For more than a decade, the Virtual Farm Tours have been a producer favorite at World Dairy Expo, allowing attendees to visit a variety of dairies from around the U.S. without leaving the show. This year's farms are among the very best in the dairy industry. They excel in the areas of cow care, technology, production, robots, genetics, calf and heifer care, cow management and RFID technology.
The free tours will be presented daily, Tuesday, Oct. 1 through Saturday, Oct. 5 in the Mendota 1 meeting room in the Exhibition Hall. The owners and managers will present a half-hour pictorial overview of their operation, including general operation information and highlights of exceptional management practices. Time for questions and discussion will follow. The presentations will be available for viewing on World Dairy Expo's website after the show. Advanced Animal Diagnostics, AgSource Cooperative Services, American Jersey Cattle Association, DuPont Pioneer, Lely, Quality Liquid Feeds, Inc., Select Sires, Inc. and Vita Plus Corporation are sponsors of the 2013 Virtual Farm Tours. Following is a short biography and description of each tour:
Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2 p.m.
Hosted by: Si-Ellen Farms, Jerome, Idaho
10,800 Milking/Cow Care
Sponsored by: Advanced Animal Diagnostics
At Si-Ellen Farms, it is believed that if you take good care of the cows, they will take good care of you. Originally a 100 cow dairy located in Vancouver, Si-Ellen Farms has now grown into two farms, consisting of 10,200 Holsteins and 600 Jerseys on 7,000 acres. The entire family, including Mike Roth and his seven brothers and sisters, focus their efforts on cow care. A full-time veterinarian and nutritionist are part of the staff of 145 employees that strive to provide the best care possible. This effort has paid off as they have a rolling herd average of 29,007 pounds of milk with a 160,000 somatic cell count. Si-Ellen Farms are environmental stewards as well. Within the last five years, they have added a retaining lake to catch irrigation water and developed this lake into a wildlife habitat by adding trees and other vegetation. Additionally, Si-Ellen Farms composts their manure, reducing the amount of commercial fertilizer and non-renewable resources needed. The Roth Family has been honored with numerous awards including the 2002 Innovative Dairy Farmer of the Year Award by the International Dairy Foods Association and was recognized as the 2013 Farmer of the Year by DairyBusiness WEST at the Western Dairy Management Conference.
Wednesday, Oct. 2, Noon
Hosted by: Larson Acres, Evansville
Sponsored by: DuPont Pioneer
By using the latest technology, Larson Acres produces high quality milk more efficiently while being good neighbors. The Larson Acres herd consists of 2,900 cows, each outfitted with their own electronic ID. With these ID's, the Larson family and farm employees can keep a close eye on production levels. Most of the herd is housed in a cross ventilated barn, built in 2010. Several new calf facilities have also been added along with a wastewater treatment plant. Thanks to this specialized facility, no additional liquid manure storage was needed with the expansion of the herd. Since Larson Acres is located near a growing population, the Larsons have joined the ranks of social media to keep people abreast of changes on the farm. They utilize YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest and have their own website. Their website introduces the Larson family, explains their commitment to producing a high quality product and outlines the expansion process and how it created more jobs for the area. The farm even opened its doors to host the Rock County Dairy Breakfast in 1992 and again in 2012. For all their success, Larson Acres has been honored with the 2010 Distinguished Leadership Award by the Dairy Business Association and the 2011 Distinguished Agricultural Award by the Kiwanis Club of Downtown Madison.