It always amazes me just how much farm tours can pack into one day! So many things to see, and so much information to absorb! Now here’s a continuation of yesterday’s post and the DeLaval VMS PROductivity Tour!
Next we headed to Kastenschmidt Farms.
Doug & his wife run a 120 milking herd with 2 DeLaval robotic milkers. The barn was retro-fitted in 2012 to address the consistent labour required while his wife was recovering from back issues. The older portions of the barn are still used for dry cow treatments, breeding, and vet work. They place a high emphasis on nutrition as the key to production, and work very closely with their nutritionist.
“Work with what you’ve got and grow with that. It’s 90% management.”
Doug shares his opinion, “Refurbishing a barn is a viable option and a cost effective way for new and aspiring farmers. Work with what you’ve got and grow with that. It’s 90% management.” He also noted that length and placement of teats are a contributing factor to the ease of milking a cow with robotics, and something they focused on when selecting replacement heifers.
Last but not least, Damerow Brothers Farm.
Here we had the extreme privilege of meeting Tim Damerow who runs the 740 acre farm with his 70 year-old uncle. The farm switched to DeLaval robotics in 2012 and together they have 120 milking Holsteins. Tim operates under the reasoning that cow comfort is of the utmost importance.
“Cow comfort is key. This is our top priority and has directed the entire design of the barn. Comfort first, then you incorporate everything else”
A special thank you to Tim Damerow, the dairy industry needs more genuine and authentic farmers who can just chill & talk farming!
One interesting point that I do want to mention is the fact that all three farms toured sited a lack of reliable labour as a contributing factor in their decision to switch to robotics. This comes as no surprise to many as it’s a prevalent problem on many farms. However, it is still a little deflating to hear especially with Canada’s unemployment rate currently at 7% and the US sitting at 5%. Given, Wisconsin is lower at 4.4% but there has got to be a better way to facilitate connectivity between farms and those looking for employment.
Back on track, I’d like to thank these farmers and their families for hosting our group as part of the DeLaval VMS PROductivity Tour! It was a great experience being a part of such a passionate and inquisitive group of people. We appreciate so much that you were willing to share your farm, your time, and your story with us. A huge “thank you” to DeLaval for organizing this awesome tour and inviting me to be a part of it!
If you have a farm and you ever get the chance to host a tour, I would strongly encourage it. You never know who you might inspire and by changing someone’s perspective, you can change everything!