Oct. 15, 2019 11:11 AM

Two progressive dairy operations will open their farms for educational tours

This item has been supplied by a forage marketer and has not been edited, verified or endorsed by Hay & Forage Grower.

The I-29 Moo University will host two on-farm dairy field days in November. Topics will include managing forages and silage, crossbreeding, housing and parlor setup.

The field days are free to attend. Each will start at 12:30 p.m. and conclude around 3:30 p.m.

Summit Dairy, Nov. 13. Location: 5564 390th St., Primghar, Iowa.
Dairyman John Westra will lead participants through his Summit Dairy milking parlor, cattle housing, the commodity and mixing building, and also discuss the farm’s breeding program.

Westra and his family purchased Summit Dairy in 2012. They moved from California and immediately began caring for the 400 cows. Over the years, the Westras expanded the dairy to over 800 cows. The cows are housed in free-stalls and milked three times a day. As part of the expansion, Westra built a commodity and feed mixing building, which allows feed to be loaded and mixed indoors, which reduces waste and decreases moisture variability in the feedstuffs.

Hugo Ramirez, assistant professor and extension dairy specialist at Iowa State University, will discuss feeding this year’s silage, feeding issues he is seeing, and pile management.

Tri Cross Dairy, Nov. 20. Location: 45144 289th St., Viborg, S.D.
Owners Tom Koolhaas and Wes Bylsma, and farm manager Kris Vander Kooy will lead a tour of this 4,000-cow operation that includes a 1,200-foot cross-ventilated free-stall barn, and a 100-head rotary milking parlor.

The tour guides will share their experiences using crossbreeding within dairy to create a durable and productive cow herd. Amy Hazel, researcher with the University of Minnesota, will discuss reasons that interest in crossbreeding in dairy cattle is growing globally, explain the basics of rotational crossbreeding for dairy cattle, and present the detailed results of a 10-year study in high-performance Minnesota dairy herds where ProCROSS cows were found to be more profitable than their Holstein herd mates.

Brother-in-laws Wes Blysma and Tom Koolhaas founded Tri Cross Dairy in 2017. They both grew up on California dairies and wanted to expand their farms and landed in the I-29 Dairy Corridor, near Viborg, South Dakota. The dairy is named for its Tri-crossed, or Pro Cross breed of cattle, which are a combination of Holstein, Montbeliarde, and Swedish or Viking Red.

Registration details

Register for one or both field days at https://z.umn.edu/I29Moo. Light refreshments and South Dakota State University ice cream will be served.

For more information, contact Jim Salfer at salfe001@umn.edu, 612-360-4506, Fred Hall fredhall@iastate.edu, 712-737-4230, or Tracey Erickson at Tracey.Erickson@sdstate.edu, 605-882-5140.

The field days are hosted by I-29 Moo University, a collaboration of South Dakota State University, University of Minnesota, Iowa State University, North Dakota State, and University of Nebraska Extension Services; Iowa State Dairy Association; South Dakota Dairy Producers Association; Nebraska State Dairy Association and the MN Milk Producers Association.