Wisconsin Holstein Association to hold spring barn meetings on hoof care
The focus of this year's spring barn meetings, sponsored by the Wisconsin Holstein Association, is "Raising the bar of hoof care."
Karl Burgi will be the speaker at each barn meeting and will discuss the importance of early lameness detection, prompt lameness treatment and the best lameness prevention practices.
Today, in some cases, hoof trimming can be one of the risk factors in the cause of lameness. Burgi will show what the signs of good hoof trimming are and what should not be done. He will also discuss how correct functional trimming of springing heifers can improve the overall feet and leg score, first lactation production and lifetime performance.
Four locations have agreed to be host farms for these barn meetings. Lunch will be served for attendees and sponsored by Holy Hill Family Farms of Hartland.
All barn meetings are open to any interested Holstein breeder. Any other breeders wanting to host similar barn meetings should call the Wisconsin Holstein Association at 800-223-4269.
Four Hands Holsteins
Four Hands Holsteins in Amery was originally operated as Betzoldvale Farms, starting in 1976. Rick and Gwen Dado joined the operation in 2000 after careers in nutrition consulting and ag education.
The farm became Four Hands Holsteins in 2007. Rick and Gwen along with their four children, Bethany, Ethan, Trent, and Meikah, currently run the farm with the help of Gwen's mom, Thelma Betzold and the dairy's nine full-time employees.
Registered Holsteins have been a part of the farm since its beginning back in Minnesota with Gwen's dad's 4-H projects.
The Four Hands herd is comprised of 510 registered Holsteins with about 430 milking at a given time. There is also 450 head of young stock that are raised on-site.
The cows are milked three-times daily in a double-8 flat barn parlor to produce the current RHA of 30,140M 1061F and 881P while maintaining a BAA of 103.9. This BAA ranks them #7 in the U.S. for herds with over 400 head.
Longevity is a hallmark of the herd and this has allowed them to sell 125 fresh two year olds to an expanding herd over the last 12 months.
Hoof care at Four Hands includes a professional trimmer visiting monthly to trim all cows at dry off and other handpicked cows that need extra attention. They also utilize a footbath of zinc sulfate four times a week and rotating between cow groups.
They have had success minimizing digital dermatitis using these tools, but still struggle with some thin soles on cows because of the extra walking required between their pens and the milking parlor.
The farm has been using sand-bedded freestalls and long-day lighting for 12 years. Recent additions include a whole milk batch pasteurizer for calves and a newborn calf warm-room. They also utilize a dry corn processing system allowing them to feed cows fast.
Some highlights of the herd include Betzoldvale Scott Mar EX-92, who has a lifetime record of 377,400 pounds of milk as well as Betzoldvale Hershel 600 who has 291,900 lifetime milk. There are 12 other herd mates with over 200,000 lifetime milk production and 79 with over 125,000 pounds lifetime.
Pulaski is home base for Synergy Dairy LLC, who will be hosting a Barn Meeting on March 21. The facilities will be open for tours from 10:30-11:30 a.m., with Karl Burgi's talk and demonstration at 11:30 a.m., followed by lunch.
The dairy is a partnership established in 2004 between Gary and Linda Olson (Glo-Crest Holsteins) and their daughter and son-in-law, Heather and Jay Jauquet. Jay also works as a regional sire analyst for Alta Genetics where he has been employed for 16 years.
Gary has been involved with registered Holsteins his whole life. They have built the herd to today's RHA of 3x 31,013M 1162F and 953P on 325 cows and a total herd of 650 registered Holsteins. The milking herd is housed in a four-row sand-bedded freestall barn and milked in a double-8 parallel parlor.
The emphasis at Synergy Dairy is on breeding moderate-size cows with great udders, low SCC, good DPR and high production emphasizing pounds of protein. They utilize embryo transfer and IVF to help grow their best genetic cow families and to be able to send five-ten bulls into AI service annually.
Jay and Heather's sons, Mason, Carter and Evan, along with their cousins and other local youth enjoy exhibiting Synergy animals at various shows. They are proud of their first Junior All-American nomination this year as well.
Hoof care at Synergy starts with good nutrition and cow comfort. The lactating diet is formulated so it will provide enough physically effective fiber to stimulate chewing. The particle length of the TMR is then closely monitored.
Corn silage was harvested as shredlage this past fall, allowing them to remove straw from the lactating cow ration. The starch level in the diet is limited to less than 26 percent of the total dry matter.
In order to meet the ME requirement for a high producing herd without increasing starch levels, the diet incorporates fat in the form of Energy Booster 100. During the summer, the diet is supplemented with higher levels of potassium carbonate. Twenty percent of the added zinc and manganese is from a complexed source (Zinpro).
A copper sulfate footbath is used six days a week for lactating cows and once a week for the dry cows and prefresh group. They find hoof trimming an essential part of their hoof care and have John Thurk in once a month to do a group of 30-40 cows in rotation, including prefresh heifers.
They believe none of these management tools is as important as good cow comfort and having a well-bedded and groomed sand-filled freestall barn.
The newest addition to the operation is the heifer housing facility that was constructed in 2010 and allowed them to bring their previously custom-raised heifers to the farm.
Jay regularly travels the Midwest for his job at Alta Genetics and was able to bring back some of the best features he has seen in other operations to be incorporated into the design. The barn houses 200 heifers from five months old through the first few months of pregnancy.
They also run an accelerated calf feeding program with wet calves fed three times per day, year-around. All calves receive a gallon of pasteurized colostrum at birth and then transition to pasteurized whole milk.
By the time calves are three weeks old they are receiving three gallons of pasteurized whole milk per day and are weaned at 7-8 weeks of age.
Some of the herd highlights include the Pirates, which is the most prolific cow family generating offspring with the highest GTPIs.
Glo-Crest Oman Pirate (EX-90) has been the most influential and successful brood cow to date. She has eight milking daughters with the Planets being the most interesting. These include Synergy Planet Passion (VG-86), the #20 CTPI cow in the US, and Synergy Planet Piper (VG-85) who was the Wisconsin Junior 2-year-old Top Performer for 2012. These two full sisters are on an extensive ET/IVF program.
The red influence includes about 25 percent of the herd being either red or red carrier and many go back to some investments made by Gary in the 1980s.
Glo-Crest Seps Lucy Lou-Red (EX-92) is in her sixth lactation with lifetime production to date over 260,000M and 10,400F. Her red Alchemy great-granddaughter ranks high in the US for GTPI.
There are also three full sisters to Synergy Always-Red 7HO1192 milking, including Synergy Destry Amore-ET, the Honorable Mention Junior All-American Junior 2-year-old. This cow family traces back to Dreamstreat Enhancer Alicia and consistently produces impressive cows.
Interest in polled genetics started with Lawn Boy and has grown, with 25-30 polled animals in the herd today.
The southwest barn meeting will be hosted by Sylvan-T Farms, Inc. in Richland Center. Sylvan-T is owned and operated by John, Connie, and Mark Turgasen along with help from Mark's wife Rachel when she is not busy with her full-time position at Foremost Farms.
Sylvan T Holsteins was started by Frank Turgasen in 1951. John and Connie joined the operation in 1970 and Mark has been on board since 2002 after graduation from UW-Platteville. Mark and Rachel were finalists for the Wisconsin Outstanding Young Farmer award this past January.
This 65-milking cow herd is housed in a tie-stall barn and they have an additional 10-15 dry cows. Sylvan-T has a RHA of 27,042M 1012F and 830P while maintaining a 106.9 BAA. A single TMR is fed for the entire milking herd.
Hoof care has changed through the years for the Turgasens. Currently they have regular hoof trimming sessions three-four times per year as needed. They have used a foot bath in the past but discontinued using it due to the problems keeping them sanitary.
They currently treat cows individually with hoof spray for any issues including hairy warts, which has proven very effective.
The newest addition to the facilities is the construction of a dry cow and special needs barn that was constructed this past fall. The building is also utilized as winter calf housing.
They have enjoyed the new building and it has been beneficial for both human and cow comfort during the cold winter weather.
The final barn meeting will be held at Krull Farms, Lake Mills, operated by Cindy Krull and children Cassy, Bryce and Carley. The herd is currently made up of 40 cows, although they will soon be around 55 due to spring calving.
Since their sale in 2010, Krulls have been flushing and putting eggs in that were in the tank. The number of cattle is back up to where they were before the sale and maybe even a few more.
Cows are grazed as long as possible during the year, most years from April to November. Cows are rotated in three pastures every 10 days before they move to a new pasture. This past year they also went to feeding a TMR as most of the feed is harvested in bags. The herd average is around 24,000M and the BAA is 110.8% with 10 EX, 14 VG and 9 GP.
The crew at the farm consists of Brian Burger who does the feeding and helps with the 700 acres of crop land.
Seth Elsner assists with the milking, does all the AI work and enjoys work with the show cattle. Cassy, Bryce and Carley fill in where needed feeding calves and helping milk when they can and are home from school activities.
Cindy was raised on a dairy farm and when she and her older brother started 4-H they received their first registered heifers and have been around them ever since.
As the kids started to show interest in the cattle, they got to pick what breed they wanted. Cassy and Bryce chose Jerseys and Carley wanted a Red and White. There are offspring from all of these project animals in the herd today.
About half of the herd traces back to the Elegance family. There are also members from the Scarlet, Dellia, Pasta, and Hezbollah families that have been purchased along the way. The families' goal is to rebuild the herd as well as to add some new bloodlines.
A recent classification resulted in great scores on some of the herd favorites. Krull Shot Enough-ET is now EX-91 2E, Hauve Advent Dreamy Red-ET was raised to EX-93, Krull Advent Smiley Red-ET is EX-92, Krull Baxter Elusive-ET EX-90 and Krull Damion Sassy EX-90.
The hoof care program at Krull Farms includes trimming the whole herd twice a year in a chute, generally in the spring and fall. They also have someone come in to trim on a box every six to eight weeks as a maintenance program.
Fresh heifers and show cattle are done at this time as well. The whole herd is run through a foot bath about every six weeks. As a whole, the herds' feet stay very healthy as they spend much of the summer on pasture.