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Virtual Farm Tours Showcase Top-Notch Dairies

May 21, 2012

World Dairy Expo to offer free look at eight U.S. dairies Oct. 2-6.

Source: World Dairy Expo news release

DSC 3418 2Since 2001, World Dairy Expo’s Virtual Farm Tours have become a producer favorite, allowing them to visit a variety of dairies from around the U.S. without leaving the show. Virtual Farm Tours will focus on a variety of management topics including optimizing nutrition, environmental stewardship, genomic testing and mating decisions, financial management, unique marketing, automation, expansion and milk quality. 


The free tours will be presented daily, Tuesday, Oct. 2 through Saturday, Oct. 6 in the Mendota 1 meeting room in the Exhibition Hall. The 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.

American Jersey Cattle Association, Kansas Department of Agriculture, Lely USA, Pioneer, PortaCheck, Inc., Quality Liquid Feeds, Inc., Semex and Stewart-Peterson, Inc. are sponsors of the 2012 Virtual Farm Tours.

Following is a short biography and description of each tour:

Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2 p.m.

Hosted by: VanEss Dairy LLC, Sanborn, Iowa

3,800 Milking/Optimizing Nutrition

Sponsored by: Pioneer

Harvey and Lisa VanEss, along with their sons Joshua and Tyler; Todd and his wife, Stefanie; Jeremy and his wife, Patricia; and Chad and his wife, Kymlee, are the owners and operators of VanEss Dairy. During the last 60 years, the dairy has seen numerous changes; moving from Washington to Idaho, and then again from Idaho to Iowa in 2008. With each move, the dairy expanded. It is now home to 3,800 cows with a rolling herd average of 28,000 pounds. The farm has a relatively small land base of 260 tillable acres. By contracting their corn silage but maintaining control of the harvest, they better control quality. With high quality forages, VanEss Dairy is able to lower the amount of flaked corn and soybean meal and ultimately lower overall feed costs. An added benefit of a high forage ration is cow health, resulting in a consistently low somatic cell count. Working closely with their nutritionist to maximize ration energy, they develop a fresh cow ration for the cows 25 days in milk or less and a second ration for all other lactating cows. In 2008, VanEss Dairy was honored with the Venture Award given by the Iowa Area Development Group.
Wednesday, Oct. 3, 12 noon

Hosted by: Golden Oaks Farm, Wauconda, Ill.

720 Milking/Environmental Stewardship

Sponsored by: Semex

Golden Oaks Farm successfully utilizes a variety of technologies in order to be good stewards in a growing urban area while promoting the dairy industry. The farm was started in 1948 by the Crown Family of Chicago. Since then, the farm has grown to a 720-cow herd with a rolling herd average of 27,965 pounds. Located just 45 minutes from Chicago, Golden Oaks goes above and beyond to partner with their urban neighbors. Each year, they host hundreds of school children from Chicago, educating them about dairy farms and products. Additionally, they host an annual picnic for several thousand Crown friends and employees. In recent years, they have worked hard to positively respond to growing concerns for the rapidly encroaching urban community. In response, Golden Oaks recently established Midwest Organic Recycling, a composting site that mixes farm and compost waste, turning it into compost. This vibrant business helps to provide the community with a positive perception of dairy farming and its practices. Additionally, last fall the cows were outfitted with HR-Tags. These tags measures cow movement, providing valuable information for both heat detection and rumination. In return, Golden Oaks is able to identify sick cows more quickly and utilize a more natural approach to heat detection. Golden Oaks was honored in 2010 with the Illinois Environmental Stewardship Award and has received numerous recognitions for their herd's superior genetics.
Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2 p.m.

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