RePRO Analysis™ reports, which is a free service, to identify any areas that he is not performing well in. He takes pride in using less semen per service and knows that saves the Perkins family money. “I think we are also having fewer calving problems because our cows are being bred sooner,” said Todd. “We were having some heavy cows at calving time and issues with metabolic disorders, and I think we have done away with a lot of that by getting cows bred earlier in their lactation.” Record number of heifers Because of the Perkins family’s renewed focus on fertility, the farm is getting more heifer calves out of the same number of cows which has led to more heifer facilities being built and the farm is able to sell some animals to other dairies. Their most recent building project was a calf barn with automatic feeders that was completed in mid-2015, which has improved their calf growth and put them all under one roof for easier management. “We had a record amount of heifers in 2015 and 2016,” explained Todd.
Perkins Twin Creek Farms The Perkins Family, Wolcottville, Ind. Total Number of Dairy Cows: 470 Total Number of Replacements: 460 Breed of Dairy Cattle: Holsteins Rolling Herd Average: 29,800 pounds of milk Somatic Cell Count: 148,000 Acres farmed: 2,400 acres Service Sires: 7HO11351 SUPERSIRE, 7HO11752 BOB, 250HO13267 DUKE, 7HO11383 MORGAN, 7HO12418 SPARK, 7HO12139 PETY, 250HO1040 CALENDAR, 250HO1009 BREWMASTER, 7HO11314 MOGUL and 7HO11419 HEADLINER
“We also went back to using sexed semen because of our improved reproduction.” About 75 percent of the heifers are being bred to gender SELECTed™ semen. “Our first-calf heifers now calve with a smaller calf and go to work,” explained Todd. “We don’t have any pinched nerves or dead calves. These two-year-olds just take off.” A family affair Jim Perkins began farming near
Brian Thornton (left) works with Kirk (center) and Todd (right) Perkins as their A.I. technician to make reproductive improvements.
their current location after leaving the Navy in the mid-1950s and started milking 50 cows. After receiving degrees from Purdue University, his sons Kirk, Rod and Todd all joined the operation in the 1980s. Their brother Eric also graduated from Purdue University and now manages the local Stroh Farm Supply store that was established several years ago by family members. Today, Kirk handles most of the feeding, Rod focuses on growing quality crops on their 2,400 owned and rented acres and working with the heifers, and Todd manages the cows and herd health while Jim, at 80-years-old, still helps out. They have seven full-time and three part-time employees including Trent McGreagor who spends most of his time with the cows and heifers and Allen Myers who handles anything related to electric or maintenance, including building their double-eight parlor in 1997. “Four members of the next generation are already talking about returning to the farm,” explained Todd. “Two are attending Purdue University, one is in the Marines and one is in high school.” Throughout the years they have expanded and built new facilities. In 2006 they expanded to their current size of 470 cows and built a freestall barn designed for cow comfort. In the six months after completing that project they saw their rolling herd average go from 21,000 pounds of milk to 26,000.
Using the best The Perkins family has been working with Select Sires and Brent Beeker, sales representative for NorthStar Cooperative, for more than 26 years. “Brent knows our goals and what we are looking for,” said Todd. “He knows what bulls we need to use in our herd to improve.” They appreciate the older 7HO5375 BW MARSHALL daughters in their herd and currently like their 7HO11169 PETRONE, 7HO9925 YANCE and 7HO11525 DONATELLO milking daughters. “The PETRONE daughters here are peas in a pod,” said Thornton. “The YANCE daughters have a great balance of dairyness and strength.” The dairy utilizes Select Mating Service® (SMS®) and genetic consultant Jessica Jakubik to choose mating sires. They focus on using the best sires for TPI® and Net Merit with emphasis on good udders and feet and legs as well as components. A mix of genomic young sires and proven sires are used. “SMS has saved us a lot of time and simplifies everything,” said Kirk. “If we had to sit down and figure out the best mating sire for each cow that is in heat it would take a lot of time.” Current service sires include 7HO11351 SUPERSIRE, 7HO11752 BOB, 250HO13267 DUKE, 7HO11383 MORGAN, 7HO12418 SPARK, 7HO12139 PETY, 250HO1040 CALENDAR, 250HO1009 BREWMASTER, 7HO11314 MOGUL and 7HO11419 HEADLINER. “Obviously, Select Sires brings value to our operation through genetics,” explained Todd. “I love how our cows look; the udders and feet and legs on our cows are phenomenal, which are important to milk production. We’ve made significant improvements over the years by using Select Sires.” “When I walk through the pens and see the quality of our cows as well as look at our milk production, I know Select Sires has made an impact in our herd,” said Kirk.
Published on Feb 22, 2017
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