EAGLE RIDGE DAIRY
Originally a 100% bull-bred herd, Eagle Ridge Dairy has fast-tracked genetic and reproductive strategies since an ownership change in 2014. Owners, Adrian Kroes and Mike Siegersma, initiated a breeding program to embrace AI, accelerate genetic progress, and optimize cow health and comfort to ensure protocols were successful.
Eagle Ridge Dairy also puts a strong focus on employee management and well-being. The management team takes time to explain the why behind every SOP. Knowing the reasoning with all management strategies helps employees understand how shortcuts or lack of attention to detail could negatively impact the overall success of the dairy.
Owners and managers also put a primary focus on cow comfort and milk quality, and reinforce that when cows are comfortable, they produce higher quantity and quality milk, and breed back more quickly.
Mountain Home, Idaho
Originally a crop farmer, Terry Ketterling transformed his Mountain Home, Idaho sugar beet operation into TLK Dairy, where he began milking cows in 2003.
While Terry holds permits to double his cow numbers, expansion is not currently an option due to milk processing capacity limits. So instead of getting bigger, TLK Dairy set out to improve performance, production and profitability in all areas of management on the 10,500 cows they already milk. Subsequent construction projects have taken feeding efficiency and young stock management to the next level in just a short amount of time.
Here you’ll learn about their “Pantry,” a 71,000 square foot commodity and feed mixing center, along with their “Nursery,” where pre-weaned calves receive the utmost in care.
OAK VALLEY DAIRY
Oak Valley Dairy, the largest farm on this Alta ADVANTAGE Showcase Tour, has been in operation near Burley, Idaho since 2005. The original site houses about 8,500 cows in dry lot corrals, while a second, newer site on adjacent land houses an additional 3000 cows in freestall barns.
Owner, Mike Aardema comments that there are two key ingredients to maximize milk production and achieve higher milk peaks: cow comfort and feed quality.
The newest developments underway on the dairy keep the key of cow comfort in mind. Oak Valley is in the process of converting much of the original operation from open dry lots to freestall barns to create a more consistent and stable environment for the milking cows, regardless of the climatic elements.
At Swager Farms, owner, Dean and manager, Jordan Stebbins, take advantage of technology and automation to maximize many areas of management. A calibrated elevator measures forages and commodities to the exact pound when mixing feed to optimize rations and intake. Four automatic feed pushers also ensure easy access to feed for all cows throughout each day.
Technology also helps optimize nutrient management on the dairy. An anaerobic digester is the initial step for separating manure, and the more recently added centrifuge takes that one step further to remove the finer particles from the liquid.
In addition to his progressive 4000-cow dairy, Dean also milks 1500 goats and is in partnership at the processing plant where that milk is sent. They also utilize that processing plant to bottle A1-free milk from the cows they genomic test to verify as A2A2.
A forward-thinking mindset and smart, progressive approach has yielded successful results for the Teunissen Family. Their farm name, Beranna Dairy, comes from the first names of owners, Bernie and Anna Teunissen, who moved their dairy to its current location from Chino, California in 2000.
Their son, Derek, joined the dairy in 2009. He is the operations manager, and has since become a partner in ownership. Their son, BJ is also employed on the dairy.
The Teunissens achieve great results in all areas of management, knowing that when cows are healthy and comfortable, they produce more milk of higher quality. As the only sand-bedded freestall facility on the tour, they take advantage of their location next to a gravel quarry for easy and inexpensive access to sand.
Exceptional reproductive results on the dairy come from a strict focus on protocol compliance, genetic selection, and overall cow comfort.