit dairy farming. You’ve got to have another endeavor to replace that lost income. We feel that dairying will still have some good opportunities as time goes on. Dairy farming is a great way to raise kids, as it teaches them the value of hard work and responsibility. Looking back would you make that decision again? Knowing what we know now, yes. It enabled us to expand our chopping and bagging business. Plus, it was probably a good decision given the way that milk prices went. Prices would have hit rock bottom right after we built. It seems that milk prices have become increasingly volatile over the past few years. What do you miss and what don’t you miss about dairy farming? I liked working with the animals, especially the calves. It was fun to see a calf grow up and join the milking herd. I don’t miss the day-to-day work, every day, twice a day. We’re extremely busy during the chopping season, but when we finish up in the fall, we’re done for the winter.
Jed Becker Cresco, Iowa Winneshiek County Describe the dairy farm you had. We have 240 acres and I milked 33 cows. The cows were crossbred, Holstein/Jersey/Swedish-red, and they were rotationally grazed. My wife teaches math at Luther College and she helped with the calves, rock picking and baling in the summer. When did you sell your cows? The cows were sold at Thanksgiving 2010. What was the main reason for you exiting the dairy industry? After 34 years of milking, my shoulder muscles and hamstrings were tightening up. My physical therapist said that milking seven days a week can inflame/irritate the muscles and tendons. My body wasn’t getting enough rest, and the chances of full recovery were slim as long as I kept milking. I now consider myself 98 percent back to normal. What have you done since selling your cows? We are raising the last of our heifers and once they are gone, we will switch to steers. We still bale 55 acres of hay each year and raise corn and soybeans. I do all the cooking, cleaning, laundry and bookwork now. My goal is to get 90 minutes of aerobic activity in, five or six days a week. I volunteer more at our church. I have read more books in the last year than I have in the last 10 years. Two of my sisters live 90 minutes away and I have more time to visit them and their families. My wife and I travel more. I fish two to three times a month instead of two or three times a year. I started raising honey bees and I am just fascinated with those little arthropods. Do you have any advice for others who are considering this same choice and advice for those who wish to stay in the dairy business? If you have a lot of hobbies and outside interests, quitting milking will be an adjustment but you will do just fine. Looking back would you make that decision again? Yes. There is a saying, “You can do everything you want. You just can’t do everything at the same time.” I really loved milking cows. It was challenging yet very rewarding. But that phase of my life is over. I am now doing things that I would not be able to do if I were still milking cows. And, I am having a lot of fun doing these things. What do you miss and what don’t you miss about dairy farming? I don’t miss being so tied down. I don’t miss the constant “being behind.” A farm can be an endless sink of time. There is always a project to do, something to repair, something to clean up, something to “be more efficient.” I miss working with the cows. I miss walking out to the pasture in the early morning with just the stars, the dogs and a chill in the air. Since I quit milking, the walks to the pasture just aren’t the same.
Ralph Hendrickson Viroqua, Wis. Vernon County Describe the dairy farm you had. Our dairy farm consisted of 107 acres of tillable land. The dairy herd consisted of 95 head of registered Holsteins, of which 45 were of milking age. We raised all of our forage for a ration which was approximately two-thirds corn silage and one-third alfalfa haylage/hay. Most of the corn was purchased, along with all of the concentrate. When did you sell your cows? The dairy herd was sold on July 27, 2010, by dispersing the herd on the farm. What was the main reason for you exiting the dairy industry? There were two main reasons for dispersing the dairy herd. The first of these was the fact that for the previous three years or so I just had not been enjoying it. The second reason was that I wished to be able to attend the children’s after-school activities and have more quality time with my wife and two daughters. What have you done since selling your cows? The first item on the list to accomplish was an extended family vacation. Although we had taken previous vacations, we were always having to rush home, and I, of course, was always worried about the cows and the problems I would have when returning home. Approximately one month after selling the herd, I was approached by the Mount Sterling Cheese Factory (dairy goat cheese) and began employment at that time. This was a very good learning experience for me, as the dairy goat season was starting to slow down for the year and the work was not quite full-time and slowed down through the winter. This allowed me the opportunity to start off-farm employment at a slower pace. It also allowed me to finish up the loose ends on the dairy farm and finish up the cropping season. In April, I began full-time employment at Accelerated Genetics (at Westby, Wis.) as a farm and barn crew employee. I also operate our family farm, raising corn, soybeans, winter wheat, and alfalfa hay. Other activities include enjoying the children’s activities and pursuing my hobbies. Do you have any advice for others who are considering this same choice, and advice for those who wish to stay in the dairy business? My advice would be to set priorities. Determine if these priorities can be met while milking cows or would be better met by doing something else. For me, quality family time was my priority. I felt in my situation, it would be better to sell the herd rather than hire an employee, expand the herd, and grow the business to the next level. Looking back, would you make that decision again? Yes, I would. The time had come for a change. Although I do miss having registered Holsteins around the farm, my life has become less stressful and I enjoy new and different activities which I never would have had the opportunity to pursue if I was still milking cows. What do you miss and what don’t
Joan and Lawrence Greco Decorah, Iowa Winneshiek County Describe the dairy farm you had. We have farmed 500 acres in northeast Iowa since 1989. We milked 85 head of Holstein and Holstein/Jersey cross cows twice a day in our tiestall barn. We had a 26,000-pound herd average when we sold out. When did you sell your cows? We sold our cows in May 2010. What was the main reason for you exiting the dairy industry? Our kids were graduating and going off to college and we were going to have to think about hiring outside help. We also thought to continue dairying we would need to upgrade our facilities. The fluctuating milk prices and some health issues also factored into it. What have you done since selling your cows? We started by buying baby bull calves and raised them in the cow stalls in the barn. We currently have 80 calves on milk and sell them when they reach 250 pounds. We raised and sold the last of the heifers and now are finishing 125 Holstein and Angus steers. We still crop farm 500 acres of corn, soybeans and hay. Do you have any advice for others who are considering this same choice and advice for those who wish to stay in the dairy business? For people wanting to get out: We sold our cattle privately; we would probably have an auction if we had to do it again. And after you’re out, try to be diversified. For people that want to continue: Use your best management skills to stay afloat. Try to put money aside when the milk price is higher because you know it’s not going to last. Looking back would you make that decision again? Yes, it was getting to be too much labor for us and the volatility of the prices drove us away. What do you miss and what don’t you miss about dairy farming? We miss the cows and the regular paycheck. We don’t miss the bills, the long hours and heifers calving at midnight. you miss about dairy farming? I do miss having the cows on the farm, and I especially miss the hour-and-a-half milking time in the evening, when I was alone with my thoughts or listening to the Brewer game, etc. I found this time to be relaxing, as long as I did not have to rush to be somewhere at a particular time. I do not miss the headaches that came from having milk cows. Over the years, I missed countless family and church activities which I can now attend. This is very important to me, maybe because I married and started a family later in life.
Dairy Star • Saturday, March 24, 2012 • Page 17
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Dairy Star • Saturday, March 24, 2012 • Page 19
“... heifers take off better after calving and are less likely to develop mastitis.” — Dr. Donna Mertz
DONNA MERTZ, DVM DALTONDALE FARM, Hartland, Wisconsin Dr. Donna Mertz is a large animal practitioner in Wisconsin. She also owns and shows Ayrshires with Daltondale Farm. This century farm, near Hartland, has shown Ayrshires in every World Dairy Expo since the days when the Expo was formerly known as the National Cattle Contest in Waterloo. The farm is also home to the 2011 Wisconsin Ayrshire Cow of the Year: Daltondale Tux Mischief.
“We use Udder Comfort™ on all fresh cows and heifers. It gets rid of swelling, and the udders really soften up, so we don’t over-milk them. With Udder Comfort, heifers take off better after calving and are less likely to develop mastitis,” says Dr. Donna Mertz, who has used Udder Comfort for 5 years.
“Udder Comfort is effective, easy to use, and there’s no need to withhold milk. It fits our approach of supporting the general health of the cow, to help cows clear problems, to milk better naturally, and to reduce the cost of treatments. With the milk prices dropping, it is important to have this cost-effective management option.”
Mertz is part of Daltondale Farm, Hartland, Wisconsin, where she has her prized Ayrshires. She also serves as the Daltondale herd vet.
Quality Udders Make Quality Milk
“For any cow with a swollen quarter, we try Udder Comfort prior to using intramammary treatments. As long as the cow shows improvement, we continue on with Udder Comfort. “This reduces our need for mastitis treatments by 50%. I will also use it effectively on an injured leg or back.
Keep the milk in the system 1.888.773.7153 1.613.652.9086 uddercomfort.com Call to locate a distributor near you. For external application to the udder only after milking, as an essential component of udder management. Always wash and dry teats thoroughly before milking.
Page 40 • Dairy Star • Saturday, March 24, 2012
BIGGER. BADDER. BETTER. Every inch of 200 Series Super Boom® skid steer loaders is designed to maximize your productivity. They’re BIGGER, with the longest wheelbase in the business and widest, most comfortable cab on the market. They’re BADDER, with increased performance and they’re BETTER, with improved visibility to critical areas, allowing operators to work with a new level of confidence and speed. THE BEST STABILITY – MAXIMUM OPERATOR CONFIDENCE THE BEST DUMP HEIGHT & REACH – DUMP TO THE CENTER OF TRUCKS AND SPREADERS THE BEST SERVICEABILITY – MINIMIZE DOWNTIME
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