For more information on the barn meetings please call the Wisconsin Holstein Association or the host farm.
Four Hands Holsteins - Rick and Gwen Dado Family
The first WHA Barn Meeting is hosted by Four Hands Holsteins in Amery. The farm 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 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 ladies are milked 3 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 to see during the barn meeting 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. Four Hands is looking forward to sharing their management practices and Registered Holsteins on March 20.
Synergy Dairy - Gary and Linda Olson and Jay and Heather Jauquet
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.